Canva Productivity Hacks

Are you getting started with Canva, an amazing digital creation tool? Then you might appreciate these Canva productivity hacks. I stumbled upon them as I explored Canva.

Let's take a look together!

Download Canva App For Your Computer

A few colleagues didn’t know that Canva has an app or program that works on your Windows or Mac computer. You’re not stuck in the browser (well, you are if you are a Chromebook user). This can improve your Canva creation speed. I knew there was an app for smartphones and tablets, not my computer. It’s now my favorite way to interact with Canva. Get Canva for your computer now.

Hack #1: Importing SlidesMania and More

Want to import amazing content from SlidesMania into Canva? Sure, Canva has tons of great templates, but they don’t have everything. SlidesMania, SlideCarnival, Slides Go offer a variety of presentation templates you can use. Find a list of other sources of templates online.

With that in mind, from your Canva Projects home page, you can import them. Go to the + ADD NEW button in the top right, and choose the source:

What you may NOT know is that Canva supports other import formats than PowerPoint. This is a good thing because exports of PowerPoint often don’t import well into Canva. 

You may need a simpler, intermediary format, like ODP presentation:

The simpler the format, the more likely fancy animations will fail. That’s alright since Canva offers its own magic. 

Export your presentations to OpenOffice format. Drag and drop the ODP file into Canva app to import it.

Hack #2: Hide Presentation Slides, Allow Effects

Hiding presentation slides isn’t anything new. You can do it MS Powerpoint and Google Slides (known as “skip” slide). If you “skip slide” in Google Slides, the skipped slides are visible if you share the link. In PowerPoint Online, the hide slide will obscure slide from presentation view. But, you can still print them to PDF to see any slides the author chose to hide. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Canva makes it easy to HIDE many slides at once (see image right)

A neat feature in Presentation mode on Canva? You can use Magic Shortcuts to emphasize or blur content -->

For example, you can “hide” content in a presentation by blurring it until you’re ready to discuss it (shown left)

Hack #3: Clean Out Uploaded Items

Want to clean out your uploaded items in Canva? Use the SELECT tool to choose multiple items. To delete them, click on the TRASH can at the bottom of the sidebar to throw them away.

To trash select items you have checked, click on the TRASH can at the bottom.

This allows you to keep your uploaded items area tidy. Trashing items from your upload tray does NOT remove them from any documents you put them into. That means, unless you are planning to use those items again, it’s fine to select and delete them.

And, remember, items stay in the Trash for thirty days. If you need a trashed item, you can always recover it:

Hack #4: Edit PDFs with Canva

Wish you could edit a PDF? While one of my favorite tools is PDF Reader by XODO for forms, give Canva a try. You can drag and drop the PDF file into the Canva Projects home area. When you start to drag it over, it will look like this:

Then, once Canva has processed it, you can begin editing it. What’s amazing is that Canva converts the text in the PDF to editable text. You’re able to make changes and adjustments.

Here’s a form adapted from a school district’s form available in PDF:

All the text is edit-friendly. If I need to add content or make corrections, I can do that. I can also translate content. 

This works great on Teachers Pay Teachers FREE PDF files, where you might want to start out with a basic design and then spruce it up a bit.

Hack #5: Grab Bag of Education Hacks

If you’re a classroom teacher, you can do any of the following:

Some more productivity hacks:

Hack #6: Masking Images with Frames

Wish you had an easy way to drop an image or photo into a shape? Canva offers pre-created “frames” you can use. These allow you to mask an image, hiding parts you don’t want people to see. The benefit? You can frame an image into a particular shape, like a cut-out.

To frame an image, first open a Canva project document or make a new one. Then, search ELEMENTS for Frames. You’ll find a variety of them, as shown below:

Add one of the frames to your document, then import an image or find one. Drag the image into the frame, as shown below: 

Your end result is balloons and sky image in the shape of a diamond, as shown below:

While there are various programs that allow you to do this (Google Slides offers “crop to shape”), Canva offers a variety of frames. Wouldn’t it be neat to match ANY image to any shape, or convert any simple shape to a frame you could use? There are ways but that will have to wait for another day.

Hack #7: Download Selection

Want to create a masked/frame image and save it for use on a website (e.g. Google Sites)? 

Use Download Selection option. To do so, select TWO or more elements in your design, then right-click on them. 

This will allow you to select DOWNLOAD SELECTION.You can see my example of a phone frame with the image of a guy staring off into the mountains. I added three meteorites to the shot to add some drama. 

Then, I selected all of them, right-clicked, and chose DOWNLOAD SELECTION.

What Are YOUR Canva Productivity Hacks?

Now that I’ve shared some Canva hacks with you, what are some of your own?

Feature Image Source.  Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash