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Getting Started: Designing with Canva

With your account all set and ready, it’s time to create your own designs. Here’s an overview of the tasks we’ll cover in this guide:


Create a design

The first step to creating a design on Canva is deciding what you need this design for. Canva has over 60 document types you can choose from. From graphics to post on your social media accounts to your job resumes, Canva got all your design needs covered.

To see all the available document types we have, click on the + More button found on the upper right section of your Canva homepage. Make sure you’re logged into your account to be able to view this.

Once you’ve decided on a document type, simply click on its thumbnail to open the Canva editor.


Navigate the Canva editor

The Canva editor is where all the design magic happens. To help you get familiarized with the parts of the editor, here are its most basic parts:

  1. Status bar – This is the menu bar on the very top of the editor. From here, you’ll be able to access the features like Undo, Redo, Resize, Share, Download, Sent to Print and others. You’ll also be able to see your design’s saving status from here.
  2. Object panel – This panel that appears on the left side of the editor is where you’ll be able to access the templates and elements you can use on your design. It’s divided into 6 tabs dedicated to Search, Layouts, Elements, Text, Background and Uploads.
  3. Canvas – At first, this is the blank white space occupying the majority of the editor. Consider this your main workspace since this is where you’ll work on your designs.

All good? Let’s get started with creating your first design.


Select a layout

After the Canva editor loads, the first thing you’ll notice on the object panel is the Layouts tab. The Layouts tab shows all the available templates you can use for your design.

Scroll through the available templates until you find one you’d like to use. Once you do, simply click on the template thumbnail to apply it on your canvas.

Feel free to replace the initial template you used by clicking on the thumbnail of the other layout from the object panel. Just a warning though, any changes made on your initial template will be completely replaced by the new one.

Once you’re happy with the template you chose, you can then customize and format any of the existing elements on it.

note: If you don’t want to use a template, you’re also free to create your own layouts from scratch. With over a million elements to choose from, you can mix and match them to create your very own customized design.


Edit text

Start customizing your chosen template by editing the text. To do so, click on the text box you wish to edit its content. You can type in new text or delete existing content on your keyboard. You can also paste in text content from other sources like Word documents or websites.

note: Make sure a text box is selected before copy-pasting text.

Once you’ve changed the text content, you can format it to better suit the designs you have in mind. You may notice that clicking on any text box will make the text editor toolbar show below the status bar.

The text editor toolbar contains all the formatting options you can do on your text. To know more about the text formatting options, you can refer to our dedicated article about it: Formatting text.

note: Canva automatically saves your design as you work, eliminating the need for you to do so manually.


Add photos or illustrations

If your chosen design has images, you are also free to format them or add more. You can add photos or illustrations from our media library, or you can upload your own.

To add photos or illustrations from the library:

  1. From the object panel, click on the Elements tab. Several media folders will appear.
  2. Click on any of the media folders to load their contents.
  3. Scroll through the element options.
  4. Click on the element you wish to use to place it on your canvas.

Alternatively, you can search for elements based on their keywords. To do so:

  1. From the object panel, click on the Search tab.
  2. On the search bar, type in a keyword associated with the element you wish to search for.
  3. Press Enter and the available elements will load.
  4. Scroll through the element options.
  5. Click on the element you wish to use to place it on your canvas.

You also have the option to use and upload your own photos. Here’s how to do it:

  1. From the object panel, click on the Uploads tab.
  2. Click on the Uploads folder.
  3. Under the Uploads folder, click on the green Upload your own images button.
  4. A dialog box will appear showing your computer files. Select the file you wish to upload.
  5. Wait until uploading finishes by checking the bar that will appear to show the progress of the upload. It will promptly disappear once the upload is successful.
  6. Click on your newly uploaded photo to place it on your canvas.


Format photos or illustrations

Just like with text, you can also format photos or illustrations. Clicking on any of these elements will also make the editor toolbar appear.

Formatting options on the editor toolbar for photos or illustrations may not be the same as the ones appearing for text.  The formatting options that will appear will depend on the type of photo or illustration.

Editor toolbar for photos:

Editor toolbar for illustrations and icons:

To know more about formatting photos can refer to the articles in the Photos category of the Help Center. For illustrations or icons, you can refer to this article: Format illustrations and icons.


Proceed to Guide 4: Publish your designs anywhere
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