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Showing posts with label Tech Support. Show all posts

Can I Edit This File Template in Canva?


In my Etsy shop I get this question a lot for my templates. Given the popularity of Canva it's a reasonable question and many 'would be' customers possibly even expect that of course these will work in Canva.

Unfortunately, that's not at all the case, so if you're a Canva user it's important to understand exactly how their service works, what's possible and what isn't.

Canva operates a closed system. That means files made in Canva can only be edited in Canva and files not made in Canva cannot be edited there (or least very minimally so).

So basically, if you want to work in Canva with templates you have to buy Canva specific templates. 

And because Canva templates can only be edited in Canva, sellers will always have them very clearly labelled as Canva templates.

Designers (like me currently) who do not label their templates as Canva specific therefore, are not designing templates made for use in the Canva program. It's just that simple.

If you have followed that so far, the next question might be, is there nothing I can import into Canva for my design projects? And the answer is: yes, there is!

But elements imported in Canva are currently very restricted in how you can use or edit them so you need to tailor your expectations accordingly. For the most part you should expect that anything you upload into Canva is going to have to be used almost exactly 'as is'.

And here is where there is one possibility with my own templates that could allow you to use them in that somewhat restricted way, but still used in Canva anyway. 

And that's with my stencil style file format. These are saved as PNG files meant to be used in any program and you just stack your design elements underneath it. Like in the example below:

I offer this file format where applicable with all of my templates.

It may not be the most elegant way to design but it does the job and works just fine for simpler projects. 

Templates with a lot more parts to it may not be as easy to work with here, but it also depends on your experience, skill and patience with the program.

happy designing!

Why is My PDF File Printing Blank


Guaranteed this issue crops up for you right when you're in a hurry or whilst in the middle of a project. Frustrating right?!

This issue of PDFs not printing is common enough that Adobe has been dealing with it for years and there have been many troubleshooter posts written about it. In short, it's a known problem.

I'm going to walk you through the most common steps to resolve this starting with the quick fix so that you can get back to what you were doing as fast as possible.



This is a neat little trick that you can use whenever a PDF isn't printing nicely or at all. You just use your printer options to switch from document printing to picture printing. This is super easy to do.

1. Choose print as normal

2. In the printer dialog box look for a button labeled 'Advanced'

3. In the advanced section tick the option to 'print as image'

Every printer will have a slightly different looking print dialog box so the options may show up in different places depending on the printer brand you have but you should be able to find this somewhere in your print options.

Here is my print dialog box as an example from HP:


To resolve to issue more thoroughly the first step would be to ensure that you are using the most up to date version of acrobat reader. Updates to any software often clear up performance issues and compatibility.

Open acrobat reader and from the top menu choose Help. Then click Check for Updates. 


This is a very overlooked update that doesn't always happen automatically. If you are using a desktop or laptop computer you may need to periodically update printer drivers.

To check if your printer drivers are current you'll need to take note of your printer model and go to the manufacturers website. Once there do a search for 'printer drivers' and look for your model. Download and install the printer driver per the manufacturers instructions.

You'll need to restart your computer once you've done this.

If you are printing from a phone or tablet and have a newer printer model many printer manufacturers now have smart apps to assist you with your printer access.


Sometimes issues simply need to be cleared by re-starting your computer. If it's been on for a while or you've doing a lot of work before the issue cropped up, try a restart to clear the memory and reset things.


Occasionally files do get corrupted during download. Try downloading the file again to see if this clears things up.


Not sure how this works from a technical aspect but saving a copy of a file sometimes works to clear issues. 

Open the PDF in Acrobat Reader and from the File menu click Save As, then give the file a new name (using just letters or numbers).

How to Take a Screenshot on PC Desktop


Sometimes you'll need to grab a screenshot from your computer screen, whether it's because of a tech issue you need help with or something you just need to share and if you've done that before it can feel a little frustrating to figure it out in the moment.

Luckily your PC comes with built in tools to assist and make this a super easy and super quick task.

There are two options depending on how much of your screen you want to share:

1. The entire screen

To create and save the screenshot, just tap the Windows key + Print Screen key at the same time.  The screenshot will be saved instantly to your Pictures > Screenshots folder.

And it's just as easy as that. Should you really not want to share the entire picture you just snapped, you can quickly crop out the parts you want to hide, or you can use the second method below.

Here's a keyboard pic showing where the Windows and Print Screen keys are:

2. A specific portion of your screen

To create and save just a portion of your computer screen you'll click on just the Print Screen button (as shown above). A plus sign with dotted lines will appear which you can move around with your mouse to position how you need. Just click and drag to create a box around the part of your screen you want to capture.

Once you release the mouse to create the box a dialog box will pop up with various ways to save the screen grab. You ca use whichever most suits your needs, but the first option 'Save as (displaying dialog)' is most likely the best choice. This option will bring up a save dialog box similar to that of other programs where you just name your file, choose a location to save to and click 'ok'.

And that's it, you now have an image of your screen that you can share however you want, right from your desktop in just a couple clicks.


Happy computing




Choosing the Right Graphic Design Software


Today, there are so many different graphic design software programs to choose from, with options to suit every budget or experience level. So choosing one, when you have no experience with them can be an overwhelming task.

You have to spend the time learning how the thing actually works. Make the wrong choice and you've wasted precious time and have to start all over again from the beginning.

The following list, while not comprehensive, gives you at least some guidance into the most popular options currently on the market.

I would love to be able to categorize these accurately based on difficulty or ease of use but 'easy' is relative. If you are a brand new user with no experience at all, likely you're going to find even the easiest program a little bit challenging. It all depends on where you are starting from.


I recommend this one as a compatible option for Photoshop files. It looks and feels a lot like Photoshop when you are using it though it doesn't have ALL the features that Photoshop has (obviously) but it's great for creating basic design layouts with lots of editing tool options. If you have any experience with Photoshop or PS Elements you'll feel at home with it. There are thousands of online tutorials for Photoshop and simpler actions will easily transfer over to Photopea.

This is also a lot like Photoshop in how it looks and feels. Recently revamped there are now two options; PixlrX and PixlrE. PixlrX is super basic and only has very limited editing options. Great for projects where you are just adding a text overlay, cropping or making minor photo adjustments. PixlrE is the advanced option that mimics Photoshop and has a robust selection of design and drawing tools.

While it will open photoshop files, it doesn't seem to be able to handle larger sized files very well and doesn't keep layers organized in folders, so complex files end up very messy. Photopea works better here.

This design program is a closed system editor. What that means is, you can't create and save native files the same way as regular software programs. Files 'in progress' can only be saved inside Canva and you can only download finished projects in flattened form such as PDF, PNG or JPG. Designers offering Canva templates therefore will always label their products specifically as Canva templates. If a designer (like me) does not mention Canva in the product details... a Canva specific template is not included.

You'll only be able to use my PNG format files here, which is fine for simpler projects. Canva is very user friendly and reasonably quick to learn. Just note that the free version of Canva has very limited tool options.

It has a nice selection of tools for beginners and a friendly navigation. This is not one that I have personally tested, but it comes highly rated for what it is and is the most likely candidate for me to recommend as a beginners graphic design tool with an easy learning curve.

It is only compatible with image files such as jpg and png and has a more limited selection of tools than some of the more advanced software options but otherwise a perfect option for the occasional simple project.

This is definitely not one of my favorites, but it's been a few years since I last tried it and I'm adding it to the list because it is a popular free software with advanced editing capabilities. It is very similar to how Photoshop works and has all the tools you could need for either drawing or graphic design. I didn't find it particularly intuitive but luckily there are loads of helpful tutorials available as Gimp has been around for quite some time now.

While it will open Photoshop files it doesn't support all features so some files may not function properly.

This downloadable software is a vector graphics editor and a comparable substitute for Illustrator. It opens any vector based files with full functionality intact. It has a steep learning curve but plenty of tutorials can be found online to get you started. While you can use it for any type of graphic design projects I don't recommend it for beginners unless you're prepared to spend some time upfront learning how to use it.

I list this here only because so many people insist on using it, largely because they have it and are comfortable using it. You can do simple design projects, but keep in mind this is a text editor, not a graphics editor, so there are big limitations. My PNG window files work perfect here though, just insert as image into any blank document.

Personally I would choose this over Word any day. Page setup is a little trickier (set page size first) but the tools are far more design friendly so you get just a bit more flexibility. I recommend using the same PNG window files here as well.

You have to buy this separate, it's not included in the MS 360 office pkg, but if you design regularly and want a simple + easy to use program, this one is aces. Admittedly, I haven't used it myself for a long time, but when I did I loved it because it was intuitive and had the same sort of feel as all the other MS programs. You can go from no experience to design whiz very quickly.

From the software brand Corel. For PC users only, one time purchase and very affordable. Corel used to be very popular but has been overshadowed recently by the plethora of newcomers on the market. This is still a very good quality software program however with loads of features.

This is an online editor that requires a monthly subscription. I haven't had a chance to try this yet but it is popular among my clipart customer base. For the money, there are more comprehensive choices, but I suspect the attraction will be ease of use and the ability to use anywhere anytime.

Adored by the scrapbooking community this program has fallen in popularity only because so many other options abound but it has nice affordable one time only price tag and is moderately easy to use. You'll find many tutorials and it's compatible with it's big sister Photoshop.

Offered via a monthly subscription (get the cheaper photographers pkg) this program takes some time to learn but online tutorials abound as it has been around a very long time. I use this almost exclusively in my own work. Recommended for those who require a robust program that does it all and will get regular use from it.

One time payment and very affordable. I only recommend going this route if you plan to be a serious designer and need top rated software. There is a steep learning curve for any vector based programs.


As you can see, this list is by no means comprehensive. I've included only programs that are suitable specifically for graphic design, rather than those specifically and only for drawing or photo editing. There are probably hundreds more programs and apps that offer very niche actions that may be a perfect fit for your own needs. Apps for mobile are constantly being created. Online tools come and go. And existing programs are updated or expanded.

If you are still unsure which route is best for you, ask your peers online in any forum groups you're part of for their recommendations or experience. Everyone will have a different perspective or opinion and you may glean something more through those conversations.

Happy designing

How to Solve Simple Printing Errors


If you've ever run into problems printing something only to be disappointed with how it turned out, I'm here to tell you that you are not alone! 

Even seasoned pros will run into frustrations with print quality or printing mess-ups. The real trick is in knowing what to do when these things happen. How do you solve your printing problem without a flood of tears or chucking your printer out the window? (or blaming the creator!)

Here are the solutions you can use to solve those printing woes...


1.  Choose the right printer for the job.

Here's the truth, not all printers can handle any job. So if your printer isn't up to it, nothing else you do will get your print job to look perfect. Understanding and accepting this will save you a big headache.

Rule of thumb, inkjet printers are great for text documents and photos while laser jet printers work better for graphics and large color blocks. Because inkjet printers are generally cheaper, this is what most people tend to have at home, and they work just fine for most home applications. But you might struggle when printing certain types of graphics.

Solution: Who do you know who has a laser printer? Is there a printing service near you that you could use instead? If you need to print semi regularly it could be worth researching alternative options before investing in a brand new printer. Either a local option or an online option, whichever works best for you.

2. Know your printer.

This is something that the average printer owner never really does. Explore the printer dialogue box and get to know every possible setting option that you have available to you.

Does that sound daunting? This doesn't need to take long but it will save you sooooo much agro later if you understand that there ARE different setting options for your printer. Just get to know what your printer is capable of with a quick review, make a few cheat sheet notes if you need to, and when you go to print something double check that your print settings are correct for the job.

I'll be honest, off the top of my head I don't know all of my own printer setting options. But I do know that it has a variety of options available and I'll check through these when I go to print anything other than a plain document just to be sure I'm making the most of what my printer can do.

These are things like paper size and weight. Paper tray selection (specialty paper often feeds better from the manual tray). And ink or layout settings, particularly the actual print size options.

3.  Printing the correct size.

One of the most common print issues that I come across all the time are my templates not coming out at the right size. This is actually quite simple to correct once you know what to look for.

Most printers will try to optimize your printed page for you through automatic settings. If your print is too close to the paper edge it will automatically scale the print smaller to fit within the default margins. If it's really small on the page it might make it bigger to fully fit the page.

But when you need your printable to print at the exact size as it's intended to be used these default 'helpful' settings are really not that helpful at all!

Each printer will have this in the print dialogue box a little differently but you'll want to look for a setting that says "print actual size" or "print at 100%".  You want to select this option and make sure that any box that says "scale to fit" is unchecked. Depending on what you are printing, if your printer has this feature you may also need to use the 'print borderless' setting.

4.  Printing colors.

This is such a common complaint. And not restricted to the home printer or novice crafter!

The cold hard truth is colors look different from one device to another and when applied on different surfaces. Computers that are backlit and/or with retina or 4K display colors will appear more vibrant than they will do on paper.The screen is actually distorting the image to make it seem more than it really is - and print simply doesn't compare to these over saturated screen enhancements.

And even amongst print surfaces colors will look different on one surface type from another. Matte paper for example absorbs more ink that glossy paper, so the colors are going to brighter or more saturated on the glossier surface.

Each printer will also print a little differently. A little too much yellow and your blue is heading towards green, a little too much magenta and that same blue is sitting on the purple side of the fence. These tiny little differences in how each printer mixes the inks can create unexpected variances.

So what's the solution? Test printing.

If you have very specific requirements for color the best option is to test print everything first. Know that you'll need to experiment, make adjustments or try a different printer and you won't be nearly as frustrated. It's just a matter of accepting that color isn't consistent across all mediums and that this is a physical or technological limitation and not the fault of the file itself.

Happy creating

Understanding File Format Types for Graphic Design


Before you purchase digital files online it is handy to know and understand which file types are being offered with your purchase.

It is wiser still to understand which file type you need/want in advance of making your purchase based how you intend to use that file. This way you know you are purchasing the right file for your needs without any surprises.

If you've gone ahead and purchased though and are now wondering "what do I do next?" - the following list of file types will help explain what you have in front of you, which one to choose in which instance and how to best make use of them based on their purpose and compatibility.

Common File Formats in Graphic Design:

This is the default file format for photographs and is a static file type (meaning it doesn't do anything except look pretty). These files can be opened in almost any software program as they are a universally accepted file format, perfect for printing.

Used specifically for things like clip art, this file type offers transparency enabling images to be easily layered into design work.  Can also be opened in almost any software program, perfect for design work across a multitude of project types.

A file format that is used to present and share documents containing text or graphics for the purpose of viewing/printing. PDF files can be either fixed or editable depending on how they are designed and set up - sellers will define a PDF as editable if that is the case, otherwise do not assume it is.

These vector files are scalable, meaning you can resize smaller or larger without any loss of quality.  This is a popular craft file compatible with all cutting machine brands (like Cricut or Silhouette). It can only be opened in programs that support a vector file format so they will not open in just any program.

This is a type of AutoCAD file and typically opens as a simple outline of a graphic or text design. It is compatible with most cutting machine programs and particularly used with laser cutting. It is best used in AutoCAD software.

Specifically for Adobe Illustrator software, these files can only be opened in software programs compatible with this file extension (Adobe, Affinity). These files will be fully editable design files and are useful to those with experience with the Illustrator program.

Specifically for Adobe Photoshop software, these files can only be opened in software programs compatible with this file extension (Photoshop, PS Elements, Photopea). Depending on the creator's intent, these files may or may not be fully editable but are usually offered with some design intent since these programs have a wide range of design tools.

This is a more universal version of the Adobe Illustrator file format. When opened by any vector based drawing program you will be able to fully edit the design (Affinity, Inkscape). When opened in any other type of program it will become a flattened raster file, much like a PNG or JPG file.

Specifically for CorelDraw software, these files can only be opened in programs compatible with this file extension (Corel, Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape). Not to be confused with video or audio files with the same .cdr extension.


This is not a comprehensive list of file types, but rather, a list of the most common file types you'll encounter when purchasing digital graphic design based files. Should you come across a file type that you do not recognize, a quick google search will be able to tell you what it is and how/where it is useful.


Happy Computing

How to Unzip Folders on Any Device


All of my template files provided as digital downloads will arrive to you in a ZIP format folder and so I’m often asked by first-timers or infrequent users on how to best go about opening such files.

Most digital products are offered this way when multiple files need to be bundled together in a single folder. It is, unfortunately, the default delivery method for files across the internet. So it's something you are bound to come across time and time again.

