using canva, canva features

8 Things You Need to Know About Canva Before You Use It

What is Canva?

Canva is a tool and a resource for people who have creative businesses. It helps to create images like Instagram and Pinterest images, flyers, posters, calendars, etc. The sky is the limit… almost.

I have been learning Canva this past month (and you can too by clicking here) and as a novice techie person, this is what I have come across that I found to be difficult and other things that I found to be easy.

5 amazing things about Canva

  1. Templates are awesome. They have categories for just about whatever kind of project you are working on and sub-categories within those projects. It is amazing. If I’m working on a wedding Instagram announcement, Canva has me covered. I just click on the template for weddings and the size and format for Instagram in the Canva Home Design page and away I go. There are at least 50 choices for each category with different setups, some are more image focused, some are text-based, and some have a healthy mix of both in different layouts and compositions. Canva makes it so easy and simple. The templates all look professional and polished.
  2. You can upload your own pictures into these templates. Creating thank you notes with an image from your wedding is possible in about 20 seconds. No joke. You just have to upload the image and drag it into the template. Impossibly easy!
  3. Preset dimensions are loaded into the home page. Looking for a Pinterest image, a letterhead, a calendar, a banner? Canva knows what dimension they should be and has templates for those dimensions. It is incredible! Two clicks and you have a customized template just waiting for your images and text to be inserted to create your own image in a matter of minutes.
  4. The Canva team is insanely good at keeping those dimensions updated. If Pinterest changes its pin standard, it is immediately reflected in Canva. There’s no second guessing whether that Instagram template will work because their team checks for changes in those platforms all the time to keep the dimensions updated and accurate.
  5. The branding center is just cool. When you start a company, you build a brand. You pick colors and fonts that are recognizable to your company from now until the end of time. Canva lets you load those colors and fonts into their preset branding center so that when you need to change the font or color of something, your company ’s branded colors and fonts are front and center. There is a fee for the whole branding experience, but even the free version offers you three branded colors. Every little bit helps.

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With all the great things about Canva, I feel a little sheepish pointing out some of its flaws. But it wouldn’t be helpful to you all if I only pointed out the good stuff and didn’t alert you to the pitfalls, no matter how small they may be.

3 Canva things I struggle with

  1. Tables. Basic tables, the 2×6 tables with just rows and columns. They aren’t preset into Canva’s element function. You have to build them one line at a time. At least I haven’t found a way to make it easier than that as of yet. It is a horrible, painstaking process that I have completely given up on after many, many unsuccessful hours of trying. To show you, here’s a picture of my best attempt at a worksheet with multiple tables. It’s embarrassingly bad and I can’t even tell you how many hours I spent on this. Like a million, I think.
  2. Alignment of lines and inserted elements. There are guidelines that appear on the screen to help you keep your image’s elements aligned. Ninety-nine-percent of the time I have found these to be useful and accurate.  One-percent of the time it seems like they get confused. If I have a lot of elements in my image, it doesn’t know which one to line up with and if I don’t catch it my image will be wonky. Hence why my tables were such a failed experiment. Just be aware, that it happens (although rarely), so make sure the red guidelines are matching up with the area you need it to match up with before just trusting it and continuing on.
  3. Heading and subheading alignment. I still haven’t figured out how to make the text align correctly when using heading and subheadings. Sometimes the template I choose works great for what I am changing in it. The text I type in is similar in size and length to their preloaded text. Since I use templates, it is preloaded with text in certain places. You have to delete their text and fill it in with your own text. Sometimes what I want to write is longer or shorter than their original text in the pre-set boxes and it throws my alignment off. Other times I have to mess with it a little more and when that happens, it’s a free for all on where my text is going. Even with the center alignment on, sometimes it’s not quite right. The grouping option is available but even then you can’t highlight and center the multiple elements together as a whole.

using canva, using canva for the first time, struggling to use canva

This is my real life, tried it and failed first attempt at making tables in Canva. It took me just under four hours. Not joking at all. You have to use one sized line from their clipart library and stretch them really long to make them fit the table width, then they are overlapping each other so you can’t move the one you want without also moving a different line in another table. AND! I had to resize all those lines individually and try to get them the same thickness using a rollerball mouse….because I live in the ’90s forever. That is also serious. Emily is forever making fun of me for saying really outdated things that make complete sense to me, like “Where’s your VCR player”, and “Do you wanna play MindMaze on Encarta 96 today?”, but make no sense to anyone else. Anyways…

As I mentioned before I am not a tech genius. I am a little baby bird just trying to make its way in the computer world. But we all start somewhere and I feel like people don’t talk about their struggles as much as they should out of fear or shame or what have you.

I’m fearless! As long as there is an opportunity for me to learn I am quite comfortable letting people know I haven’t got it all figured out. That being said, are any of you a Canva genius?  Can any of you wonderful people let me know if I am the only one struggling with these problems? Please?

2 Comments

  1. emily on April 7, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Canva sounds great!

  2. name on April 7, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    it sure does!

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