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Tips and Tricks for Using Canva Like a Pro

If you're like most small business owners, you're always looking for ways to save time and streamline your operations. That's why Canva is such a popular tool - it allows you to create high-quality graphics without spending hours in Photoshop or Illustrator. In this post, I'll share some tips and tricks for getting the most out of Canva. Whether you're just starting out or you've been using Canva for a while, there's sure to be something here that will help you take your designs to the next level!

Getting Started

Since most of what I design now is for social media, I’ll be focusing on that in this article. To get started, go to and create an account. They have free accounts that let you design at no charge, but they charge you for some graphics individually. The Pro account is $12.95 a month, and includes all stock photography, a magic resizing tool, the ability to upload your brand’s fonts, create folders, and share designs with other team members. I highly recommend the Pro account if you create graphics regularly.

Creating a New Design

The beauty of Canva is that it’s very user-friendly. If you would like to create an Instagram post, simply go to the top of the page and select “Instagram Post.” Canva then provides a perfect 1080x1080 pixel square to begin. If you need some inspiration to get started, use one of their templates, but tweak it with your colors, fonts, and imagery. I normally discourage clients from using the template as-is because you want your brand to be reflected in your posts.

The other option is to begin designing on your own, pulling in photos or other graphics. You can use the Upload tool to upload your own photos. Once uploaded, simply drag the photo over to your blank canvas. You can also choose one of Canva’s stock photos from the Photos area if you don’t have any of your own. Canva has a robust photo offering, and you can search for different types of photos or backgrounds.

Adding Text

Once you have your main background set, you may want to add text. To add text, tap Text on the left-hand navigation bar. If you have a brand kit set up with a specific font, it will default to that. Otherwise, it will have a basic font to choose from that you can change. For basic text, tap on either the Headline, Subheading, or Body Text to bring it on to your canvas. There are also fun font combinations underneath that if you are looking for something more unique.

Going Beyond the Basics

If you’re ready to level up your design, get to know the Elements area. This is where you can add shapes, or a frame where you can add a photo. You can also add a number of other elements like lines, stickers, graphics, videos, audio, tables, and more. I highly encourage you to play around with these to see how you can jazz up your designs. There are so many possibilities!

Saving and Downloading

Your design is saving along the way periodically, which is nice in the instance that your computer decides to quit on you! To easily find your design again, you’ll want to go to the top blue bar of the screen and give the image a name. Once saved, you can download the image to your computer to use later. Canva has many file types to choose from. For a social media graphic, you’ll want to choose a png file. If you inserted any video, you’ll want to download the image as an mp4. Once downloaded, upload the image to your favorite social media platform. Bonus tip: if you have the Pro account, you can use the Resize tool to resize the image for a different platform. For instance, if I create an image from Instagram that I also want to use on Twitter, I can tell Canva to resize it for Twitter, and it will make a copy and resize it. It’s not always perfect, so you may need to tweak it a little bit, but it’s much easier than starting from scratch.

That’s all there is to it! Canva has been a lifesaver for me. I used InDesign, PhotoShop, and Illustrator for years, and now I hardly open those programs. It’s a one-stop shop, not only for social media, but for flyers, presentations, brochures, and even ebooks! I encourage you to give it a try!

Corey Walker is the co-author of Instagram for Dummies, and Instagram for Business for Dummies. Corey is available for 1:1 consultations, podcast appearances, and special projects. Contact her at

Need help with Instagram Reels? Click here for my “Create Instagram Reels that Convert eBook.”

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