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How to Resize a Document in Canva with the Free Version

The free version of Canva has a lot of capabilities. It’s an amazing, easy to use, free choice for designers. That said, one of the biggest features you lose by going with the free version as opposed to the Pro is being able to resize images. With the free version, you cannot change the size of your documents once you create them. There is a workaround though.

If you have the free version of Canva, there is a workaround for resizing documents that involves creating a new document of your desired size and copying and pasting the elements over from your old document to your new document.

As we’ll talk about, this method of resizing isn’t perfect and doesn’t rival what Canva Pro can do with resizing documents. But, with a little elbow grease, it is a good workaround for recreating documents in different sizes without having to pay for Canva Pro. Let’s dive into the process.

What Does Resizing Look Like in Canva Pro vs. the Free Version?

The free version of Canva comes with a menu that looks like this:

canva main header

As you’ll see, the “Resize” button comes with a little crown next to it, which means it’s a Pro feature. When you click on it, you’ll get an advertisement for a Pro account. 

When you click on “File,” you’ll see options to “Create a new design” and “Make a copy.” When you create a new design, you’ll have the option to pick a new size for your document, but you’ll be starting fresh and won’t be able to transfer any of your design elements over with you. On the other hand, if you make a copy of your current design, you won’t be able to change the sizing, but you will be able to replicate your design elements.

canva file settings

You’re making an exact copy. This is why we need a merge of the two, otherwise known as the “Resize” offer that Canva Pro offers; letting you change the size while transferring over your design elements.

When you’re a Canva Pro subscriber, your menu will look like this. When you click on “Resize,” you’ll see a few options. The first option is to enter in any custom dimensions that you wish in px, in, mm, or cm. These dimensions have to be at least 40px and no more than 8000px. If you need a lot of different sizes, you can enter them all at once to make multiple copies instantaneously. 

canva resize settings

If you don’t know what size you need, you can choose one of Canva’s pre-determined sizes. These options can be really helpful as they’re optimized for various platforms or printing sizes. No more worrying about printing out a pixelated banner because it was designed too small. 

Important note: even though Canva Pro lets you resize documents, it only resizes the documents, not the elements within them. This means that you’ll probably have to do a bit of readjusting in order to make the elements fit. This isn’t always true if your dimensions aren’t changing drastically. If you’re resizing from a Facebook post to a banner though, you may need to spend a minute or two adjusting the elements. 

Alright, so now that we know how Canva Pro looks from the resizing front, let’s talk about a workaround you can use to resize your documents within the free version of Canva.

How to Resize Documents with the Free Version of Canva

There is a workaround for resizing documents with the free version of Canva. All it takes is a little more effort and adjustment. That said, if you are constantly resizing documents, you may want to seriously consider Canva Pro.

The workaround we’re about to talk about is great if you’re resizing documents every once in a while, but the Canva Pro version is worth it if you will use the resizing feature a lot. Personally, it’s a big reason why I have the Pro version. 

Ok, so what is the secret workaround for resizing documents? Copying and pasting! Yes, a function that we use all the time when typing can also be used for designing in Canva. While it’s a really common keyboard function, not many people realize that it can be used with Canva.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Create a new document that’s your desired new size. This will be your “resized” document.
  2. Keep your original document open in another tab so that you can access both.
  3. In your original document, click and drag your cursor around everything in your design.
  4. Hit “command ⌘+C” to copy the elements.
  5. Navigate to your new document and click on the workspace to select it. Hit “command ⌘+V” to paste.
canva select elements
Drag your cursor across your desired elements. Copy them.
canva copy and paste elements
Paste your elements on your new doc.

You’ve just copied over all of your design elements and basically made a resized copy!

Keep in mind that only your elements will transfer over and not your background. If you had a color, you’ll need to retype in the color code or find it within the palette. If you had a photo as your background, you’ll need to refind it in the Canva photo search or in your uploads. You’ll then need to stretch it across your document and reposition it behind the other elements.Not a big deal though, depending on your design.

This is a small thing, but worthy to keep in mind: with the Pro version, you have the choice to resize a document without making a copy of it. This is useful if you’re not trying to have multiple copies of different sizes, but instead playing around with the sizing of your original design.

How to Merge Two Canva Designs the Easy Way
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Sometimes, you may not have your heart set on a certain size from the outset, but want to get a feel for what different sizes look like. With this hack for the free version, you have to make copies. This will clutter up your dashboard really quickly. It’s good to get in the habit of cleaning out your dashboard to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed with copies.

Regardless of whether you have the free version or Pro version of Canva, you’ll need to make some adjustments whenever you resize a document. If you have the free version, try this resizing trick for a while and see if you get the hang of it. You may find that it works well enough that you don’t need the Pro version.

But, if this free version isn’t cutting it for you and you’re getting frustrated every time you go to redesign a document, you may want to consider upgrading to the Pro version.

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