How To Create Free Ebook Downloads & PDF Worksheets Using Canva (UPDATED 2020 Version)

This has been a long time coming… five years have past since I last posted about how to create a free ebook download and PDF worksheets using Canva. Five years! Canva is still going strong and it’s new and improved in so many aspects. Let’s just stick with ebooks and freebie downloads today. Lots more to talk about in upcoming posts.

I’ve created many free ebooks, worksheets, PDF documents, etc. using Canva and it’s been a great learning experience over the years. There are a couple of major things that have changed from the last post. First, the user interface is much different now and that’s mainly why I felt I needed to update the post because I have lots of old images that people may wonder which program I’m actually using. It sort of looks like Canva but they’ve improved so much, I can see where people may get confused. Canva also has some very intuitive options for publishing your opt-in freebie so I’m excited to show these new options.

If you’re not familiar with Canva, you’re in for a treat, especially if you’re a business owner or teacher. Canva is pretty much for anyone who would like to create fun graphics, marketing materials, or documents.

Why do you want to create an ebook or worksheet?

Ebooks and PDF worksheets are essential for online businesses. It’s one of the easiest ways to obtain email subscribers and eventually customers. When someone visits your website you’ll want to be ready to offer them something for free to learn more about your business. If you’re a fitness coach, you can offer healthy recipes for free in exchange for an email address. Your website can have the variety of traditional pop-ups that say “Wait! Don’t leave before getting these free healthy recipes”. Then the email field pops up or the person can click on the ‘no thanks’ button. The idea is to have an enticing freebie to get the visitor to sign up to your email newsletter.

Now that you know why you need to create the ebook or worksheet let’s get started with the Canva tips!

How to Create an Ebook using Canva

The first thing you need to do is have your ebook typed up in a Google doc or Word document. It’s better to have it all written out before you get started in Canva so it’ll be an easy copy and paste.

When you enter your Canva account, the easiest thing to do is to select a template. Click on the Templates section on the left hand side of your screen. You can use a Magazine Cover or Report type. Find the template you’d like to work with and select it.

The best reason to use the Magazine Cover or Report type is because the templates will provide multiple pages to work with not just the cover but the content pages. Set paragraph text boxes will be provided and it’s easy to paste your own information into the text box. When you click on a template you will get a preview if the template has multiple pages or just the cover.

Magazine cover template in Canva
See the multiple pages below the large preview.

What to Do After You Select a Template

Whichever layout or design you choose, the following elements are the same:

  • Cover Image
  • Table of Contents
  • Text and Linking

Cover Image

If the ebook will be a PDF download for your opt-in then create a cover image with your own photo or use high-res photos (which can be purchased or chosen from the Canva image library). Add the title of the ebook and you’re now ready to continue to the next page.

Table of Contents

It’s always nice to reference to a specific page for a particular topic. The only down side is that you can’t link the table of contents to certain pages in your document, only external websites. That would be the ULTIMATE feature and would save so many headaches for people. If you do feel that it is imperative to have a clickable table of contents then I suggest using Adobe Pro.

In my opinion, since it’s a short ebook or toolkit/guide then it really shouldn’t matter as your content is going to be so juicy your readers will want to get through it all.

There are templates with table of contents pages all set so all you’ll need to do is adjust the page numbers and chapter titles.

Table of Contents page in Canva
Click on the existing text to activate the text box.

Text and Linking

Okay so this where it gets GOOD. You’ll be providing valuable information in so many ways when you link from your document. If you’re creating a toolkit or guide, this is an awesome way to give your audience an enormous amount of information on a few pages. I suggest typing everything out in Word, Pages, or a Google doc and have the links handy that you’ll need.

Take a look here at how quickly you can link your document.

Linking text in Canva
You must click on the ellipsis next to Spacing to open the link tool.

Other Tips to Consider When Creating your Ebook

When using a template, it already has the typography set to make it look appealing. Try not to change the font and size too much. You’ll want to keep your fonts consistent throughout. Also, the photos in the ebook should be changed to appropriate photos related to your ebook. Remember you should keep your ebook as original as possible for your customer’s needs.


Here’s where Canva has changed incredibly! There are so many different ways to publish your ebook. Yes, of course you can publish it as a high quality PDF but there are other options to now consider. In order to publish your finished product, click on the Download button on the top right for other options click on Show More. There are so many integrations to other services!

They have a MailChimp integration, which is amazing for MailChimp users as I am, I can easily publish and save my ebook to MailChimp in my files. I can create my thank you email to subscribers with a link to my ebook and it’s all set. Super easy for automation!

Download and publish options

If you use another email subscription service, you can save your document to Google Drive, Dropbox, or even HubSpot. You can also use their printing options! So many different options… they now have a website option, which I have not tried but it may be a great opportunity to do a sneak peek of your ebook to show off a few pages, then add in the opt-in box to get the full ebook. Just an idea! If you do this, let me know I’d love to know how it works for you.

Are you ready to create an ebook or worksheet with Canva?

You’re probably wondering… hey what about worksheets?! Guess what – Canva has a ton of worksheet templates. Just type in worksheets in the template search option and you’ll have an amazing amount to choose from. Select your text boxes to update the text and change images/photos. Link to appropriate websites to add value to your customers and publish it as a PDF. That’s it!

Canva makes it that easy now. Let me know how it goes for you in the comments.

Take care!


Published by Lillian De Jesus

Connect with me on Twitter @tigerlilyva11!

3 thoughts on “How To Create Free Ebook Downloads & PDF Worksheets Using Canva (UPDATED 2020 Version)

  1. Hi Lillian,
    The e-books and worksheets you’ve shown looks really neat, It’s good you’ve also provided some design consideration tips. Thank you so much! this is really helpful


Your Thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s