Canva: what it is and how to use it

what to know

  • Canva is a cloud-based graphic design platform that uses templates and element blocks.
  • First, choose a template. Select Photos to add images from your Canva library. Select text to add words.
  • Select "Download" to save the finished product.

This article explains how Canva works, including making and downloading projects.

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.

Canva is available as an online service or through apps for iOS and Android.

If you're a freelancer or individual user, Canva provides 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, then edit it to fit your specific design.

Canva has a short learning curve. Its hundreds of templates allow you to create graphic designs quickly and easily. You can also start from scratch 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 purchase licenses directly from within the tool for each paid element of your choice.

To use Canva, first sign up for a free account. Once you've done this, you're ready to start your first design. Here's a quick tutorial to get started with a Canva project:

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

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

  3. To search the Canva photo library, select Photos from the left toolbar. Enter a search term in the search bar to find a specific image or scroll to get inspired.

  4. Filter your search to find free images, or search by color or other factors.

  5. When you find an image you want to use, drag and drop the image into the design. Use the toolbar at the top of the design screen to resize or flip the image, change its transparency, and more.

    Does the 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.

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

  7. Drag and drop the type of text you want to use in your design. Move the text box until it fits your design.

  8. To change text, double-click it 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.

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

  9. Add elements by selecting "Elements" from the left toolbar.

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

  10. When you're happy with your design, please share it. Select Share and enter your email address. Grant recipients edit or view permissions.

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

    If you use premium images or elements in your design, you'll need to pay before you can download your work. Select "Pay and download" to pay for the element.