Canva's quick start guide

Amelia Marshall
Amelia Marshall

Welcome! With Canva, you can create beautiful designs for work, school and play in minutes—no design skills necessary. Canva is easy to use and full of possibility: our mission is to allow you to design anything and publish anywhere.

This article will help you learn the basics, so you can start designing quickly.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:

  • How to use the Canva homepage
  • Finding your way around the Canva editor
  • Creating your first design
  • Publishing your design
  • Design tips and tricks

Choose your design type

When you log in to Canva, you’ll land on the homepage. To start designing, click Create a design in the toolbar, or simply type your chosen design type into the search bar. The menu on the right also allows you to navigate to your brand kit, design folders, team stream, and account settings. Once you've created a design, you can access it again from the homepage, under All your designs.

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The Canva homepage.

Canva has pre-set the ideal dimensions for each design type, whether you’re creating a logo, letterhead or Facebook post. You can also set custom dimensions by typing “custom” into the search box.

Choose and customize a template

Once you’ve chosen what kind of design you’d like to create, you’ll find yourself inside the Canva editor. This is where the magic happens! To help you get familiarized with the parts of the editor, here are its most basic parts:

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  1. Menu 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, Order prints, and others. You’ll also be able to see your design’s saving status from here.
  2. Side panel – This panel that appears on the side of the editor is where you’ll be able to access the templates and elements you can use in your design. It’s divided into 6 tabs dedicated to Templates, Images, Text, Uploads, Folders, and Apps.
  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.

Templates are your shortcut to good design. (You can also design from scratch, but templates are the best way to get started quickly.) In the side panel you’ll see a range of templates that you can choose from—you can also search for a specific theme in the search bar. Every template is fully customizable, which means you can change the fonts, colors, images—everything!—to your tastes.

Click on a template to edit it. To change an element, click it and then edit it using the toolbar at the top of the editor—this is where you can change things like color, size, transparency, and more. You can watch the process step-by-step in the video below.

Publish your design

Once you’re happy with your design, it’s time to publish it.
Click the Publish button in the menu bar and you’ll see a dropdown list of all of your options.

canva publish menu
The Publish button opens this dropdown menu.

You can Download, share to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, or even order professional prints delivered to your door. There are endless possibilities, so head here to read more about publishing your design.

Design tips

Templates are a fast-track to good design. But if you’re looking to brush up on a few design principles, Canva is a great place to do it. This video has three quick tips that will get you on the right track.

Learn more

Now that you’ve learned the basics, why not explore the full potential of Canva?

Tutorials—Fast-track your ability to create amazing designs with hands-on and video tutorials that teach you the essentials of design.

A step-by-step guide to designing from scratch—You’ve got the vision, and Canva is here to bring it to life. Turn your imagination into a finished design in minutes with this step-by-step tutorial for designing from scratch in Canva.

Get the most out of Canva—Canva has much more to offer than just templates. By making Canva a part of your workflow, you’re sure to make a positive impression. This article explains all of the features that you should get to know to level up your work.

Invite your team and collaborate on designs—anyone who works with a team knows how time-consuming it can be to send emails back and forth before you reach a decision. Don’t quibble over that particular shade of blue: invite your team to Canva instead. You can choose who can edit or view designs, so you can streamline your teamwork without the hassle.

5 tips from Canva designers on creating better looking designs—Canva designers generously share their go-to hacks to help you on your way to clean, clever and meaningful design.

Download the Canva for mobile app—take your designs everywhere you go with our app for iOS and Android.