How to use Canva

  1. Create eye-catching invitations and flyers with this free graphic design tool.
  2. What is canvas?
  3. Getting Started: Creating a New Canva Design
  4. Using Canva Photos
  5. How to use Canva headlines and text
  6. How to add flair to your design with Canva Elements
  7. Download and share a Canva design

Create eye-catching invitations and flyers with this free graphic design tool.

While programs like Illustrator and Photoshop are indeed essential for graphic design, they are not always available for beginners. Canva is an easy-to-use design tool that allows users to create a wide variety of designs, including invitations, flyers, social media images, and more.

It only takes a few minutes to learn how to use Canva. Canva even states that it only takes “23 seconds”.

What is canvas?

Canva is a unique platform that allows people of all skill levels to create high-quality images and designs. The tool has a simple drag-and-drop interface and professional layouts for flyers, invitations, logos, posters, infographics, and more. Canva has everything a freelancer or individual needs, including:

  • Access millions of images † Canva gives you access to millions of images, including icons and shapes.
  • Fonts, Fonts, and Other Fonts † There are literally hundreds of fonts to choose from for any design.
  • Photo filters for flawless photography † The built-in photo editor helps you choose the best photo and edit it according to your specific design.

The tool is easy to use with a small learning curve. In fact, Canva’s hundreds of templates make it easy to create graphic designs. Or you can start all over again.

Canva is completely free for freelancers and individuals. As you progress, you’ll come across items that can be purchased starting at $1, including images, shapes, icons, and more. The best part? You can buy a license for any paid item you choose directly from the tool.

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

Getting Started: Creating a New Canva Design

To use Canva, you must first sign up for a free account. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to start on your first design.

Once you log in to your Canva account, you’ll see a home screen where you can choose from hundreds of available design templates. You can also use the search function to find a template that suits your needs.

Just scroll through until you find the template you want and select it. A new window will open where you will find the Canva authoring screen.

Didn’t find a template that matches the dimensions of your project? You can specify your own measurements; select custom sizes on the home screen, then enter your own width and height in pixels, inches, millimeters, or centimeters.

Using Canva Photos

After you’ve chosen your template, it’s time to start your design. Get started by adding a photo with Canva’s huge photo library.

  1. From the toolbar on the left side of the screen, select photos † This is where you’ll find the Canva image library.

  2. Enter your search term in the search bar to find specific images. Or just scroll for inspiration.

  3. When you find an image you want to use, drag the image onto your design. You can resize or flip an image, change its transparency, and more using the toolbar at the top of the design screen.

    Does your image have a Canva watermark? If so, this is a premium image that you have to pay for. Select Remove watermark to pay for the photo.

  4. If you have a photo where you want it, go ahead and add more images or other elements.

How to use Canva headlines and text

For each design, you will probably want to add a title or text. Canva makes it easy by offering draggable headings, subheadings, and body elements in a wide variety of fonts.

  1. From the toolbar on the left side of the screen, select Text † Here you will find all the text options that Canva has to offer.

  2. Drag and drop the text you want to use in your design. Move the text box until it matches your design.

  3. To change the text, double click on the text and start typing. To change the font, use the menu in the toolbar at the top of the design screen to select a new font. You can also change text color, spacing, alignment, and more from the same toolbar.

To remove an element you no longer need, simply drag it to the trash can icon in the top right corner of the design screen.

How to add flair to your design with Canva Elements

No design is complete without some finesse. The Elements section gives you access to a wide variety of design elements to choose from, including:

  • Grids

  • Graphs

  • Frame

  • Forms

  • slopes

  • lines

  • illustrations

  • icons

  • And much more

To select an element, drag it onto your design.

  1. For example, to use a form, drag the selected form element into your design.

  2. To move the shape, select Position and use the menu to select a new position for your element. You can also move the element forward or backward between layers.

  3. Keep adding elements to your design in this way until you are satisfied.

To quickly duplicate elements that you use in your design, select To copy on the toolbar at the top of the design screen. This is especially useful when the same elements are used multiple times.

Download and share a Canva design

When you’re happy with your design, it’s time to share it or download it to print. You can view all your options in the toolbar at the top of the design screen.

  1. To share your design with a friend, family member, colleague and more, select Part and enter the email address you want to send the design to. You can give them permission to edit or view only.

  2. To upload your design, select the icon to download on the toolbar at the top of the screen. Then select your file type.

  3. If you’ve used Premium images or elements in your design, you’ll need to pay for them before you can download them. Select Pay and download to pay for your items.

    To view a draft of your design before purchasing items, please select: Upload design with watermark to download the test version.

  4. After payment, Canva will download your design directly to your computer for you to use.

This is just the beginning of what you can create with Canva’s many design tools. To learn more, take the time to familiarize yourself with the platform, try out all the tools, elements, images, and more.

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