If it's your first time coming across a .zip folder and you’re not particularly techie minded it can be a little frustrating to deal with depending on which computer operating system you have and how downloads are automatically handled on your computer.  And of course, mobile devices offer a whole separate challenge!

All of the solutions provided here use the default software already included within your operating system, no need for special programs or purchased software, with the exception of mobile devices.

Here are the basic instructions for each operating system:

Windows 7 thru 11
- Right-click on the Zip file icon and choose “Extract All”
- When prompted, choose a location for the folder to be extracted into
- Keep the "Show extracted files when complete" box unchecked
- Now click on the "Extract" button to start the extraction
- Once complete, this new folder is now your “unzipped” copy of the Zip folder
- You may keep the original Zip folder or delete it since it is a duplicate


- in your downloads explorer window, you'll find an Extract menu button on the top navigation bar
- click this and follow the prompts, in much the same way as above

Windows XP and Vista
- Double click on the zip folder
- In the window that opens, click on the “Extract all Files” link
- The “Extraction Wizard” will open, click “Next”
- Choose a destination for your unzipped folder
- Click “Finish” to complete the process
- This new folder is now your “unzipped” copy of the Zip file
- You may keep the original Zip file or delete it

- double click on the zip file
- job done


Mobile Devices

You will need to install an appropriate app in order to download and open .zip files.

Winzip is a free app and comes highly recommended by experts

- Once the app is installed you will have an option to “Open in Winzip”
- This will reveal the contents of the zipped folder
- Click “Open In” to choose where you wish to extract the zip folder contents to
- You should now be able to access the files in their new location
- Note that you won’t be able to open a file type if you do not have a corresponding app to, but all image files will open in the camera roll or photos app

ZArchiver is a free app and comes highly recommended by experts

- Open ZArchiver and use the file manager to find the zip folder
- Click on the file when you find it
- Use the View option to see the files in the zip folder
- If needed you can extract a single file or extract all
- once extracted the files will be in your main folder for full access

Happy Computing

Why do Svg Files Show as HTML?


A fun little quirk about SVG files is that your computer might be listing them as html documents in your folders. And then next to the file name will be a web browser icon. If you double click that file, it will likely open as the image it is... in a web browser window. 

What the heck is that right?

Many an unsuspecting user has therefore assumed that the SVG file they just downloaded simply isn't in the folder where it should be and the HTML item is just something else.

This happens because SVG files are in fact, html code. Unlike other file types, SVG is made up purely from strings of code. So your computer is actually reading it correctly.
Windows comes with all sorts of default settings, including which program should open what type of file. So if it reads a file as being made up of web code... then it likely thinks the 'appropriate' program is a web browser, and that's what will be selected by default to open it. Hence the switcheroo, Windows thinks it's being very clever.

Here's an important thing to remember - just because Windows renamed the file, doesn't mean the file has been changed or will work any differently. You can still go ahead and use that file exactly as you intended, even if it does say html. But if it bothers you, there are a couple things you can do to fix this
Here's an example of the problem to show you exactly what I'm referring to:

As you can see, this folder contains an html file... or does it?

By simply making one tiny change to how the folder is viewed, suddenly that information becomes just a little clearer. Click the 'View' tab in your folder screen, as below, and then tick the 'File Extension' box. By adding the file extensions to the file names in the folder list you get a more accurate view of the actual file types you are looking at.

You don't necessarily need to do anything further. As I already mentioned, the integrity of the file itself is not affected at all and will work exactly as expected in whatever program you are using it in.

If however, you don't like that, and maybe you'd like to be able to double click the SVG file and have it open in a specific software program, you just need to change your computer's default settings. Something that is really not too difficult at all to do.

Right click on the SVG file name in your folder. A menu will appear with an option to 'Open With'. Choosing this creates another menu pop up which will have a list of a few possible programs you can select as the new default. 

If the program you want isn't on that short list select 'Choose Another App'. You'll be presented with a longer list of options to choose from. Ensure that the box 'always use this app to open .svg files' is ticked and select the program you want as your default, for example, Inkscape or Illustrator.
At this time, you can't choose your cutting machine software as a default program, because files need to be uploaded into that system in a different way.

But, your SVG files should now show up correctly on your PC, and will open nicely when clicked!
Happy computing!
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