Start Your First Canva Presentation Design

These days there is a lot of options for creating presentations. Tools like PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezi, Keynote… and now Canva is one of the newest options. Today we’ll talk about Canva presentation design with one of the most simple web-based design tools.

Canva has free slide templates, elements, images, icons, and others. I think it’s great if you are not a designer and need some direction for a start.

Let’s build your first presentation in Canva.

1. Choose ratio for your Canva presentation design. 4:3 or 16:9?

The first decision you need to make is about the proportion of your presentation.

16:9 is the most used ratio for presenting on a projector for a live event. In case you want to print your presentation, we suggest using 4:3. It’s closer to print sheets and books.

Presentation Design with Canva

In case you want to go mobile, Canva now offers mobile-first presentation templates as well!

Mobile-First Presentation Templates

After you click on Presentation, you’ll be taken to a blank workspace.

Like all Canva’s workspaces, you’ll see a collection of pre-made slide designs. You can use these templates for direction or not use them at all if you have your own ideas.

If you want to use Canva’s templates as a direction, choose the one that suits your type of presentation. They have categories like Creative presentations, Visual charts presentations, education, business, marketing, and more.

Once you click on a design, you’ll see a bunch of different pages displayed along your sidebar. Each of these pages has a slightly different layout, but they all use similar elements and color schemes.

2. Define your goal and select a Canva presentation design

Let’s say you want to make a presentation for your company, but you don’t have brand images, colors, font yet. You need a direction. Type the term “business presentation” in the search menu and choose the template closest to your brand.

You can customize the presentation with branded images, colors, content, and logos later.

Presentation Design with Canva

3. Adjust with your visual elements

Change the color – Just click the slide and the color menu will appear. Click a color in the little box and you will see the side menu on the left where you can choose custom colors.

Presentation Design with Canva

Change the images – There is a massive library with royalty-free images in Canva. Go to Photos and enter any keyword for the image you’re looking for. Just drag and drop the image into your slide until you see it placed. Very easy and fast.

Presentation Design with Canva

Customize images – When you place the image at the right place, a new menu will appear on the top of the slide. You can customize your image there. You can use filters, change the brightness, add contrast from the “adjust” button, crop the image the way you want, or flip it.

Presentation Design with Canva - Customize Images

Upload images – If you want to upload your own images that you’ve already downloaded in your computer go to “Uploads” menu and choose “Upload an image”.

Presentation Design with Canva - Upload Images

Background – There is an option to choose your background to be only pure color. You can also use patterns for backgrounds, or images that are not so busy. They are clean enough to easily place text on top. They are separated by colors for easy orientation.

Presentation Design with Canva - Background Colors

Fonts – Canva has a huge library with fonts. The only thing to note here is if you want to upload your corporate font you need to have Pro account.

When you are in the text box you have options like changing color, size, bold, italic, bullet points, the spacing between letters, and position of the text. It can be on top of the slide or middle, center and others.

Presentation Design with Canva - Fonts

Elements – Everything looks easier to understand with visuals. It’s clear, personalized, and memorable. This is where “Elements” section comes in. You can find subsections, different types of illustrations, icons, arrows, lines, shapes, charts, and even grids.

It’s important to know if you’re using the search menu on top, it will display visuals that are premium-only. So, you just have to search by hand. That’s why Canva separates them into different sections like animals, multimedia, business and finance, weather and so on.

The last thing that I want to mention about elements is to be very consistent!

When you like one style of icons, for example line icons, try to stick to this style. Don’t use mixed styles of icons because it’s not professional and it looks non-consistent.

If you can’t find the elements you are searching for or you have created your own, you can always upload them from your computer.

Prsentation Design with Canva - Elements

Charts – Let’s talk about charts in Canva. Thy can be found in the “Elements” section. You can choose from Bar/Row/Line/Pie/Donut chart. When you drag and drop it in the working area, double click on the chart and a new window will open where you can enter the numbers.

You don’t have a lot of control over the text in the chart. You can change the size and colors, but you can’t place them inside the chart or compose them different way.

Presentation Design with Canva - Charts

4. Animation and Transition in Canva Presentations

You can use animations only if you are a premium user. “Fade” is one of my favorites, but in Canva this transition is different from PowerPoint’s Fade. In my opinion, this one is not that smooth, so be careful with these transitions and use them only with purpose.

Presentation Design with Canva - Animations

5. Download your presentation

There are several ways that you can download your presentation. Before you save it, Canva can tell you that you have images that need a Premium account.

Find those images and replace them with  free ones. There’s also options, ranging from downloading the file, emailing it to your coworkers, or embedding the file on another platform.

Presentation Design with Canva - Download

Now you’re ready to start creating presentations with Canva! Explore the tool and the countless design resources it offers. When you’re ready, you should know you can also export your Canva presentation to PowerPoint.

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