How To Make & Edit PDF Files In Canva (Complete Guide)

Whether you are making a PDF guide for your audience, training files for work, or even a multi-page PDF presentation to show friends and family, Canva makes it easy. In this guide, you’ll learn how to create and work with new PDF designs, how to import existing PDF files, along with tips to edit existing PDFs with some impressive built-in tools found in Canva.

Let’s start by talking about creating new multi-page PDF designs.

How To Create A Multi-Page PDF In Canva

By the end of this section, you’ll know how to find a template, add pages, change out images and text, and how to download the PDF to your computer. 

Step 1: Find The Perfect Template 

Although you could start your PDF from scratch, just like any other project in Canva, you could use one of the thousands of available templates to speed up the process. 

To find the perfect template, use the search bar on the Canva home page. Search for the exact kind of PDF document you’re looking for. Hundreds to thousands of templates will pop up. 

Once you find the perfect template, click on it. 

You’ll have the chance to preview your template. Click on Customize This Template to open the template in a separate tab. 

Step 2: Change Out The Images In Your Template 

To add, or switch out photos in your template, click the Elements tab, then search for the theme of your PDF. 

Select the Photos tab to see all the photos available for your theme. 

When browsing through these photos, remember to watch out for pictures with a crown in the left corner. This crown means you must be a Canva Pro user to use them. 

If you’re a free user of Canva, you can make your life easier by clicking the filter button in the search bar and the Free button under Price

Click Apply Filters to be presented with only free images. 

Once you find a good photo, drag it from the side panel to the template photo. The new photo will replace the old one perfectly, most of the time. 

Using the same method, you can replace shapes on your template with photos. Just drag the image of your choice from the side panel to the shape you want to replace. 

You can also place images on your template anywhere you’d like by clicking the image, then moving it where you need it.  

Also, remember that you can upload your own images for your project. 

To do this, click on the Uploads section, then click on Upload Files. You will be prompted to locate your files on your computer. 

The images that you upload will be available in the Uploads section. You can then add those images to your project. 

Step 3: Add New Pages To Your Project

To create a brand new page for your project, click the New Page button. A blank page will be added below the page. 

Adding a blank page may work for some projects, but for many projects, you will want to duplicate the template page as many times as you need to. Duplicating the template page will ensure that your final PDF will have a consistent look and feel. 

To duplicate a page, click the Duplicate button above the page. An exact duplication of the page will appear below it. 

Step 4: Customize The Duplicated Page

After duplicating a template page, you can easily customize it by deleting unwanted elements, moving other elements around, and adding new text. 

To remove unwanted elements, first, hold down Shift, then select each element you want to remove. Press Delete to remove them. 

Once all the elements you need removed are gone, you can move the rest of your elements around on the page. 

Once you’re satisfied with the placement of your elements, you can replace the text in each text block with new text. 

Also, don’t forget to replace any images you had with new photos. 

Step 5: Customize The Font Of The Text 

The fonts used in Canva templates are usually good, but you can generally find better font options that fit your project. Especially for the chapter title text or anything that should be bolded. 

To customize the font for your project, double-click on the text box to select it. Then, click on the Font drop-down menu. 

On the side of your screen, you’ll find all the available fonts you can choose from. Click on the font of your choice to change your selected text. 

Once you’ve picked out your font, you will likely have to adjust the text size to fit better for your project. 

You can do this by selecting your text, then using the Size Controls in the Options Bar

You can change the font of all the text on the page to something that works best for your project. 

Step 6: Review Your Project Before Downloading 

Before you download your project as a PDF, take a few minutes to look over your project and make sure everything is present. The best way to do this is with a bird’s eye view. 

At the bottom of the screen, click the Grid View button. 

Clicking the grid view button will show you a preview of every page of your project. If you see any incorrect text placements or images that need to be replaced, do it before you download your PDF. 

Step 7: Download Your Project As A PDF File 

Once you’ve decided that your project is good to go, it’s time to download it as a PDF file. 

To start, click on the Share button at the top right corner of the screen. Then, in the options that drop-down, select Download

On the Download Options screen, click on the File Type drop-down menu. 

Canva gives you two choices when exporting to a PDF: PDF Standard and PDF Print

PDF Print is a high-quality version of your design that is optimized for printing. PDF Standard is a web-optimized version of your design designed to appear correctly on the web or to be sent via email.

For your project, click on the PDF file type that fits your needs. 

With your file type chosen, double-check and make sure that All Pages is selected under Select Pages. Then, click Download

One last prompt will pop up. You can rename the project next to the Save As option. Also, if you want to choose a different location to download your PDF instead of the downloads folder, you can do so under the Where drop-down menu. 

