Canva Presentation Animation Explained

Canva adds notices that if the account is upgraded to a “Pro” account, animation features are added. But the animation is not what you expect. Yes, the content on each slide has entrance effects applied. No, you cannot control the animation effects in any granularity. 

When logged in to your Canva account and have a presentation open, in the top right of the editable deck, there is a drop down button with ANIMATION as an option.

There are seven animation options; Fade, Pan, Block, Rise, Breathe, Slide, Instant. The critical thing to understand is the animation style chosen applies to EVERY object on EVERY slide. There is no granular control over what objects animate (everything does) and no selecting different animation styles, or no animation, for specific slides. There is also no customization of the animation duration/speed or ability to add on-click animations to elements on a slide. 

The best way I can describe Canva’s presentation animation is it is a combination transition effect that applies an auto entrance to all elements on a slide.

The other critical item to understand about Canva’s presentation animation is an animated presentation is only available when exported as a .mp4 (or .gif). If an edit is made to the presentation, it needs to be exported again to add the animation.

In exporting our sample presentation to view the various animation styling we found a bug that altered the content of our bar chart (if this was PowerPoint I would submit a bug report to the Dev Team). The axis in the presentation itself looks correct but when exported as an mp4 the X axis label text becomes stacked (leaving the data to be interpreted as wrong).

Here is the demo presentation used for testing animation:

FADE Animation

BLOCK Animation

RISE Animation

Troy @ TLC




Canva Presentations by the TLC Creative Design Team

Today I am posting Canva presentations developed by several of the TLC Creative design team, along with their likes and dislikes of working with Canva. The key takeaway is Canva is a capable presentation creation platform and presentation design is not so much about the application used, but how visual design is applied to the content. The below presentations are all unique in visual styling despite everyone working from the same content outline. Reading through the likes & dislikes, the focus is on design limitations Canva currently has (compared to PowerPoint, which has 20 years of refining the application), which require more design time to manually format content to create the desired effect.

Presentations developed by the TLC Creative design team, all entirely in Canva Presentation:





The Good and Bad the TLC Creative design team noted while working on this project:

The Good:

1. Nice selection of ready-made templates

2. Good library of assets, making it easy to drag and drop for your presentation with a lot of free options

3. Web-based, can access designs from any web browser

4. User friendly for first-time use with an intuitive interface

5. Translates to a website seamlessly

6. Can share your slides as a template

7. Great, preset text styling options

8. Exports nearly perfectly to PowerPoint (no animations, poor backend Master Slide & Layouts, but slide level is very good)

9. Animation tool animates all elements on slide with one click (easy to use, nice visual effect, good for non-designers. Beyond the simple 1-click setup animation customization is a negative – not an option)

10. Free version is good enough to use, enough features to not have to go to premium


The Bad:

1. If there is no internet you can’t access and no offline app version

2. No table formatting options

3. Cannot animate individual elements

4. Cannot copy and paste elements from slide to slide in same position

5. The line width can’t be manually set 

6. No color picker/eye dropper tool

7. Template does not control font of added text boxes. Every new text box uses the Canva default font

8. Cannot change multiple text box font sizes or font color in one action, have to do each text box separately

9. Cannot have more than 1 font size per text box

10. Limited object grouping

11. No quick ribbon for tools

12. Cannot customize chart styling or separate actions for axis’s (chart styling and options are very limited!)

13. Cannot add text inside shape, must stack separate text box on top of a shape (ugh!)

14. Adding a new page, or changing a layout (which has problems too), does not open to that template, leaving the user to hunt through the template options to find the template (tip: remember the categorie and name of the template selected!)

15. Cannot customize animation per slide, or animation on a slide

16. Master layout place holders are skewed

17. Minimal set of formatting tools

18. Presentation features seem geared more to image/visual heavy presentations rather than data/copy oriented ones

19. Even with premium not all assets are included

20. No image/asset search filter to show just the images included with the plan (do not want to search through 1,000’s of pay images)


Troy @ TLC

Portfolio Software/Add-Ins

Canva Presentation by Troy

As part of a design studio wide project, everyone delved into Canva to develop their own version of a presentation, everyone working from the same 10 slide presentation outline. Canva had good features for presentation design which were intuitive to use, fast processing (Canva is a web-based app, and I was working on a 300mbps fiber optic connection, so a fast response time was expected), and capable software package.

Here is my presentation, developed entirely with Canva. Download the PDF version Here

Comparing the presentation design workflow between Canva and PowerPoint (desktop version), I would prefer PowerPoint. Canva has a simple feature set and for a business presentation like this one, it was a source of frustration and lots of extended formatting. A few examples are: 

  • Canva does not have table formatting. So slides 3 and 9 required a lot of additional formatting time vs. developing same slide in PowerPoint. Slide 3 required additional time to think through a layout for the content that was not a quick table – in this instance the result is visually better than a standard PowerPoint table. Slide 9 was just painful to manually add the 4 column backgrounds, the 4 top dividers and 7 separate text boxes.
  • Canva has single text formatting style per text placeholder. This requires a lot of additional formatting time vs. ability to vary text styling. As example, slide 4 needed 4 text placeholders vs. 2 I would have used in PowerPoint.
  • Canva has limited bar chart styling and formatting options. Slide 5’s bar chart worked well for this presentation, but I had to make some concessions on the overall design to stay within the Canva options. There are only 4 bar chart styling options and complex data will quickly go beyond the Canva capabilities.

On the praise side, the web-based Presenter View capability is really fantastic coding. The variety and depth of “templates” is very impressive (although they do not meet my definition of what a full template is). The variety of font options, color scheme options, and sharing options all are impressive. 

