Margins and guides are helpful tools to ensure you don’t lose details of your Canva Designs when you print your projects. In this guide, you’ll learn how to use these margins and guides in Canva to ensure this problem never happens.

Plus, if you’re confused about what bleed is or how to add crop marks to your PDF, this guide also has you covered there. 

What Are Margins For In Canva?

Margins in Canva act as a safety box for your design to ensure nothing gets cut off during printing. 

Canva has very large margins compared to other graphic design software. 

The best way to think about Canva margins is to consider them the lines forming a designated safe zone. 

The areas of your design outside the margins are in some danger of getting cut off during the printing process. However, the areas inside the margins will always be safe from getting cut off. 

So, when it comes to image elements, it’s okay for them to be outside the margins or even partially outside the canvas itself. When it comes to your text or other essential elements in your design, ensure they are within the bounds of the margins. 

It’s also worth mentioning that you can enable margins in both the free and paid versions of Canva. 

Also, don’t worry about the margins showing up on your printed design. The margins are part of the editor and won’t print out on your design. 

How To Apply Margins To A Canva Design

First, make sure your project is open in Canva. 

Then, click File in the top left corner of the screen. 

In the menu that pops down, hover over View Settings, then click Show Margins

On your canvas, you’ll see four slightly transparent lines that form a box in the middle of your design. These lines make up your margins. 

It’s also important to know that the margins will only remain enabled on the project you’re working on. You will have to turn on these margins for each project you work on, as margins will not be turned on automatically the next time you open up a new project. 

How To Turn Off Margins 

If you’re done using the margins, and they’re in the way, you can turn them off the same way you turned them on. 

Just click File, hover over View Settings, then select Show Margins. This will remove the margins from your project. 

What Are The Margins Sizes In Canva?

The margin sizes in Canva are a half inch on each side.

Canva’s margins are slightly bigger than the industry standard to ensure a nice-sized safe zone for printing. 

Can You Change The Margin Size?

Unfortunately, Canva does not let you adjust the size of your margins. 

Your printer may recommend a different size for your safety area. You can get around not being able to adjust the size of your margins by using guides. 

How To Enable Bleed In Canva

Bleed in the printing world refers to the extra area beyond the intended dimensions of a page. 

This extra area ensures that your design reaches the edge of a page when trimmed for binding. 

Without bleed, there may be a white gap where elements were meant to reach the edge of the paper if the page is printed slightly skewed. Printing with a bleed guarantees that your complete design will print out correctly. Not to mention, adding a bleed provides a polished, professional look for your design.

To enable bleed in your design, click File, hover over View Settings, then select Show Print Bleed

On your canvas, you will now see a slightly transparent rectangular outline around the edges of your design. 

Everything inside this outline should be visible after printing and cutting. Anything outside this outline should be cut off during the printing process. 

How To Add Crop Marks To Your PDF File From Canva

If you need a version of your project that shows crop marks, you can do this during the exporting process. Crop marks show the printers where to trim the page to cut it to the intended size.

After completing your project, click the Share button, then select Download

In the next menu, choose PDF Print under File Type . PDF Print will give you the best result when printing your design. 

Check the Crop Marks And Bleed box to enable the crop marks for when you print the design. 

Click Download when you’re ready. 

Your design is now downloaded to your hard drive

If your design has a dark background, it may be difficult to see the crop marks. You should see the crop marks perfectly fine if your design has a light background. For this example, I’ve used the lighter invitation to show the crop marks on the corners.

How To Use Guides In Canva

When the built-in margins are insufficient for your printer, you can use guides to make up for it. 

First, make sure your project is open in Canva. 

Next, click File, hover over View Settings, then select Show Rulers And Guides. Or press Shift + R

In the editor window, you will now see a ruler at the top and left of the window. These rulers are where you’re going to be pulling your guides from. 

These rulers are set to the unit of measurement your document or template is set to. So keep that in mind when placing your guides. When creating a new document, you can choose the unit of measurement, which will also appear as the ruler unit. My examples are set to inches since the templates are intended for print.

To pull a guide from either of the rulers, hover your mouse over one of the rulers until your cursor transforms into a double arrow. 

Once your cursor transforms, you can pull out a guide from the ruler. To do so, click and hold on the ruler, then drag down or drag your mouse to the right to add a purple line to your canvas. 

You can add as many guides as you need for your design. Just keep all your text and important elements inside the guides. 

If you need to delete one of your guides, click and hold the guide, then drag it off of the canvas. 

Also, if you add more pages to your design, the rulers will remain in place, and so will the guides. So if your second page needs a different composition, you’ll need to adjust the guides to where you need them. 

How To Add Guides, Clear Guides, and Lock Guides 

Once you add one or more guides to your project, new options will be presented in View Settings

To find these options, click on File, hover over View Settings then browse through the sub-menu. You’ll find three different options: 

  1. Add Guides – This option lets you add set rows and columns to your canvas, similar to adding guidelines. After selecting Add Guides, your options will pop up in the top left corner. 

You can choose from three preset guides or click on Custom to add your own parameters. 

Once you’ve added your parameters, click Add Guides to add your columns or grids to your canvas.  

  1. Clear Guides – Choose this option to remove all the guides you’ve placed on your design. If you choose this option by mistake, you can bring back all your guides by pressing Control + Z (Win) or Command + Z (Mac) to undo the action. 
  2. Lock Guides – Use this option to lock all the guides on your canvas so you can no longer move them. This is useful when you have many elements on your canvas and don’t want to move one of the guides accidentally. Click the option again to unlock the guides. 

How To Turn Off The Guides 

Once you’re done using the guides, you can turn them off so they’re not in the way.

To do this, click File, hover over View Settings, then click Show Rulers And Guides. This will remove both the rulers and the guides from your canvas. 

Using margins and guides in Canva is helpful to ensure you don’t have parts of your design cut out during the printing process. They can also be useful for aligning certain elements within a project to keep things consistent across multiple designs too!

Happy Editing!