Canva Tips And Tricks That Save My Life As A Freelance Digital Creator
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10 Things Canva Does That Save My Life
To be honest, Canva is a tip and trick in itself for anyone who has to create anything. It's the type of program I wish I had years ago, trying to create really cool things with really not-cool technology.
I, like so many of you, hesitate to pay for premium versions of any program that you can get for free - but with Canva I upgraded and never looked back. If you're on the fence about why you might need Canva or if you should upgrade, I hope that this post with some must-know Canva hacks shed some light on your decision.
Good news too - Canva is updating ALL the time with better ways to get designs done. Have a favorite Canva tip that we don't talk about here? Definitely leave the tip in the comments below for us!
The 10 key Canva tools for digital creators that you'll learn how to use in this post are:
Okay, let's start! P.S. If you want to try premium features for free for 30 days - you can do that here!
1. Canva's Automatic Distance Measurement
When this 2022 Canva feature came out I literally jumped for joy.
I don't know what it's actually called, but, if you have two elements that are a certain distance apart, you can now automatically recreate that distance between the following two elements.
For example, if you want to create a series of lines that are a little bit spaced (think like lined loose-leaf paper), it will register that that's what you're trying to do and a ruler will pop up and help you place the next line at the same distance from the current line as the current line is from the one before it.
That's a lot of language, so here's a picture of this Canva feature to summarize:
Sure, this might not be the Canva trick that takes your digital content creation business to the next level, but it will save you a ton of time.
I don't even want to explain what I used to go through to make sure designs were spaced perfectly. (We can talk later if you really want to know that Canva hack😵.)
I design planner pages all the time to organize my life, and it was getting so annoying.
2. Download Current Page
When you create as many graphics as I do, you tend to keep them all on the same Canva design. Even though you can organize everything into folders—thank goodness—I think it's easier to keep similar designs on one sheet.
Like a template.
However, that sheet gets long.
My Pinterest Pin design for this blog is nearing the triple digits. So when I hit that "download" button, I had to scroll forever to the right page.
I usually forgot which page that was, so then I'd have to ex out and start all over.
Now, you can hit "download current page" and never think twice.
Amazing. I know I'm talking about saving maybe 10 seconds of your life.
But have you ever run a thousand different social media accounts and blogs while also making time for normal life things?
We freelancers need all the time back we can get.
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3. Posting Pinterest Pins Directly From Canva
This Canva tip is sure to save you a lot of time.
And also a lot of space.
Instead of having to download images individually, save to a folder, then upload to Pinterest, you can do it right on Canva.
Just hit share like normal and select the share to Pinterest option.
Here's a visual:
And if you have Canva pro, this tip is even better.
See the little calendar in the bottom left of this screenshot? Click that to schedule your design for posting on Pinterest later.
If you're up to date on Pinterest practices (or any social media creation practices to be honest), consistent posting is key to growth.
But manually pinning every day is not the best use of your time. I definitely recommend a scheduler, especially if you manage many Pinterest accounts as a freelancer like I do.
4. Connect Your Google Drive To Canva
If you think setting up workflows and connecting your hundreds of accounts will take a ton of effort...
I'm not going to lie to you—I've been beyond overwhelmed by so-called "shortcuts" to the point where I don't even do them.
But if there's one workflow you should set up, it's connecting your other accounts to Canva.
Instead of downloading files to your desktop or losing them in folders, try this Canva tip and just connect your accounts.
You can connect Google Drive, Dropbox, Flickr...and a bunch of others.
It's really simple to set up and will save you a ton of time. Less juggling of files the better!
5. SmartMockups: The Best Canva Trick
Huge round of applause to Canva for this one.
With 3 clicks, you can turn any image on Canva into a mockup. If you're not sure what that means, a mockup is basically a fake version of something realistic.
It might be a laptop screen, or someone wearing a t-shirt. It looks like it's actually happening, but in reality, it's just a digital blueprint.
Creators and graphic designers need these all the time. Either to see what a final product will look like once it's actually made or to bring a touch of realness to the imagery they're using in their content.
Before this super awesome Canva hack, you either had to pay for mockups to be made or use a free site that was maybe just okay.
If you have giant mockup needs, this might not excite you. But for me and other people who just need good-looking designs quickly, it's a huge save.
The variety is pretty good and most of the time they turn out looking great without many adjustments needed.
6. Using Canva Brand Kits
The Canva Brand Kit feature is great for creators of all kinds and it is *chef's kiss*. Whether you're just creating for yourself or if you have several brand clients, this comes in handy.
