Shapes and Lines

Shapes and lines are fundamental elements of a design. Put together skillfully, they create effective visual communication. The Canva library is also home to thousands of basic and artsy shapes and lines that you can use in your design.

Add and remove shapes and lines

To add and remove a shape or a line:

  1. Go to the Elements tab.
  2. Open the Shapes/Lines folder.
  3. Click or drag the element to the editor page to add it to your design.
  4. To delete, simply click on the Trash bin icon or drag and drop the element out of the page.


To resize your shape or line, simply click on the element you would like to resize. You can then drag the resize anchors. Drag the anchors outward or inward to increase or decrease the size of the element, respectively.


Shapes and lines including all other elements in the Canva library can be rotated.

To rotate shapes and lines:

  1. Click to select the shape or line element.
  2. Click and drag the rotate anchor located at the bottom of every element.


To move your shape or line, simply hover your mouse over the element. Once you see the cross cursor, drag the grid to move it around the editor page.

Change color

Shapes and lines in the Canva library are recolorable according to your preference.

To change the color of an illustration/icon element:

  1. Click to select an element and open its edit menu.
  2. Select the color button (represented by a circle of color) to open the color palette.
  3. To select more colors, click on the + button to open the color wheel.
  4. If you know the hex code of the color you’d like to use, you can copy and paste its six-digit color code into the field marked color code #.


In Canva, you can adjust the transparency of any element including shapes and lines. When you apply transparency, you’ll be able to see through the element in the background or other elements that are behind it.

To adjust the transparency:

  1. Click on the shape or line you’d like to make transparent.
  2. Click the expand arrow on the edit menu to show advanced options.
  3. Look for the transparency button and click on it to open the transparency slider.
  4. Drag the slider to the left to make the element increasingly transparent.

Layering shapes and lines

To move shapes and lines forward and back from another in a design, simply click on the element you wish to move. Click on the Forward and Back options on the menu.

Using shapes to mask photos

If you are looking for ways to contain your photos using shapes or to mask them like in other design programs, Canva has an easy alternative and here’s how:

  1. Go to the Elements tab.
  2. Click on the Frames folder.
  3. Click to select the frame to add it to your design.
  4. Drag your photos in.
  5. Move your photo accordingly to fill the entire frame.

Tip: Instead of shapes, frames can be used to contain your photos in Canva. They can be used as an alternative to masking images like in other design programs.  

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