How to Use Canva: A Beginner’s Guide

Getting started with Canva

Your best tool for learning design skills

Designing doesn’t need to feel overwhelming. Canva makes designing beautiful creative assets easy for everyone. From social media images, videos and gifs to posters, websites, booklets, multimedia presentations, and heaps more, Canva is an invaluable tool for helping you level up your design skills, even if you’re just getting started. Do you love video tutorials? Check out our free Canva for beginner’s course for video tutorials.

Canva tutorial for beginners: the Canva editor

The Canva editor is intuitive to help you explore and experiment with design tools at your own pace. Canva has thousands of templates to help you start inspired. They’re a great way to learn how different elements work together to create eye-catching designs. Did you know you can even use Canva on your phone?

A quick tour of Canva’s top menu

Start by creating an account or signing into Canva. Then, let’s start with the top menu. The Home button is always there to help you return home no matter where your design adventures may take you. Templates is full of thousands of designs you can customize to make your own, organized into different categories to help you easily find what you need. Features shows you photos, icons, print media, apps and more to help you design what you need. Learn has blog articles, short tutorials and in-depth courses to help you learn more about design. And Pricing shows you how to go Pro or apply for a not-for-profit account.

A quick tour of Canva’s side menu

There’s another Home button for you in case you need to reset after a deep dive somewhere. Then there’s Your projects – this is where you can find, and organize, all your designs. It’s organized into sections so you can find what you’re looking for quickly. You can create folders to keep things tidy and share individual designs or folders with collaborators too. The next button is Templates. This takes you through to thousands of designs to help you start inspired and show you ideas for different design assets. There’s a recommended tab that shows you some things you may like based on your designs, as well as templates for heaps of other design assets. The Shared with you page is where you’ll find any designs someone has shared with you. This makes it easy to find collaborative designs. Next is Trash, any designs, images or videos you’ve deleted will appear here until you permanently delete them.

Creating a team with Canva

The next menu item is Create a team, this lets you create an online team, which lets you collaborate on designs, brainstorm ideas and leave feedback for one another all within the Canva editor. Watch this video to learn more about creating a team in Canva.


Using and customizing templates

One of the best resources for fast-tracking your design up-skilling is our nearly endless library of templates. Templates are made by expert designers and show you what’s possible in Canva as well as showing you good design principles in practice. Find Templates in the top menu or simply use the search bar to find what you need. Once you find a template you like, open it in the editor and you’ll see that all the design elements can be customized and edited to best suit your design needs. You can remove, resize, change the color and position, even duplicate elements to best suit your design. Templates help you start inspired and offer a smarter way to continue learning design learning journey.

Using search and personalizing the editor

The search bar lets you use keywords to find what you need in your own designs and uploads as well as Canva’s library of templates, elements, images and videos. Use it to quickly locate design files, find new elements or browse for some inspiration in templates. Once you’ve had a play with Canva, you can improve your workflow by customizing the side panel in the editor. At the base of the dark side panel, click MORE then choose which content you’d like to add to the side panel for quick access.

Using and editing elements

Canva has a huge library of design elements – most a free to use and some are for pro accounts and some have a small fee. In the side tab, click Elements. Use the search bar to find options around a keyword, scroll sideways through different categories, or scroll down to see some example elements for different categories. Once you find what you need, double click, or click and drag, to add the element to your design. Then, you can customize it as you need. Change the color, resize and reposition until you design is finished.

Finding fonts and using text

In its simplest form, design is simply arranging text and imagery. There’s a whole world of fonts to choose from in Canva and if you want to learn more about typography, check out this free course on typography and layout. To add text to your design, go to the text button in the side panel. Search for font styles in the search bar, or use one of the three preset text styles to easily click and drag heading, subheading or body text. Scroll down for font combinations and styles and double click or click and drag to add to you design. To change the font, size, color, alignment – anything with your text – simply click on it and a text editor menu will appear. You’ll find more text editing options if you click the three dots at the right end of the text editing menu.

Uploading and using media

Using your own photos and imagery in your designs is rewarding and a great way to make your designs truly unique. To upload content – it can be photos, illustration, and video – click on Uploads in the side panel, then Upload Media. You can also click and drag media directly into a design. Once you’ve uploaded media, it will appear in the Uploads tab. Add them to your design and you can edit, customize and resize your assets as you need.

Sharing and collaborating on designs

Body When you’re ready to share a design, you can download to share it or share access with a collaborator. To add a collaborator, who can leave feedback as comments in your design, in the top right corner click Share. Type in their email address, include a message or notes, set their level of access (options include full edit access, can comment, can view (can’t comment or edit) and then click send. Other sharing options you’ll see below the copy link button include presenting your design, and presenting and recording. You can download your design, share it straight to social media or use our printing portal for heaps of printing options. And if you can’t find a sharing option you’re seeking, click More for even more sharing options.

Saving and organizing documents

Canva autosaves your deisng as you go. So, design gods forbid, if you have any computer or internet issues, you can design assured Canva autosaves every five seconds. If you want to manually save your design to a specific folder, in the top menu click File, then Save to folder, then choose your desired folder. You can also create a new folder there too. To find your folders or a design click back to the home page, then Your projects and you’ll see your Folder section just below the Recent designs section. Keep scrolling down to see your individual designs.

So, what’s next?

You’ve got this. Now that you know the Canva fundamentals, you’re ready to start designing. Remember to play, explore, and most of all have fun as you create. If you want to lear more, remember to check out all our learning resources un the Learn tab in the top menu.

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