How to create a PDF with Canva?

FlippingBook is a perfect way to convert a ready-to-go PDF into a flipbook. In case you don’t have a PDF yet, don’t worry! There are many tools to create one, like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. But for something more visual, take a look at Canva.


What is Canva?

Canva is an online graphic design platform. You can use it to create pretty much anything, from social media memes to annual reports, and from greeting cards to product catalogs. Start from scratch or with one of the 1000s of templates. Then drag and drop your own text and graphics. With just a bit of effort and creativity, you can achieve professional-looking results quickly. Canva has a free plan to start with.


Getting started

To start using Canva, simply sign up at Canva's sign-up page and create an account.

When you have created your Canva account, click on one of the 4 templates we prepared for you. This will take you to Canva again and if you click Use template, you can get to work straight away. Canva creates a document from the template, which you now can edit.

Create a catalog

Create a magazine

Create a brochure Create a flipbook



Edit your document

What’s next? Well, the most obvious thing is to change some of our placeholder texts with your own. Maybe even change the font or its size or color. And Canva has lots of other design tools available:

  • Add photos from Canva’s extensive collection to your publication with the Photos option in the menu on the left-hand side.
  • Add your own images, using the Upload option.
  • Insert some shapes from the Elements section - simple lines to divide sections, decorative stickers, but even advanced charts (you can edit the data directly!)

Pay attention to what you add in Canva – some content that you add (images, elements) is not free. These elements are marked with a small crown. When you hover over them, a ‘Pro’ icon appears. You can still add such elements, but you’d have to pay a fee to download your document as a PDF.

We wouldn’t advise spending too much time creating a complete work of art at this stage. Just play around a bit, create a quick proof-of-concept, and then continue to the next step:



Upload to FlippingBook Online

When your design is ready to be published, you can turn it into a flipbook. Here's how to do that:

  1. In Canva, click the Share button.
  2. In the dropdown menu, choose More
  3. Start typing 'flippingbook' in the textbox. Click on the FlippingBook icon.
  4. Click on Use and then Connect to set up the connection between your FlippingBook and your Canva account. If you have already set this up earlier, proceed to step 6.
  5. You’ll see a pop-up where you can either log into your existing FlippingBook account or sign up for a free 14-day trial.
  6. Once you’ve logged in or signed up for FlippingBook, the pop-up window closes. If your design is more than 10 pages, change the Select Pages to 'All pages'. Canva by default only exports the first 10 pages. Then press Save.

    Optionally, you can select the pages you want to upload if you don't want to use all of them.
  7. Wait for the dialog window that confirms that your design has been saved and press View in FlippingBook.
  8. If your design is too large, you will see an error message, "We were unable to publish your design". This is due to an internal Canva limitation. If this happens, we advise you to download your design as PDF an import it manually in FlippingBook. 
  9. You will be taken to your FlippingBook account where you will see that your design is being converted into a flipbook. Depending on its size, this may take a while, but most flipbooks are converted quickly and you may not notice this stage at all.
  10. Wait until the FlippingBook logo has been replaced with the cover page of your publication. Then click on the small icon under the name of your flipbook. This unfolds a small pop-up. 

    In the pop-up you see the link to the FlippingBook version of your Canva design. Click on the link to open it in a new tab or click on Copy link.
  11. Your flipbook has been created. You can share the link right away but we advise you to fine-tune it first by adding your branding, adding a lead capture form, adding videos and pop-up images, and much more. Then share it with your readers and see how they interacted

Update your FlippingBook Online publication created via Canva

After uploading your initial PDF from Canva to FlippingBook Online, you may need to update it. You can do it in your Canva account. Here are the steps to follow:
  1. In Canva, click the Share button.
  2. Click on the FlippingBook icon.
  3. If your design is more than ten pages, then change the Select Pages to All pages. Canva, by default, only exports the first ten pages. Then press Update.
  4. Your flipbook will be updated to match your Canva design, and the link will remain the same.

Current Canva restrictions to be aware of:

  • Your PDF in Canva shouldn’t be more than 50 MB. Otherwise, once you try to update it, you will get the following error message:
  • Your PDF should have 100 or fewer pages to update at a time. If you have more, you will not be able to update your document as, at the moment, Canva doesn’t support it:
  • It’s not possible to update any flipbook if your FlippingBook Online plan is Lite. Once you try to do this, you will get the following error message:

If you have any problems, you can try download and uploading manually as described in the section below.


Uploading your design manually

Do you have any issues with publishing your design directly from Canva to FlippingBook? The fail-safe workaround is to download the PDF from Canva, and then manually create a flipbook from that PDF. You can also replace the PDF in an existing flipbook. Replacing PDF is possible with all plans except Lite. 

  1. In Canva, click on the Download button in the top right corner.
  2. Click in the File type field and select PDF Standard 
  3. Make sure All Pages are selected. Click on the Download button and wait while Canva generates your PDF.
  4. Depending on your computer settings, your PDF will now be saved in the ‘Downloads’ folder or opened immediately in your default PDF viewer.
  5. Go to your FlippingBook Online account.
  6. If you want to create a new flipbook, use the Upload PDF button in the top left corner. If you want to update the PDF in an existing flipbook, click on the More button behind the flipbook you want to update and choose Replace PDF.
  7. Press Select new PDF and select the PDF file you downloaded in step 4.

We will now (re)convert your PDF. 


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