So you've decided to take the leap and open a Canva account. Congratulations! You are now one of many people who are utilizing this platform to start the journey of creating your own graphics, posts, and more. But now what? You've logged into the site, and maybe started a design or two, but what exactly are you supposed to do with all those thingys on the left of the bar? If this is something you already know, scroll on. But if you have only been utilizing a couple of those icons on your menu, stay right here. You are in the right place. I am going to give you a brief breakdown of the icons on the dashboard from top to bottom.
Starting out, you have anywhere from 7-8 designing widgets to choose from. At the very top is the Design widget. This one will have a library of templates to help you get started. Let's say you're creating an Instagram post. If you start with a blank slate, the design tab will have done for you templates that you can customize to fit your branding. Right under that would be the Elements widget. This one is actually my favorite. You can type in anything from purple zebra to gold glitter(please refrain from gold glitter, that's so mid-2000s) and elements will produce it. I love this tab for all of the cool things I can add to my work.
Next up is Uploads. This one has been a lifesaver for me. Uploads is where you add your own photos or graphics to add to your designs. I do a lot of digital flyers and social media posting, so uploads are clutch for me, keeping everything in the same place, and I don't have to heavily rely on stock photos. Also, if you are editing a picture or creating a collage of sorts, you'll utilize uploads to add your pictures to the platform. Text is the next widget on the list. It's pretty self explanatory, but I like to explain things so lets get it. When you open the Text widget, you have an array of options from choosing your own text to utilizing the text groups that they have done for you. Honestly I could do a whole blog post on finding and selecting text, but that's for another day.
Projects is the next one on the list. I did not even really know what this one did until I started working on this blog post. I totally overlooked it, but damn I wish I'd known about it sooner. When you click on Projects, it displays all of your projects that you have worked on. This can come in handy when creating thumbnails or product previews or mockups. I was definitely doing all of those things the hard way prior to, but now that I know better I will do better!
Under the highly overlooked Projects widget is the Photos widget. The photos widget is your go-to for any photo you could imagine. Canva has gotten pretty good at adding to its photo gallery. There is no need to hop out to unsplash to grab your stock photos. It's all right here. There is an option to add the Unsplash widget to your bar, but why bother with that? The Videos widget is the new kid on the block. Canva adds to its stock video database frequently, and the quality is pretty good! Need a video of a dinner party? It's there, along with so many other things. I love adding videos to my creations and don't have to do a bunch of website hopping just to get that perfect stock video.
Ok now, stick with me, I'm almost done with the basic ones. Next is the Background widget. That one is pretty obvious as well. Pick a design from the background gallery and boom! Instant background. I sort of use this one. After that is the Logos Widget. Should you create a Brand Kit(and you absolutely should,) this is where your logo will go. When you click on that tab, your saved logos will appear.
Those are the most basic of basic widgets that start you out on Canva. There are quite a few more, and you can add more if you scroll all the way to the bottom and click on the Apps Widget. There you can add whatever they have available from Typeform to QR codes.
Now that you know what all those little widgets do, will you try one out that you have not used yet? Let me know which one is your new favorite in the comments below!