50+ tips for using Canva Pro in 2022

Hello and welcome to the digital thunderdome, Canva. As a canva user of 5+ years, and a canva pro user of 3 years, I am very excited to share ALLLLLL the tips I use when creating in canva.

I use canva everyday for my business, for client work, and have gotten really good at finding exactly what I am looking for quickly.

Look, I even use it to make collages for FUN.

Before we dive in, some of these tips (like how to search in canva for specific stuff) is accessible to users with the free plan, do not let the title dissuade you from your quest to becoming a canva magician!

How to search effectively in canva

First things first, when searching in canva you can be as specific or vague as you need to get started. I prefer to stick to nouns versus adjectives when searching, but sometimes you can find what you’re looking for with a really good adjective like “dripping” or “spicy”

If you are looking for some images/graphics (often referred to as elements) for a hot sauce brand, you may want to try searching: person, pepper, red, explosion, or sauce

These might also work: “spicy, sweating, crying, surprised”

NEXT: use your folders!

Under folders, you can star items (favorite/save) to come back to them, this is the holy grail of canva because it helps you navigate back to specific artists or art styled you like to use.

For example, in collaging, I realized artists @sparklestroke had a ton of “acid” and “cutout” elements that worked really well in my designs, so I would frequently search their username and would star multiple elements from their collections.

You can also see what terms artists’ use to describe an element, and each of those are clickable, I KNOW. It’s so nice, because my brain doesn’t always “search’’ for stuff the same way an artists’ would, so I can choose “emo” or “80s” as a search term and get closer to the vibe I am looking for. Every artist brands their elements differently, so checking the tags is a good way to navigate.

For example, with the hot sauce graphic, I really love the watercolor style of graphic, so i am going to click the “watercolor” tag, and Canva is going to show me similar elements that also have the tag “watercolor”

Steps:

  • Select element (green poblano pepper)
  • Click info button (circle with an i inside)
  • Click “show all keywords”
  • Add to a folder or star if you want to save this exact element
  • Click “watercolor”
  • I then refine my search to say “watercolor pepper” because I want to keep the watercolor style and see other peppers

How to customize templates

Duplicate your STUFF — I cannot stress enough how much I love the freaking duplicate button in canva. Always always make a copy of a graphic, element or slide before you begin changing things to preserve your work. I use this when brainstorming ideas for graphics or flyers without deleting all my work, you can also use “drafts” for portfolio projects.

Use the styles tab to suggest different combinations of fonts and colors, or simply choose different color palettes by using shuffle to adjust the colors in a template you have already designed.

Here I created a blank slide and used the styles page to change the color and arrangement of fonts for a slide, you can do this with templates that already have graphics or start from a blank slide.

How to move stuff around in canva

The holy trinity of movement in canva is:

  • Use your arrow keys to mace micro pixel adjustments (move a little bit)
  • Use your CTRL + [ or CTRL + ] to change the position of a selected element by bringing it forward or sending it backwards
  • And LOCK — lock an element in place so you do not have to worry about accidentally moving it while adjusting items around it.

AND don’t forget to group elements together such as text or icons by selecting an element, and holding down shift. You can then choose to “create a group” or move all the items once and have them remain “ungrouped” the next time you select them.

How to publish in canva

And finally, EXPORTING.

You can export files in varying styles such as PNG, JPEG, JPG, PDF, GIF as well as MP4.

Some elements in canva are animated, meaning they will export as a video instead of a flat or static image.

You can also use canva’s in-app exports to share graphics to pinterest, facebook and other social media apps by connecting your accounts.

Canva is also popular among students because it offers a collaborative setting where multiple users can edit in the same document, such as a class presentation, and it can be shared live via a sharing link, similar to google slides.

have a thing you want to pick my brain about? A question. an idea, or something new and exciting, but you’re just not sure how to get it launched? Or want a step by step tutorial on how the heck to use Canva?

Book a call with me here, let’s talk about that :)

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Liz Brinks

Hey, I’m Liz Brinks (they/them) I’m a queer gender-non-conforming writer, business coach & cat-parent (@itsjuustliz everywhere) based out of Wisconsin!