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How to Use Rulers in Canva — All You Need to Know

How to Use Rulers in Canva — All You Need to Know

Uggh! I hate working with lines and everything that needs to be evenly spaced from each other.

Though it may sound like a petty problem, making sure everything on my design’s evenly spaced is my ultimate waterloo.

Sure, I can try the eyeballing method and other methods on how to evenly space elements in Canva, but won’t it be easier if the graphic tool’s got some rulers?

If I haven’t been exploring Canva’s features, then I wouldn’t notice that the graphic tool’s already incorporated my silent wish. 

So, let’s learn in detail how exactly can you make rulers appear on Canva, and how you can use them during the designing process.


How to Show Rulers in Canva

To show rulers in Canva, head over to the File button on the menu bar. Select the Show Rulers option on the dropdown menu. You can also make the rulers appear on the editor page by pressing Shift and R together.


In-depth Guide on How to Show Rulers in Canva

If you’re a new Canva user, you’ll probably notice the pink smart guides that pop up whenever you try to align certain elements of your design.

By the way, these smart guides are one of the 10 reasons why Canva is so great. So, to learn what the other 9 reasons are, then go and read on.

But, aside from those nifty smart guides, Canva also incorporated rulers to assist its users further in creating professional-looking designs.

After all, properly and evenly spaced elements provide a professional feel to your design — regardless if you’re a newbie or a veteran.

But, for you to fully enjoy it, you have to make them appear on your editor page.

Step 1: Create a new design by clicking on the Create a Design button on the homepage. 

Creating New Design or Opening Existing Design File

You can also open an existing file by heading over the All Designs menu on the left side menu.

Step 2: Once you’re on the editor page, head to the menu bar and tap on File.

File Button

Step 3: On the dropdown menu that appears, click on the Show Rulers option. This will then make the rulers appear at the top and left side of your editor page.

Show Rulers Option

If you prefer using Canva keyboard shortcuts, then simply press Shift and R together to activate the rulers feature.

Shift + R Buttons

The dimensions or measurements that will appear on the ruler automatically match that of the measurements used for the document. 

Rulers in Canva

So, if your design uses the pixels dimension, the measurement on the ruler will also be in pixels. 

Step 4: Now, if you want to change the dimensions used on the rulers, head back to the menu bar and tap on the Resize button.

Resize Button

On the Resize dropdown menu, go to the Custom size section, but don’t tick the box. 

Instead, click on the dimensions box and tick the unit of measurement you prefer using. 

Selecting Unit of Measurement for Rulers

Tap it before clicking the Resize button at the end part of the same dropdown menu. This will automatically change the units shown on the ruler.

Clicking the Resize Button

And, there you have it! You’ve successfully shown the rulers on your project. But, how exactly can you use those rulers in your design?

Don’t worry, as that’s what we’re about to talk about below.


How to Use Rulers in Canva

One way you can use rulers in Canva is by using the gray highlights as a guide for the element’s placement. Another way is to activate the guides and position them accordingly on the canvas for a more visible placement reminder for your design elements.


The Basics on Using Rulers in Canva

Now that you’ve activated the rulers feature, it’s time for you to use it.

Since you’ll find these rulers on a graphic design tool, then it’s self-explanatory that you’ll use it to align various design elements on the canvas.

But, how exactly can you use these rulers in Canva?

Step 1: Add a design element to your canvas by tapping on the Photos and Elements tabs on the left side panel menu.

Adding Design Elements from Photos and Elements Tab

Add text boxes to your project by clicking on the Text tab or pressing the T button on your keyboard.

Adding Text to Design

Step 2: Drag the design elements you’ve chosen to the canvas. 

You’ll then notice the gray highlights that move along the ruler every time you drag the element on the canvas.

Gray Highlights on Ruler

If you’re bothered why the gray indicators appear, they basically show you the element’s placement on the page in height and width.

Step 3: Add more elements to your design while referring to the gray highlights on the ruler as your guide spacing them out evenly.

Using Gray Highlights as Spacing Guide

Step 4: Now, if you want an even more accurate way of spacing your elements, activate the guides feature. Just make sure rulers is turned on.

Now, move your mouse towards the top or left side ruler until the cursor turns into a two-way arrow icon.

Hovering Cursor over Ruler

Step 5: After which, click and drag down to create vertical or horizontal guides to where you want to position them on the design.

Step 6: Once the guide’s in the position where you want it on the canvas, let go of the mouse button to make it stay in place.

Vertical and Horizontal Guides

You’ll then see the changing numbers on the top part of the rulers. These serve to tell you the exact location of the guide on the page in real-time.

Repeat steps 5 to 6 until you’ve added enough guides on the page. You can make them disappear temporarily by toggling the Show Guides option on the File menu.

Turning Guides Off

And, one cool thing about these guides is that once you make them appear again, they stay in the exact same place where you left them.

Plus, you’ll see them in the same position for every page of the design.

Step 7: Now, if you want to rid of the guides permanently, right-click on any part of the canvas and select the Clear guides option on the dropdown menu.

Removing Guides Permanently

But, a word of caution though. Once you remove the guides from your design, you cannot undo them, even if you repeatedly click the Undo button on the menu bar.

So, are you now ready to turn Canva’s rulers into your newest designing best friends?


Frequently Asked Questions about How to Use Rulers in Canva


Can you use the rulers on Canva mobile?

While rulers on the Canva web version are nifty, you cannot enjoy them on the mobile version. We’ll have to wait for the Canva team to put such a tool on the Canva app. But, you can use the smart guides to properly space your elements on the app.


Are the rulers in Canva available to free users of the graphic tool?

While other Canva features are exclusive to Canva Pro users, rulers are available for the free Canva users as well. 


Can you customize the guides’ location individually per page?

As of the moment, you cannot individually set the guide’s location differently per page. Where you positioned the guides on the previous page will be the same on the next page.


Is it possible to turn the rulers feature off without going through the File menu?

Since there’s a keyboard shortcut for activating rulers in Canva, use the same keyboard shortcut to make them disappear. Press the Shift and R together to de-activate the Canva rulers. Press both keys simultaneously to show the rulers again.