How to Use Canva

Create stunning invitations, flyers, and more

What to Know

  • Canva is a cloud-based graphic design platform that uses templates and element blocks.
  • To start, select a template. Select Photos to add images from Canva's library. Select Text to add words.
  • Select Download to save finished products.

This article describes how Canva works, including making and downloading projects. Canva is available via a web client or apps for iOS and Android.

What Is Canva?

Canva is a unique platform that allows individuals of varying skill levels to produce high-quality graphics and designs. The tool features a simple, drag-and-drop interface and preset professional layouts for flyers, invitations, logos, posters, infographics, and more.

If you're a freelancer or personal user, Canva offers access to millions of images, including stock photos, vectors, icons, and shapes. There are hundreds of fonts to choose from, and the Canva built-in photo editor helps you choose the best photo and then edit it to fit your specific design.

The Canva learning curve is short. Its hundreds of templates make it easy to create graphic designs quickly. You can also start with a blank slate if you have a unique vision.

Canva is free for individuals and small groups working on simple projects. For more customization, productivity, and other options, Canva offers Pro and Enterprise plans for a monthly fee.

As you design, you'll find elements you can purchase, starting at $1, including images, shapes, icons, and more. You can buy licenses for each paid element you choose right from inside the tool.

How to Create a New Canva Design

To use Canva, first register for a free account. Once you do this, you're ready to start your first design. Here's a quick tutorial on beginning a Canva project.

  1. Log in to your Canva account to see your home screen.

  2. Scroll through hundreds of templates, or use the Search box to find something specific, and then select a template.

    Canva home screen
  3. To search the Canva photo library, select Photos from the toolbar on the left. Enter a search term in the search bar to find specific images or scroll for inspiration.

    The Photos tab on Canva website
  4. Filter the search to find free images, or search by color or other factors.

    Filter your image search to find free images.
  5. When you find an image you want to use, drag and drop the image into the design. Resize or flip the image, change its transparency, and more using the toolbar at the top of the design screen.

    Add an image to your Canva template

    Does the image have a Canva watermark? If so, it's a Premium image that you must pay for. Select Remove Watermark to pay for the photo.

  6. When the photo is where you want it, add more elements. For example, to add a heading and text, select Text from the toolbar on the left.

    The Text heading in Canva
  7. Drag and drop the type of text you wish to use in the design. Move the text box around until it fits your design.

    A heading text style in Canva
  8. To change the text, double-click it and then start typing. To change the font, use the menu located in the toolbar at the top of the design screen to select a new font.

    The Font menu in Canva

    Change the text color, spacing, alignment, and other text formatting using the same toolbar.

  9. Add an element by selecting Elements from the toolbar on the left.

    Elements include grids, charts, frames, shapes, gradients, illustrations, lines, and more. To change a shape's position, select Position, and use the menu to select a new position for the element. Move the element forward or backward between layers.

    The Elements tab in Canva
  10. When you're satisfied with your design, share it. Select Share and enter an email address. Give recipients permission to either edit or view.

    The Share button in Canva
  11. To download your design, select the Download icon in the toolbar at the top of the screen and choose a file type.

    The Download button in Canva

    If you used Premium images or elements in your design, you'll need to pay for those before you can download your work. Select Pay and Download to pay for the elements.

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