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Preparing images for Canva

Isolated Photos

When you submit photos that are isolated on white or on any flat color, we put them into a queue where they get manually cutout. While in the queue, images are not available on Canva and don’t appear in your portfolio nor in the search results. Only you as the contributor will see them in the “Your Portfolio page with the status: “Pending Cutout”. Please note that since we get thousands of pending cutouts everyday, we can’t guarantee that your isolated photos will be processed quickly.

If you’d like to bypass the queue, you’re welcome to cut out your images and submit them to us in PNG format. In this situation, we’ll review the images for the usual things but also for the quality of the cutout.


All cutouts must have clean edges and look good when viewed over backgrounds of a variety of colors. Pay special attention to hair, out-of-focus parts, transparent areas (such as glasses, windows), and corners where two objects intersect. Cutout images must also be trimmed to the outermost non-transparent pixel of the subject on all four sides.


Canva allows people to use and manipulate vector illustrations without the need for expensive and difficult software, greatly expanding the number of people who can make use of vector illustrations.

To do this, illustrations need to be in a usable state when they go into the Canva collection. We’re busy building the systems to do this to all submitted files at Canva, but some contributors have asked if they can prepare their files so they can go online immediately. This is certainly not a requirement, but if contributors would like to do this, here’s what you need to do.

Split Sets

Sets – illustrations that contain multiple items intended to be used separately – must be separated into individual files.

Remove Guides

Crop marks, instructions and anything else that is not part of the usable illustration needs to be removed.

Remove Text

Canva users are accustomed to be able to change text in Canva, so if the text in an illustration looks like it’s intended to be changed, it needs to be removed. Heavily integrated words that are not made with fonts are usually ok. If an illustration is primarily text or doesn’t work with the text removed, it’s probably best not to bother uploading it to Canva.

Remove Backgrounds

Plain backgrounds that don’t form part of the illustration itself need to be removed.

Additionally, all shapes in the vector file must be paths. Canva currently does not support strokes as well, so all strokes must be outlined and kept as a shape or compound path. Gradients also make vectors non-recolorable.

If you’ve already uploaded files to Canva but would like to prepare them for immediate use, that’s fine. Just let us know which files and we’ll make sure we don’t end up with duplicates.


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