Woman designs files for print using Canva

How to print from Canva for professional printing – Canva print settings

Many of our customers ask us how to print from Canva and what Canva print settings they should be using to prepare their artwork for professional printing.

Canva is a free online graphic design tool that a lot of small businesses, or even in-house marketers, use when they perhaps do not have the budget for a professional graphic designer, or they don’t have the skillset for much more complex industry-standard graphic design software, such as Adobe Illustrator or InDesign.

While Canva is a great solution for creating digital assets such as social media posts, blog banners or infographics, it is primarily designed for digital projects, and it has some limitations when designing for professional printing.

In this blog article, we will explore some of the limitations when it comes to printing from Canva and provide tips for how to work around them. Or you can jump straight ahead to learn how to print from Canva and what Canva print settings to use.


Does Canva use RGB or CMYK and why does it matter?

Since Canva is primarily an online design tool, with a focus on designs for digital use, it automatically uses RGB. This stands for Red, Green, Blue, and is used for digital design, whereas CMYK, which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (black) is used for print design. With CMYK, colours such as neons might appear dull and vibrant colours might appear more muted.

Can you design and print in CMYK with Canva?

It depends on who you ask. Canva says you can “get CMYK colours using online colour pickers. Make sure to take note of their HEX codes.” Hex codes are not used in CMYK printing, they are used to represent colours in digital media, such as websites and digital graphics, so this information is misleading.

If you design something in RGB colour mode and then print it in CMYK, the colours will look different, so if you are not working with a professional print company which can check your files, it’s not a good option to design anything destined for print in Canva as you cannot design in CMYK.

If you have no other option and you’re wondering how to print from Canva with the best results, and you pay for Canva Pro, Canva for Teams, Canva for Education, or Canva for Nonprofits, you can save your design as a ‘print-ready PDF in CMYK’. You cannot do this with a free account. Panda Press has a Pro account, and you can share your artwork with us, so we can prepare your file and check it for you.

TIP: We would recommend working with a professional print company which can run a preflight check and ensure colours print as accurately as possible. Bear in mind that any colours you view on a screen will appear brighter than when printed, even if they are CMYK.

Crop marks and Canva print bleed settings

You’ve probably heard of crop marks, which mark where a design needs to be trimmed, but you might be wondering what on earth bleed is. Say you were printing a business card and you wanted your artwork to cover the whole card; you would need to include a bleed (usually between 3mm to 6mm depending on the printer), otherwise there might be some uneven white cardstock left on your card after trimming, and no one wants that for their beautiful business cards!

When looking at the options on how to print from Canva, we believe the Canva print bleed is automatically set to 3mm, but it doesn’t make it obvious when setting up your print file.

Note that the free version of Canva uses pixels as the unit of measure. If you want to switch it to another unit of measure you must upgrade to Canva Pro. Or you can just convert from pixels to mm by Googling.


Can you set your own Canva print bleed?

Unfortunately, the Canva print bleed amount is a set value and you can’t set your own. This matters because different printers might have different bleed requirements, for example 3mm or 6mm. What you’d have to do in that case is make a new file and incorporate the additional bleed into the dimensions of the file size. So, for example, an A4 document of 210x297mm would become 216x303mm to accommodate the extra 6mm bleed.


Preparing fonts and Canva fonts

If you’ve already read our artwork guide on how to prepare your design files for print with Panda Press, you’ll know that you can’t just use any font you find on the internet for commercial use.

We know you just came here to find out how to print from Canva, but it’s definitely worth giving that guide a read to check you are safe with font licensing.

This brings us on to our next topic: outlining or embedding fonts. Usually, when submitting artwork to a printer, they will ask that you either embed fonts, outline them or ‘convert text to curves’. The latter two mean that you are converting fonts to lines and artwork, rather than an editable text field.


Can you outline or embed fonts in Canva?

There is no way to outline or embed fonts in Canva. Canva mainly uses Google Fonts, which are published under an open font licence, meaning they are free for commercial use. However, some of the fonts Canva offers are not open-source, so you’ll need to check if the ones you have used are Google Fonts by searching the Google Font library.

If you are a Canva Pro user, you can also import custom fonts, such as any Google Fonts not automatically available in Canva, or any fonts you have purchased the licensing for.

How to print from Canva and what Canva print settings to use

If you are printing with Panda Press, we would ask you to share the Canva files with us online, as we have Canva Pro. If it’s a fairly simple file, we can add the bleed and do a visual check for any issues before we download a CMYK PDF with bleed. Then we would run a preflight check of the document, which will flag any issues, before sending a proof back to you to check.


If you are preparing the Canva file yourself, please follow the steps below.

Step 1: When you have your artwork ready, the first thing you’ll want to do is check the print guidelines of the printer (you can read our artwork print guidelines here link to new page on website) to see if they have any preferences for bleed, safe area, rich black, crop marks etc. You might be able to download a template with this information from their website for the corresponding product, such as business cards.

Step 2: Go to File > View settings > Show margins. This will automatically show a margin. Unfortunately, you can’t seem to set a custom margin, but if you go to View settings > Show rulers and guides, you should be able to drag your own margins in from the ruler in Canva. This can be used to set the ‘safe area’ and ensure no text is outside the margin.

Step 3: Go to View settings > Show print bleed. This will turn on the automatic 3mm Canva print bleed, but please check with your printer if they require anything different and read our solution to that above.

Step 4: Go to Share > Download > File type and switch it to PDF for print. Then check the box which says ‘crop marks and bleed’. Do not flatten the PDF (you can read why below). When you download with ‘PDF Print’ the Canva print resolution will be 300dpi (that’s dots per inch) and it means it will be a very high quality.

Step 5: Change the colour profile from RGB to CMYK. Please note that it is always best to ask a professional printer to check this conversion with their software, as they may be able to produce better results than Canva’s automatic conversion.

Step 6: Check and check again. When you export a file for print, you’ll notice crop marks have appeared on the PDF. Don’t worry, they won’t show up on the artwork, it’s just to let the printer know where to trim the document. Most printers will send you a digital proof of your design, so you can check that everything, including the colour, looks the way it should.

At Panda Press, unless you have asked us to go straight to print, we will perform a preflight file check which will identify things like any text outside the safe area or any images which show as too low resolution to use. We only come back to you if there is a problem. Please remember, as a printer we are not checking your documents for spelling or grammar errors before we proceed to print!

Step 7: Sign off the proof and arrange delivery with your chosen printer.

Exporting options – other FAQs answered 

Here at Panda Press, we are committed to helping businesses stand out with first class printing services. We love answering your questions, so we will continue to update this page. If you don’t feel we have answered a question about how to print from Canva, please let us know at sales@pandapress.net and we will be happy to add it in below!

Should you flatten your PDF in Canva?

There is a check box option to flatten the PDF, which means Canva will flatten your artwork into a single image. Please don’t select this, as the printer won’t be able to edit any text or other elements in your original design. In most cases, at Panda Press would prefer to be able to edit the PDF, then we would embed the fonts and save a checked version or the document to print from. 

What is the Canva print resolution set to automatically?

The default Canva DPI (Dots Per Inch) is set at 96, which is suitable for digital use but won’t be sufficient for high-quality printed materials. To switch to Canva high resolution for print, you can select PDF Print as the export option, which is set at 300dpi.

Still unsure of how to get your files ready for print from Canva?

No problem, we can assist with the print and ensure your files are ready to go. Simply get in touch with the team for a quote.

You can find more tips on how to get the best results by checking out our guide on how to prepare your design files for print with Panda Press.