How to Use Canva

Create stunning invitations, flyers, and more

Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design platform that lets users create beautiful designs with professional layouts. Even beginners can create stunning invitations, flyers, social media graphics, and more.

It takes only minutes to learn how to use Canva. In fact, Canva says it takes only "23 seconds" to learn how to use the platform.

Here's a look at how Canva works and how to get started with this simple yet powerful graphics tool.

Canva is offered both online and as an app for iOS and Android devices.

Canva logo and website

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 Canva's built-in photo editor helps you choose the best photo and then edit it to fit your specific design.

Canva's learning curve is short. Its hundreds of templates make it easy to create graphic designs quickly. Or, 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 starting at $9.95 per month.

As you design, you'll be met with elements you can purchase, starting at $1, including images, shapes, icons, and more. You're able to purchase licensing for each paid element you choose right from inside the tool.

How to Create a New Canva Design

To use Canva, you'll first need to 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, where you'll see your home screen.

    Canva home screen
  2. Scroll through hundreds of templates, or use the Search box to find something specific, and then select the template you want to work with.

    Select a Canva template or search for a template topic
  3. To search Canva's vast photo library, select Photos from the menu on the left. Enter a search term into the search bar to find specific images. Or, simply scroll for some inspiration.

    Search through Canva's photo library to select an image
  4. Filter your search to find only free images, or search by color or several other factors.

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

    Add an image to your Canva template

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

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

    Canva's text options
  7. Drag-and-drop the type of text you wish to use in your design. Move the text box around until it fits your design.

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

    Change the text style in your Canva template

    Change the text color, spacing, alignment, etc., using the same toolbar.

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

    Add an element from the elements menu

    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 your element. Move the element forward or backward between layers.

  10. When you're satisfied with your design, if you want to share it, select Share, then enter an email address. Give recipients permission to edit or simply view.

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

    Download your image from 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 your elements.

This is only the beginning of what you can create using Canva's many design tools. To discover more, take some time to familiarize yourself with the platform, trying out all the tools, elements, images, and more.