Best Design Software 2021

How to Use Canva

Canva is a design tool with over 30 million users. We consolidated our top seven tips on the best features of Canva and how to use them.

Well-designed content is everywhere in the business world nowadays. From corporate presentations to social media graphics, businesses rely on their image more than ever before. Fortunately, there are tools out there that can make the process so quick and painless that anyone can produce professional-looking content in minutes.

Canva is one of the largest and most respected players in the space. If you’re thinking about signing up, it’s natural to have questions. That’s why we’ve pulled together a quick-start guide and seven excellent tips that can showcase precisely what Canva can do for your business.

Table of Contents

How to Get Started with Canva

Unlike many design tools, users can enjoy everything Canva has to offer directly in their web browser. It all starts with signing up for an account. At this point, you’ll have immediate access to a vast selection of features and tools, all completely free of charge.

Canva initially delivered everything through a web app, available in all modern browsers. However, 2020 saw a brand new desktop app release, with versions available for both Mac and Windows devices. Functionally, both versions are the same. However, the desktop app edges ahead in terms of usability, with the ability to open and seamlessly switch between multiple designs and no need to switch between tabs when working on other online projects.

There are mobile apps for iOS and Android too. While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing all your design work on smaller screens, iPads can keep up with larger devices, and phones are perfect for changing text or colors or approving designs on the go.

The free version includes more than enough templates, tools, and images to get started. Specifically, brand new users can access over 250,000 templates, more than a hundred design types, and hundreds of thousands of photos and illustrations.

Seven Tips for Using Canva

Canva is designed for ease of use. Graphic designers and amateurs alike will find something to love about the platform, and one of the best to show what it can do is with some fantastic tips.

#1. Assess Your Content Creation Needs

Canva’s flexibility can be overwhelming, so it’s essential to understand what you want to achieve when you get started. For example, it might be time to spice up your social media campaigns, or you might have an upcoming presentation where PowerPoint templates just won’t cut it.


In understanding what you’d like to achieve in advance, you can get to work immediately and master one aspect of Canva’s impressive power before moving on to something else. Start off in the top bar on the main Canva screen. There, you can browse a selection of popular templates and layouts or search for something a little more specific. Remember, those templates are just bases for design, and fantastic customization tools become available as soon as you get to work.

#2. Use Templates

Templates are arguably the most potent element of Canva. They immediately take the skills of non-designers to a new level by providing a professionally designed framework for whatever comes to mind. If you’re confident in your design abilities, you’re more than welcome to start with a blank canvas. However, even those with some design skills might appreciate the time-saving nature of available templates. Something as simple as creating an image for a Facebook post with the correct dimensions and a font that’s guaranteed to catch the eye can be a massive time-saver.


As touched on already, Canva boasts templates for just about any design task imaginable. In addition, there are preloaded options for every popular social network, along with entire brand kits for businesses, spanning everything from letterheads to invoices.

Even if you make relatively minor changes to an existing template, everything you create on Canva is free to use for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

#3. Leverage Canva’s Animator for Higher Engagement

Still images definitely serve a purpose, but animated content is known to boost engagement among all sorts of audiences. Social media users stick around longer to see what happens next, while people viewing a presentation are more likely to maintain their attention on the screen for much the same reason.

Canva Pro users have access to the incredibly powerful Canva Animator. This tool can take any still image and animate it with just a single click. There are over a dozen different animation styles to choose from, and you can apply them to entire images or just specific segments, like a price or hashtag.

#4. Share Files to Collaborate With Your Team

Most businesses work with others, and one of the best things about Canva is how easy the tool makes it to work on designs with others. There are so many applications for this that make any company owner’s life easier.

You might do the designs yourself but send them to someone else to publish on your website and social media. Someone else on your team might take care of the design work, but you still like to make tweaks and carry out final approval.


No matter the use case, if you need a design tool that enables multiple people to get involved with the design process, Canva is effective.

It’s all based around Canva Teams. The ‘Create a Team’ option is easily accessible in the sidebar, and you can add existing Canva users or send an email asking someone to create an account. If users have a verified email address from your company, they can also request access directly.

#5. Schedule Your Social Media Posts With the Content Planner

Canva isn’t just there to make people better designers but also to save them time. Most business owners have what feels like a million things to do each day, and finding the time to keep up appearances on social media can quickly fall down the priority list.

It’s so much easier to devote a block of time to get social media done and out of the way for weeks or even months at a time. That’s made possible with one of Canva’s most powerful features; the Content Planner.


Canva integrates with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and many more. You don’t even have to visit the respective platforms to post. Instead, supply your credentials within Canva once, and it will do it all for you.

#6. Make Graphs to Visualize Data

Graphs are a great way to present information, but most people are accustomed to creating them in Excel or a similar tool. While they serve a purpose, graphs created in this way are rarely known for their visual flair.


Graphs are easy to create and stylish in Canva. Graphs can be edited by inputting your preferred percentages for even easier creation.

#7. Leverage Integrations for Quicker Workflows

Many of the most essential business tools rely not only on what they can do in their own right but how well they work with other platforms and resources. For example, Canva can take care of your design needs in its own right, but it can do a lot more in conjunction with other popular tools.

Here are some popular integrations Canva supports:

Final Thoughts

Canva puts the power of world-class design into anyone’s hands. Thanks to templates, images, and powerful functionality, small businesses don’t require a dedicated graphic designer for day-to-day tasks. As a result, the platform can revolutionize social media, get different teams working closely together and add a professional touch to everything your company produces.

Whether you want to save time, boost creative collaboration or achieve outstanding results that can earn you new social media followers and boost your bottom line, signing up for a Canva account is a significant first step.

Yousef Fatehpour

Yousef Fatehpour is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit. He graduated from University of California, San Diego, where he studied Human Centered Design and Communications. His work at UCSD's Design Lab emphasized UX research and product management.

Yousef's primary areas of interest are software design, user journeys, and how user experience is handled across software markets. Yousef also has experience in product design and multimedia content production. You can connect with Yousef on LinkedIn.

Yousef is an expert in several software categories including:

  • SMS marketing software
  • Document management software
  • Human resource software
  • Applicant tracking software
  • Design software

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