Make Beautiful PDFs in Canva

I think, there are better ways to make beautiful PDFs, but if you love Canva, welcome to my little experiment!


I am not the biggest Canva fan - I think there are more powerful free Photoshop and Illustrator alternatives, such as Pixlr and Gimp. You can install them, control them better, and use keyboard shortcuts online tools don't allow.

But Canva is a bright and colourful online tool, and in some aspects super easy to use. So, if you are a Canva lover, hold onto your socks, today I'll show you how to use it to make beautiful PDFs.

As I said before, there are easier ways to design PDFs, but Canva is absolutely amazing for combining image with text – pretty quotes or templates for blog images are easy peasy & quick to make.

But if you need to align elements, copy & paste, and control the design on your artboard, you might lose your temper once or twice (yep, I'm guilty). So if you don't have or don't like Adobe Illustrator, do try Google Slides for creating your PDFs, and leave Canva for what it does best - creation of pretty graphics for your blog and social media.

All that being said, if you still want to use Canva to create your PDFs, and if you are patient enough to go through with it (I know I wasn't, yes, I'm sooo guilty!), you can still make beautiful designs in it. Let's begin, shall we?



As in the other two PDF tutorials, it's best if you sketch your layout first. This way you will save time and a lot of back button use (in Canva, this function is rather tricky). So, grab paper and pen and draw it out first. Ready? Let's go then!

  • Start by opening Canva and logging to your account.
  • Select "USE CUSTOM DIMENSIONS" to set the size of your PDF.
How to Make Beautiful PDFs in Canva
  • Set the size of your pdf. Yes, you've guessed it, mine is 148 x 210 mm again, which is the Filofax A5 size (oh yes, I'm so in love with it! I gave it a name, it's called Jane, ahem)
How to Make Beautiful PDFs in Canva
  • Pick the layout for your PDF. I chose the simple whole page layout.
How to Make Beautiful PDFs in Canva
  • Change to background colour.
How to Make Beautiful PDFs in Canva
  • Add second background for the text and make it white.
  • Center it by drag & drop (guides are shown, when you are close to the center)
How to Make Beautiful PDFs in Canva
  • Add your text.
  • Change the colour and the alignment.
How to Make Beautiful PDFs in Canva
  • Add lines or boxes for the blank text fields.
  • Scale them, change colour & align them to your text.
  • To copy some elements and paste on the next page, you can select them by holding the SHIFT button. A copy option will appear next to your selection.
How to Make Beautiful PDFs in Canva

And here comes the most fun part of Canva – there are hundreds, if not thousands, of super pretty one-click-to-use illustrations and icons to choose from.

  • Go wild – search for elements that suit your PDF topic and give it that extra eye-catchiness.
  • When you've designed the first page, add the next and continue.
How to Make Beautiful PDFs in Canva
  • When you are all ready with your beautiful design, download it as PDF.
How to Make Beautiful PDFs in Canva

And that's it! It's not too bad, but as you can see I wasn't patient enough to finish even this PDF (naughty, I know!) Still, it looks very pretty so far, don't you think?

The thing is, Canva is really hard to control, and if you are doing more than slapping text on images, it can take a lot of time & effort to make it do what you want. So, be brave, go ahead and try it for yourself. If you are looking for alternatives for PDF creation, I have two for you – here they come, yo!

This is the third and  final part of this tutorial series and if you are looking for other ways to create PDFs, here are two (easier & quicker) workflows :






Oh, do tell me why, if you please? Personally, I love how simple the Google Slides process is, but I use Illustrator a lot (and I mean aaa looot!), so this one will be my favourite. Canva is pretty nifty for all things image + text, but I don't think I'll be using it to make PDFs, unless I absolutely have to. Let me know what you think, and ask me your questions, dearest!


Thank you for being here!

Stay happy & creative!

♥ Lin