5 Canva Hacks You Didn’t Know Existed

Canva site opened on laptop screenCanva, the online graphic design platform primarily used for social media posts and presentations, has risen to widespread popularity since being founded in 2013. With more than 110 million users, the world’s largest female-founded and woman-led startup just reached another major milestone: 15 billion designs created. No doubt about it, this free software—with its readymade easy-to-use templates and elements—is making graphic design more accessible to the masses. Whether you’re just getting started with this tool or are a long-time user, read on for five Canva hacks to elevate your graphics that our marketing team has discovered over years of using this platform for clients and our own agency. 

Our Top 5 Canva Hacks for All Users 

As a designer who spent years studying and using Adobe products, I was hesitant to dive into Canva, but I quickly realized it’s just as useful for professional designers as it is for newbies. When churning out social media content, having a tool like Canva that allows you to create stunning designs quickly is so valuable. All these Canva hacks we’re about to go through are available whether you’re working with the free version or one of their paid versions, like Canva Pro.  

1. The Tidy Up Feature 

If you have several Elements (“Elements” in Canva are essentially the building blocks to any design—including shapes, lines, illustrations, and icons) all over the place and want to line them up and space them out evenly, the “Tidy Up” feature is your friend. To do this, select all the Elements/text you desire, then click Position in the top right (desktop version), and at the bottom under “Space Evenly” choose Tidy Up. You can also select Vertically or Horizontally if you just need to tweak a few things. The Position menu is the ultimate fixer of all things for aligning, spacing, and layering.

Screen capture of user's Canva window displaying the Tidy Up feature.
To space Elements evenly or in alignment, select everything you desire, then click Position in the top right (desktop version), and at the bottom under “Space Evenly” choose Tidy Up.

2. Canva Collections 

You’re scrolling through Elements and find something you really like that’s perfect for the project you’re working on. You probably already know you can click the three dots in the top right corner of that Element to “see more like this,” but in some cases, you’ll also have the option to “view collection.” Collections are different from the “see more” action because they show you a group of Elements that have all been created by the same artist and are designed to go together. Since they all have the same look at feel to them, this is helpful for keeping a consistent theme throughout a design or project.

Screen capture of a user's Canva window opening Canva Collections options.
These are some examples of what Canva Collections look like.

3. Keyboard Shortcuts in Canva 

Already work fast in Canva? Using these keyboard shortcuts will make you go even faster. Simply type these letters on your keyboard while you have a design open:  

  • T – adds a new text box 
  • R – adds a rectangle 
  • C – adds a circle
  • L – adds a line 

 And here are some other shortcuts with just a few keystrokes:  

  • CTRL + D allows you to duplicate Elements. 
  • CTRL + B allows you to bold text. 
  • CTRL + G allows you to group Elements.
  • To move or nudge Elements with pixel precision, use the arrow keys to move by a single unit or use Shift + arrow key to move it by 10 units.
  • CTRL + Z is to undo, and CTRL + SHIFT + Z is to redo.

4. Grid View

When designing something with lots of pages, it’s easy to get lost in constant scrolling back and forth through the multi-page document. To see all pages at once in a grid view, click the little page counter icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. In grid view, you can continue editing and can even rearrange the order of pages by simply clicking and dragging. You can also duplicate and delete pages. 

Screenshot of user's Canva window displaying a multi-page design document.
Here you can see we have a nine-page design consisting of graphics to promote our agency’s events.
Screen capture of user's Canva window showing what a multi-page document looks like in Grid View.
When we expand the document to Grid View, we can see all nine pages at the same time and can rearrange or edit from there.

5. Canva Smartmockups 

Smartmockups is one of the newer features in Canva. It allows you to insert your own photo or screenshot into one of their pre-made mockups of a smartphone screen, laptop, poster, and so much more—all with just one click. First, upload or select the image you’ll want to use and place it in your document. Click on the image and select “edit image” from the top menu, then scroll down to Smartmockups and click “see all” to view all the options. Select the one you desire, and you’re done! 

Screen capture of user's Canva window with picture of woman on the design and Smartmockup options appearing in the Elements tab.
In this example design, we grabbed a picture of our client Claudia. When we select “Edit Image,” a menu opens on the left. Scroll down and we see Smartmockups.
Screen capture of a user's Canva window displaying Smartmockup options to choose from.
Click “see all,” and we find dozens of Smartmockup designs to choose from. In this example, we chose “Laptop 5,” and the design looks like Claudia is hosting a webinar on our computer screen!

There you have it: our favorite Canva hacks. Try them out and let us know what you think. And if you know any other tricks of the trade, comment below or send us a message on social to share! In today’s increasingly digital world, graphic design doesn’t have to be expensive or challenging. But, if you need assistance making clean and beautiful graphics that stand out, we’re happy to help. Contact us today to inquire about our full suite of marketing services. 

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About the author : Catrina Gardner

Catrina Gardner is a Communications Manager at Vision Advertising. With a background in social media marketing, photography, and graphic design, she brings her marketing savviness and design skills to her clients. Outside of the office, Catrina is on the Board of Directors for the Young Professional Women's Association of Worcester.

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