I am certain the future will have requests for developing presentations in Canva and from this internal project, our design team is ready to take on those requests and develop professional slide decks.

Troy @ TLC


Canva 101

Canva Overview:

  • Launched 2013 (Beta) and full release 2015
  • Based in Sydney, Australia
  • Free and paid/”Pro” subscription options (Pro account ~$15/month)
  • Pre-formatted templates for social media images (eg. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). Pre-formatted templates for eBook and kindle book covers, business cards, brochures, flyers, and presentations. All templates take advantage of built in design tools for layout and design including font, colors and a built in extensive stock photo/asset library.
    • Notable recent additions to the stock photography offerings is the acquisition of both Pixabay and Pexels.

(example of image and graphic asset searches)

For all design types, Canva has a good set of image tools for basic photo editing; tint, saturation, brightness, contrast, crop, resize, flip, etc. 

A key advantage of Canva being a web based app is it can be used on Windows and Mac, in any of the major web browsers, and a robust mobile app for work on Android and iOS devices.

I am going to focus on Canva’s Presentation capabilities over the next series of blog posts, so check back!

Troy @ TLC


The Presentation Podcast, Episode 80 – Should You Use Canva for Your Presentations?

A new episode of The Presentation Podcast with Troy, Nolan, and Sandy is available today! Episode, 80  – Should You Use Canva for Your Presentations? Listen in on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify and Soundcloud – just search for “The Presentation Podcast” – or go direct to the episode page here:


Let’s Talk Canva

Yes, I could spend the next several weeks showing more of the really cool Morph demo files everyone on the TLC Creative design team has created. But tomorrow is the release of the next Presentation Podcast episode, and advance sneak peak, we are talking about Canva presentations. 

So, for the rest of the month I am switching topics and focused on Canva – specifically creating presentations in Canva. Get the link tomorrow to hear Troy, Sandy and Nolan have a presentation design studio conversation about creating presentations in Canva!

Troy @ TLC


ThinkStock Closing

This week I received this email in my in box. TLC Creative is not currently leveraging a Thinkstock annual subscription, but we have in the past. Thinkstock, a Getty Images, offering has been a major offering of stock photography in the design industry for a number of years. This could be another sign of a major shift in the stock image/footage/audio industry when major names are shuttering some established brands while many smaller offerings are being merged into larger ones.

Troy @ TLC


Forcing Morph To Move The Right Shape

This is Part 2 of this tutorial (see Part 1 here). This is the same 4 slide deck with the exact same Morph transitions applied:

The critical difference is I went in and named each of the 6 shapes in the Selection Pane. This is the new Morph Object Tagging feature – it allows us to force associations of objects across slides, which forces Morph to transform exactly the objects we choose.

The behind the scenes coding (as I understand it) is a really clever hack by the Microsoft team. Each object (photo, shape, vector graphic, text box) is assigned a unique ID number, something we as a user cannot control, and is separate from the Selection Pane naming. Each slide, even with the same objects, is reassigned ID numbers, so there is not a guarantee of association from slide to slide. The Morph Object Tagging steps in as the slide transition starts, reading the Selection Pane names for each object. Then reads the Selection Pane names of objects on the next slide. If the objects start with a double exclamation mark “!!” and have the same name, Morph overrides the PowerPoint ID number and associated those two objects – a fantastic hack for everyone to take advantage of! 

Slides 1-2; the logo and shapes go to the expected locations, with or without Morph Object Tags applied (see Part 1).

slides 2-3: All of the shapes rearranged themselves with Morph, again with or without Object Tags applied (which as a good surprise).

slides 3-4: without Object Tags, there was no motion and a legacy Fade Off/Fade On effect which really was not the desired motion. With Object Tags applied, the Morph transition works perfect!

Troy @ TLC


Morph Does Not Move the Right Shape!

We love the Morph transition. Animation is so fast and so easy to setup! But there is no control over what morph does. Usually this is not a problem and the motion effect works well enough. But sometimes it really is not working and it is frustrating! This is a 2 part tutorial. Part 1, this post, walks through morph not working, and there is no fix without the new Object Tagging feature. Part 2, the next post, updates the exact same slides with Morph Object Tagging and what was not possible works as expected!

Here is the sample slide deck, 4 slides with PowerPoint shapes (okay, slide 1 is our logo). No animation is used on the slides, just Morph.

Object names: open the Selection Pane and we see the PowerPoint auto assigned names. Note: Morph really does not care what these names are as each object has a code ID number. But the Selection Pane naming plays an important role in some clever coding by the Microsoft team – explained in the next post.

Slide 1 to 2, the motion animation is because on slide 1 all the shapes are ready for Morph to use by being positioned off the visible area.

slides 2-3 work just fine. The goal is to move the shapes into numerical order, and Morph does a perfect job of keeping track of the shapes and moving their were we want (note: I actually had expected this to be a problem for Morph).

slides 3-4 is a disaster. Each of the shapes was first changed to a triangle using Change Shape, and then repositioned and resized. Morph does not keep shapes associated when Change Shape is applied, so we get a very boring fade off/fade on effect.

Here is everything in motion:

Up next, the same slide deck and forcing Morph to do exactly what we want!

Troy @ TLC

Resource/Misc Tutorial

Photo-to-Photo Morph Effect, with Object Tagging

In the previous post it was all about the frustration of not being able to morph one image to another image. Today is all about Morph’s new feature addition, Object Tagging, gives us a way to do this!

Same 3 slides. Same images. Same position and sizing. Same Morph transition applied to each slide. The difference is the 3 images have been given Object Tag names in the selection pane with a double exclamation “!!”.

The results this time, are exactly what was envisioned. The wolf photo grows and transforms into the scenery image, and the photo outline changes from blue to orange.

Troy @ TLC