Each brand kit can hold:
color palettes (you can have multiples!)
brand templates (Canva templates)
You can access this from the home page and when you're working on designs. It's super convenient and easy to switch between brand kits if you need to! It's one of my favorite things about Canva.
This truly can cut your time in half, especially if you have a lot of clients. Even if you have a brand guideline document elsewhere, you'd either have to constantly refer to it while you work or remember all of it on your own.
Now you can have any design you need with just a few clicks using this Canva Pro feature.
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7. How To Upload Custom Fonts
This might be a little bit more of a niche Canva feature, but uploading your own fonts is a fabulous way to take your designs to the next level.
It's also a requirement when you're creating graphics for certain brands that have specific fonts.
For my personal brand, this feature helped me out so much. The font I use wasn't on Canva already, so I'm happy I was able to upload it quickly.
It takes 4 seconds and you can upload as many as you need. (Just make sure that you have the rights to use the fonts the way you plan to use them.)
Canva has thousands of amazing fonts that I adore, and even more when you get Canva Pro. But sometimes you need to upload one you come across somewhere else.
This feature makes it possible in just a few clicks!
8. Creating Transparent Backgrounds & Removing Backgrounds From Images
This was the feature that made me try out Canva Pro in the first place. This is also the feature that got me to stay after my 30 day free trial with Canva Pro ended.
The amount of time I spent trying to get transparent backgrounds with free online tools, simply Googling for transparent logos, or messing around on Photoshop or other apps...was too much.
With Canva Pro it literally takes a single click to get a transparent background. There are two ways to remove backgrounds using Canva:
Background remover tool for images: While editing, click an image > select edit image from the top tool bar > click background remover > adjust as necessary and apply the changes
Download final designs with transparent background: When you go to download a design, simply make sure that "download as transparent" is selected. The background needs to be a solid color for this to work (if you have a design/image background, that's what will download because it counts as part of the image.)
I love that you can adjust the automatic transparency tool for images by erasing more of the image or restoring parts you wanted to keep.
Transparent backgrounds are great for images you need to upload onto website pages or for saving without a background to use in your other Canva designs. *Chef's kiss* for this one!
9. Canva Magic Resize
In my opinion, this is another good reason to have Canva Pro. At least try it out for free with the 30 day trial to see if it's something you can benefit from.
I didn't think I'd need it that badly...until I had it.
Whether you design a lot or not, there comes a time when you need to resize a design. Sometimes you just get it wrong.
Manually making a new design and then copying and pasting into a new sized document isn't hard work, but it does take time.
With the Magic Resize Tool:
Click "resize" in the upper left corner of your design
Search for the size you need by either typing or scrolling (ex: IG Story post)
Don't see the size you need? Type a custom size by px, in, mm, cm.
Need more than one size of the design? Click the check box to the left of each size, and Canva will automatically create a new design for each size.
10. Organization Tools For All Your Designs
I'm obsessed with organizing things, and there's a reason for it:
If I don't overdo it on the organizational front, all hell breaks loose.
So when it comes to my many jobs of being a digital creator and content manager, making sure all the files and designs I make stay organized is essential.
There's a few way to organize with Canva, these are the ones I either use the most or find the most helpful to know:
1. You can upload your own images to Canva and there's also a giant library of images for you to use (both free and pro versions). That's a lot to keep track of! Keep your favorites within grasp:
Click the 3 dots at the corner of an image in the library > Select the star to add to your favorites > OR Select "Add to folder" to sort it into an image folder.
2. Organize all designs, images, videos, template, etc into sections from the main page.
Navigate to the main page > Select "Projects" from the left column (third one down) > Use the dropdown to see all projects, your projects, or shared projects only > Further break things down by viewing the folders.
Saving designs to folders is simple too:
From a design, click "share"
Scroll down through the options, and instead of downloading or printing, click "more"
This will open up a menu of SO many different ways to share your design. On the second row you'll need to click "save to folder"
Click through your folder paths until you find the right one, simply select it
Click "save" to add it to the folder (if you don't see this option, you'll need to scroll down a little to reveal the save button.
You can also create a new folder this way. (Otherwise create a new folder from the actual main projects page)
Time To Put These Tips To Use Canva In Action!
Are you feeling creatively inspired? I sure am. I really hope these Canva tips and tricks for beginners (or those who might have missed these secrets) help you create and organize your creation process.
If I left anything out that you're just dying to share with the world (I know there's a Canva hack out there that you can't get enough of) make sure to drop it below in the comments so we can all be excited about it too!