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Create a Digital Design with Canva

What is Canva?

Canva is a free, web-based graphic design tool for creating a variety of designs, including:

  • posters
  • infographics
  • social media posts
  • banners
  • presentations
  • cards
  • resumes
  • brochures
  • business cards

Canva is easy to use with its drag and drop format, and provides access to photos, images, fonts, and themes within the tool.

Sign up for a free account at canva.com

How do I start a new project?

To edit a readymade Canva design:

  1. After logging in to Canva, select 'Create a design' at the top of the left menu.
  2. Browse the design categories to choose the one you'd like create. 
  3. A new tab will appear with the blank design you've chosen.
  4. Start designing by browsing and selecting one of Canva's readymade layouts (optional and customizable), or start with a blank design and add in your own original background, images and text.

Select 'create design' in left menu

Browse the design categories and select one

Start designing

To create a Canva design with custom dimensions:

  1. After logging in to Canva, select 'custom dimensions' from the top right corner of the Canva window.
  2. Input the width and height you'd like your design to be in pixels (px), millimeters (mm) or inches (in).
  3. A new tab will appear with your blank design.

When creating a custom design, you will not have access to Canva's readymade layout templates.

Select custom dimensions from the top right hand corner

Enter the height and width you'd like for your custom design

How do I change the design background?

  1. Select 'background' from the left navigation menu.
  2. For a solid colour background, select '+Solid Colour' from the top right of the background menu.  You can also create a custom colour here.
  3. If you want a design for your background, select from the free options provided by Canva (located below the colour options).

Select a colour from the colour palette and choose a background design.

How do I add images, shapes, lines, etc.?

  1. Select 'Elements' from the left navigation menu.
  2. Choose one of the options that appears i.e. shapes, lines, grids, etc.  If you are looking for a specific image, you can also type the keyword into the search bar and Canva will gather a bunch of results to choose from.  
  3. Click or drag the shapes, lines, grids, etc. to have them appear in your design.
  4. Within your design, you can change the size, location, colour and orientation of the element you added

Note: There are both free and premium (paid for) elements.  Elements will be clearly marked as free or with a price ($).  If you include premium features in your design, it will prompt you to pay when you download your design.

Select elements from the left menu and select which item you'd like to add from the list.

Click or drag to add elements to your design.  Search in the search bar for specific items.

To delete elements on your design:

  1. Select the element you want to delete.
  2. Hit the 'backspace' or 'delete' key on your keyboard, or select the trash icon in the top menu of the design window.

How do I add my own images?

  1. Select 'Uploads' from the left navigation menu.
  2. Click 'upload your own images'
  3. Select the files you'd like to upload from your computer, then click open.
  4. Once the image has fully uploaded, click it to add it to your design.

Select 'uloads' from the left menu, then 'upload an image'

Select the picture you want to upload from your files, then click 'open.'

Click or drag the image to add it to your design.

How do I add text?

  1. Select 'text' from the left navigation menu.
  2. Click or drag heading, subheading or body text to add it to your design.
  3. Change the size, colour, font, orientation and organization of your text using the top menu in the design window.

Select 'text' from the left menu, then click or drag the chosen text style to your design.

Make changes to the style, size, colour and spacing of the text using the top toolbar in the design window.

How do I add another page to my design?

To add a new, blank page:

  1. Select the 'Add a new page' button underneath the last page in your design.
  2. A new page will appear underneath the current page.

Select 'add a new page' underneath the first page of your design.

To add a new page and duplicate the design of the previous page:

  1. Select the 'copy this page' icon, located at the top of each page in the design.
  2. A new page with the same design will appear underneath the current page.

Make a copy of your design by selecting the copy image icon.

To delete pages:

  1. Scroll to the page you want to delete.
  2. Select the trash icon located at the top of each page of the design.

Select the trash icon above the page you want to delete.

How do I rename my design?

  1. Put your cursor in the box that reads 'Add a heading' in the top right corner of the Canva window.
  2. Type a new name for your design.
  3. Hit 'Enter' on your keyboard.

Cursor to 'add a heading' and type a new name for your design.

How can I collaborate with others on a design?

To share my design via an email invite

  1. Select 'Share' from the top right hand corner of the Canva window.
  2. Enter the email addresses of those you'd like to collaborate with on your design.
  3. Select the permissions you'd like the collaborators to have: either 'can edit' or 'can view.'
  4. Click 'send invites' to complete.

Select 'share' from the top right corner of the Canva window. Enter the email addresses of collaborators, then set the permissions, then click 'send invites.'

To share my design via a link

  1. Select 'Share' from the top right hand corner of the Canva window.
  2. Select the permissions you'd like the collaborators to have: either 'to edit' or 'to view.'
  3. Copy the link directly in the share box and send to your collaborators.

Select 'share' from the top right corner of the Canva window.  Set the permissions of the link, and click 'copy link' directly in the share box.

Collaborators can use the notes and comment feature to provide feedback for each page of your design.

Use the comment and notes features to get feedback on your designs.

How do I download my final design?

  1. Select the  'Download' icon from the top menu in the Canva window.
  2. From the dropdown menu that appears, select the file type (JPEG, PNG, PDF Standard, or PDF for printing).  Also select whether you want to download all pages of the design, or just select pages.
  3. Click 'Download.' The file should appear in the 'downloads' folder on your computer.

Select the 'download' icon from the top menu of the Canva window, select the file format, and click 'download.'

Embed your design using HTML:

  1. Make your design public: turn on the 'Public' feature from the top menu in the Canva window.
  2. Select 'Share' from the top menu.
  3. Select 'Embed' from the new window that appears.
  4. Copy the HTML code from the window and place it where you want to embed your design.

Resources to Help with Creating Multimedia

Link to guide: Create InfographicsGuide: Make Your Digital Media Project Accesible

Suggest an edit to this guide

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.