Yes, I know that real designers would never use Canva, and for “real” projects I don’t either; however, I am churning out blog post featured images, presentations, Pinterest graphics pretty much every day, and the ease and affordability of Canva is incredible.

Note, I use the premium version of Canva, which I think is about $100 a year.  If you are just starting your business I honestly encourage you to use the free version, upgrade if needed, but there are loads of features and it’s an easy place to save money + time, as Adobe is incredible, but there is a learning curve and it’s not inexpensive.

I want to share with you a few of my favorite Canva tricks.

1. Short Cuts:

  • Press “T” in your Canva Design to bring up a Textbox. (How fast is that?)
  • Press “ALT” + “SHIFT” + “B”  add a border.
  • (more commands are in the info graphic below)

2.  Text Masking

This is actually quite on trend at the moment and I have always been a fan.  For more 2018 design trends, check out this article from Behance.

  • For text masking, you will select your canvas size (or select a pre-sized template).  In the search bar look for letter frames or photo holder letters.  Drag the letters you need into your design.  Search for an image and drag that image into each letter.
  • Note, the downside to using Canva for this vs. Photoshop is the whole image isn’t in the background with the text layered on top, in my example below you can see the wave in each letter.  I did this on purpose, you will want to drag the image around to get different parts of the photo, which you can see in the second image.  Or select an image that is a bit abstract such as flowers.

text masking with Canva

draggin image for text masking

3.  Grouping Items

  • I love this if your design has a lot of elements.  Simply click inside of your work area and drag your cursor along all of the items you want to “group”.  Select Group, then you can drag these items around your design.  This is great if you have painstakingly aligned text or a section of an infographic.

grouping items with canva

4.  Sharing

I work with a lot of bloggers who are pretty capable, but sometimes need a little help.  Recently one of my clients (Life Coach, Jean McCutcheon) asked me to create an Infographic.  It had a gazillion words and elements and bits, and downloading and sending and editing was just a pain.  A few clicks let me share the graphic with her, she could read / tweak and bounce it back to me.  This process saved us a ton of time and aggravation. Check out the graphic on a Gratitude Mindset.

Sharing with Canva


5.  Nudging elements into perfect alignment.

Can we all agree that the grid option in Canva kind of stinks.  Didn’t know you could get a grid (see infographic below, or if you are on a Mac Command + ; will toggle the graph.

display graph lines in Canva

Back to aligning things perfectly.  You can nudge elements into place 1px at a time by using your arrow keys.  Shift key + the arrow keys will move your elements 10 pixels in any direction.

Below you will find the infographic with the keyboard short cuts.


Any tips for Canva you would like to share? Please jump into the comments below, we are all interested in saving time and working smarter!

EIleen Lonergan
Eileen Lonergan was an integral part of this company. Unfortunately, Eileen Passed away on the 31st of October 2018 after a short battle with Cancer. She leaves behind the legacy of the Divi Theme Users Group and hundreds of people that she helped through coaching, building outstanding websites and just being - accessible. We miss her every day!
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