Canva is the (mostly) free online design tool trusted by millions around the world. Founded in 2012 in Australia, the company has recently surpassed 10 million users.
The growth and development of the company, have largely seen many small improvements launched throughout the years with almost all being fairly great.
The number of users on this design platform has called for a rather massive redesign though. To bring the company forward, whilst continuing to improve, and in August 2018 this redesign was finally launched.
It’s called Canva 2.0 & in this article, we’re going to look at 15 awesome new features & functions that you can now perform within Canva!
There are a few other features that I am not going to touch on (like new languages) as I’ve selected the 15 most useful new features I’ve discovered on the site.
Languages will, of course, be useful in the expansion of the site, but let’s stick to design tools as this is a designing platform.
- Canva 2.0: 15 Awesome New Features & Functions
- Canva homepage search bar
- Recommended tab
- Instagram Stories Templates
- The sidebar can now be minimized to maximize your workspace
- Sidebar elements & templates are sorted into categories
- Keyboard Shortcuts
- Canva Assistant
- Align Elements
- Up from 30 to 100 pages in a design
- Autoplay presentations on a loop
- Publish designs directly to Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.
- Embed to a Website with Automatic Updates
- Publish a website
- BONUS – Gradients!
Canva 2.0: 15 Awesome New Features & Functions
Enough talk, let’s get straight into it!
Canva homepage search bar
In Canva 2.0 the traditional template selection is gone (not completely, however), replaced by a search bar.
Make it very simple to get started with a design by simply typing in what you’re looking to create.
Start typing whatever you’re looking for, Facebook for example, and a drop-down will appear with the design dimensions beneath each option. Select one and you’re already off to the races!
The search bar hasn’t done away with the suggested or recommended tab completely.
You’ll still find a range of options shown beneath the search bar and just above your designs.
This is limited, and if you cannot find a specific template, you may have better luck just typing it into the search bar.
Instagram Stories Templates
For those eagle-eyed Canva users, when typing Instagram into the search bar, you’ll notice a new option appear beside the regular Instagram post option.
Namely, Instagram stories.
Templates for Instagram stories are hardly foreign to Canva, with these being available on the Mobile version for quite some time, but this is the first time that desktop users can also create Instagram Stories using Canva’s preset templates.
You could work around it and make them anyway, but this should speed up plenty of people’s workflow.
The sidebar can now be minimized to maximize your workspace
If we move into the design window and get to the actual designs, you’re going to notice a few things straight off of the bat.
The menu bar has a new gradient coloring, although this hardly does anything to improve your designs, it can be a quick indicator of whether or not you’re creating a design in Canva 1 or Canva 2.0.
What can help with your graphics is to have a larger work area. Easily achieved in Canva 2.0 by minimizing the sidebar by clicking on the tab as seen in the above image.
To make the full sidebar reappear, simply click on a category in the minimized bar on the left.
Protip: To edit a Canva 1 design in Canva 2.0, click on the desired design and open it as you normally would. Once opened, in the URL, change ‘/edit’ at the end of the URL to ‘/remix?schema=web-2’. Hit enter and presto, your design should reload in the Canva 2.0 editor.
Sidebar elements & templates are sorted into categories
Things could become a lot faster thanks to the new categories that elements and templates are sorted into with Canva 2.0.
You’ll notice that photos, templates, graphics, etc. are sorted into different categories. These categories differ depending on what template or design you started off with. I.e. If you selected an Instagram Post, you’ll have a quote category. Whereas if you selected Facebook Cover, you’ll have beauty or summer categories, amongst others.
As we’re on the topic of speeding through designs, one of the best ways to speed up your workflow is by using keyboard shortcuts. I’m not talking about those typical [CTRL+C] to copy & [CTRL+V] to paste…
Those are still there, but Canva 2.0 has introduced more Canva specific Shortcuts.
Some of the more useful shortcuts are ‘R’ to insert a rectangle, ‘L’ to insert a line & ‘T’ to insert a text box.
Search for keyboard shortcuts using the Canva Assistant to see if there are any new updates.
The Canva Assistant is the new help feature you can find in the bottom right corner. If you’ve got some basic or FAQ type questions, like the keyboard shortcuts, let the Canva Assistant assist… See what I did there? ?
This is my favorite feature by far!