When you’re ready, click Save

Step 8: Double Check Your Downloaded PDF

A PDF of your project is now officially downloaded to your hard drive. Before you call it a day, open it up and check that everything came out right. 

First, locate your PDF in the folder that you saved it in. Then, open it by double-clicking it. You can now flip through all your PDF pages and confirm that every element is present. 

How To Edit & Export An Existing PDF With Canva

One of the newer features of Canva is the ability to upload your own PDF into Canva and then edit it from there. Canva is one of the few graphic design programs that allow you to do this, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of it. 

Step 1: Upload Your PDF

To upload a PDF to your Canva account, click the Upload button in the top right corner of the Canva home page. 

There are two ways that you can download your PDF to Canva: 

  • You can click the Choose Files button and navigate to your file. 
  • You can drag your file from another window into the Upload Area

Once you upload your PDF to Canva, you will see it downloading on your home page. Depending on the size of the PDF, it could take a long time to finish downloading.  

When your PDF finishes downloading, click it to open it in a different tab. 

Step 2: Rearrange The Elements Of The PDF

Uploading your PDF to Canva will make it so you can rearrange every element on each page. Just click on your element and move it around. 

So if you don’t like the layout of your current PDF, you can change it completely. 

Step 3: Add Page Numbers 

One of the advantages of using Canva to edit your PDF is the copy-and-paste ability. Once you copy an element in Canva, pasting it down on the next page will paste it in the same spot. This technique is perfect for adding page numbers to a project. 

First, add your first number. 

You can also add a little design behind the page number. 

From there, copy the number and design behind it by selecting them, then press Control + C (Win) or Command + C (Mac)

Then, scroll down to the next page and paste it by pressing Control + V (Win) or Command + V (Mac)

Your copied elements will be placed precisely where they should be, and now all you have to do is delete the old number and add in the next one. 

Repeat this process through the rest of your project. 

Step 4: Replace Elements On Your PDF 

Since each element in your PDF is independent, it’s straightforward to select an element on your PDF, delete it, and then replace it with a new one. 

(Optional) Step 5: Change The Style Of Each Page 

Another great reason to edit your PDF with Canva is the ability to quickly change the look of each page. 

To do this, click the Design button, then select the Styles tab. Scroll down to Color Palettes and click See All.  

You can now click on one of the many color palettes in the side panel. Each palette you click will change the color of most elements on each page. You can also click on the same palette multiple times to keep the same color palette but switch up the order of the colors. 

You can repeat this process throughout your entire project. The one downside is that it can be almost impossible to keep the colors consistent throughout your entire project.

Step 6: Double Check Each Page

Before creating your PDF, double-check your project for any issues by clicking the Grid View button at the bottom of the screen. 

Step 7: Export Your Project As A PDF

After double-checking your project, it’s time to export it. 

Click the Share button on the right side of the screen. Then click the Download button. 

In the options that pop up: 

  • File Type – Choose either PDF Standard if you plan to send the PDF on the internet or PDF Print if you plan to print it. 
  • Flatten PDF – If you plan on printing the PDF, you can check Flatten PDF to save space. If you plan on sending the PDF over the internet, make sure Flatten PDF is checked off so that the links inside will remain active. 
  • Select Pages – Make sure All Pages is selected. 

Click the Download button when ready. 

One last prompt will pop up, allowing you to rename your PDF and save it where you want it. Click Save when ready. 

Step 8: Double Check Your PDF

Now that your PDF is downloaded locate it on your hard drive. Double-click it to open the file. From here, you can scroll through the entire PDF and make sure every element looks how you need it. 

Canva is by far the easiest tool I’ve come across for creating, working on, and exporting PDFs. With a massive design library and mostly drag-and-drop elements, you can create a pretty awesome PDF in just a few minutes. Especially if you start with a template to help remove some guess work!

Happy Editing!

Article By

Brendan Williams

Hey, I'm Brendan! I'm a professional photographer and photo retoucher who has spent the majority of his career shooting or retouching outdoor lifestyle and social media campaigns for brands like G-Adventures, xoxo Bella, P&G, Fitbit, Chevy, Tourism California, and more. You can view my photography portfolio here.

These days I primarily focus my efforts on this site, creating guides and tutorials that I wish I had earlier in my career. Each week I publish new tutorials on Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Canva to help you unlock new skills and bring your creativity to new levels! Everything you learn here is backed by real experience, so you can finally skip the fluff and focus only on what matters.

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