Sometimes I can be a real a pixel perfectionist, and Canva previously didn’t have a way to center text, pictures & other elements, besides the snap grids. These were far from ideal, often making it seem as if there were 2 center points in a project and just making me unsure about what was really in the middle.
Thankfully, however, Canva 2.0 has introduced a few align to page options under the position tab. You still can’t align to selection or objects like you would be able to in Photoshop, but it’s progress, and I’m elated they’ve at least introduced this.
Up from 30 to 100 pages in a design
Were the number of pages you could create in your Canva projects too little?
If so, maybe this update will help. Now in Canva 2.0, you can create up to 100 pages in a single project!
And if that is still not enough, just copy the project and carry on with pages 101-200!
Why stop there though, it’s time you take that novel out of your head and put it to paper. ?
P.s. This feature can be a little buggy at the moment, with some accounts still being limited to 30 pages, even in Canva 2.0.
Autoplay presentations on a loop
If presenting is your jam, then I’ve got some great news! Canva 2.0 has introduced a wide variety of new ways to export your designs and projects, including presenting straight from Canva.
Just hit ‘present’ from the publish dropdown, select your transitions & then select how you’d like to present from the timing menu. Tradition clicking to the next slide, Autoplay or looping your presentation.
Great for billboard-style ads, features at conventions and much more.
Publish designs directly to Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.
Speaking of ways to publish, do it directly to social media! Whether it’s your Pinterest account, Facebook page or Twitter, you can now post directly from Canva.
Instagram is NOT on this list just yet, but they may be working towards adding them.
Embed to a Website with Automatic Updates
If publishing directly to social media wasn’t enough, you can now embed live projects on your website. This means that whenever you make a change to your project, it will change live on your website too!
I’ve only tried this with WordPress, but it should work across multiple platforms.
Publish a website
You don’t have a website? Well then just turn one of your designs directly into one!
It’s literally just 3 quick clicks of a button.
Publish > Website > Open Website
It’s currently quite limited, but I can see a good use for it with events, landing pages, and other single page sites. You get a very intuitive drag & drop site builder with the Canva design interface and then you can make it live within a matter of moments.
The published website is also quite mobile responsive but aim for longer designs if your target audience will be visiting mostly via mobile.
Protip: Use the Pretty Links WordPress plugin to create a URL with your own domain name!
Animate is another way of exporting or publishing your projects. Providing new ways to create GIFs or short clips, you can bring your social media posts to life.
The animations are still quite basic, but they’re completed within a click of a button and you can export them as .mp4 files or as animated GIFs.
*Animate is currently only available for Canva for work users. You can start a free 30-day trial & test it out, however.
*Like Animate, the scheduler feature is also only available to Canva for work users currently.
This is possibly one of Canva’s biggest features. Having introduced publishing directly to social media, Canva for Work users can now schedule their posts directly with Canva 2.0 and it will take care of the rest.
Schedule to Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Instagram is not currently one of the publishing options, and therefore you still won’t be able to schedule Instagram posts with Canva.
The Scheduler could be a good place to schedule posts if your entire workflow goes through Canva, but it’s not going to be something I’ll make much use of, and here’s why:
I’m already using a more powerful scheduling tool for Pinterest, namely Tailwind.
Here I can schedule multiple pins to multiple boards quickly and easily. I have Pinterest metrics and analytics to determine which pins & boards are performing well. I can schedule other peoples pins to add great content to my profile and give my audience other great resources. Tailwind tribes is a great tool to boost your pins and get them in front of a targeted audience. It is also a good place to find like-minded pinners to network with.
It’s above all a great Pinterest scheduling tool, you can give Tailwind a try with a free trial by clicking here.
Furthermore, I use free tools like Tweetdeck to schedule Twitter posts & Facebook’s built-in scheduler to schedule any FB posts in advance.
Not to say the Canva scheduler is bad, it’s just not something that I will be interested in with its current functionality. It may fit your workflow better, you can give it try by starting a 30-day free Canva for work trial.
BONUS – Gradients!
Canva has finally introduced gradients. These are pretty awesome and allow you to create a wide variety of new and exciting designs only previously capable in more expensive and difficult to use software like Photoshop or Illustrator.
You can now add a custom gradient fill (even using your own brand colors) to shapes, backgrounds, brush strokes, etc. The design options are endless. Once you start using a gradient, it’s hard going back. ?