Worksheet printables are one of my favorites to create because the possibilities are endless. There is not one standard structure to a worksheet and that is in your best interest to take advantage. One of the best graphic design tools to help make the creative process easier is Canva.
Canva is an easy program to use and the good news is that there is a free plan available. With Canva, you can make a good-looking worksheet quickly and it won’t take too much effort on your part. There are four relatively easy steps to making a worksheet printable: brainstorming, choosing the layout, add design elements, and saving as a pdf.
With this post, I will dive into further detail about each step but fair warning I am all about the initial prep work. Having a good idea of what pain point your worksheet will solve and a design that will support your ideas is essential. But the good news is that with a little effort in the prep work means the design process will be much easier.
What is a Worksheet Printable?
The name says it all. It is a document with the purpose to complete work. The work in a worksheet is typically a task, questions, or a way to record progress.
Many times when we think of a worksheet, we are taken back to the days of the classroom. Teachers are pros at worksheets because each one is made to help their students learn a specific concept.
As a blogger, you are teaching your audience about certain topics. You can make then light and fun or have a more serious focus. The most important element is that they guide the user from start to finish to understanding its purpose.
How Can Bloggers Use Worksheet Printables?
Like I said above, worksheets are the perfect tool for bloggers because they can support a blog post while also building an email list. If you use a worksheet in connection with a blog post they are considered a content upgrade.
What is a content upgrade? Neil Patel said it best. A content upgrade is an email opt-in that is offered as a content bonus to your readers. It’s similar yet different to a lead magnet.
The biggest difference between a content upgrade and a lead-magnet is that content upgrades tend to be more specific. They are designed for a specific post. I consider content upgrades to be a post freebie and a lead magnet to be more like a niche freebie.
Related Post: The Two Types of Freebies You Need on Your Blog
How to Make a Worksheet Printable in Canva
Step 1: Brainstorm
Before we even get to the design part in Canva, it is important to do some quick brainstorming and rough draft work first. The biggest benefit is the time you can save when making it in Canva.
If you don’t have at least a basic concept of your worksheet printable it will add more time to the creation process. No idea
To brainstorm an effective worksheet we need to first figure out these three details: Purpose, Flow, and Usability. Let’s break each detail down.
Before creating any type of printable, it’s best to figure out it’s purpose. Doesn’t need to be complicated but simply understanding why you are making it will help you think about the best ways to design it. The most important question you should ask is ” What goal do you want accomplished with the worksheet”?
Going back to the teacher example, each worksheet a teacher uses has a purpose and it’s to teach a specific lesson and/or concept. The goal of a math worksheet that focuses on multiplication is to help the students learn multiplication. That’s it.
This is a simple step but essential. It lays the foundation to create a worksheet that flows smoothly for your readers. Which leads us to the next detail:
A great worksheet needs to be easy to understand. That means the structure and layout should work with one another. To figure this out, grab a piece of paper (it’s better to write it out) and list what the reader needs to do to complete the goal.
The best way to do this is by writing out each step that needs to be completed. If you only have one step, then that’s it. You can go into more detail if it helps but don’t forget this lovely acronym K.I.S.S (which stands for Keep It Simple Silly). Okay, it was originally Keep It Simple Stupid but I always hated the idea of calling someone stupid. No one is stupid. We just get lost in the process.
Okay…let’s get back on track with that multiplication worksheet example and the purpose of this sheet is to learn multiplication. To create a good flow, I would make one section that focuses on multiplication of 1, then 2, then 3, and so on.
Another example would be my own Freebie Brainstorm Worksheet that goes through the questions to ask yourself to figuring an awesome blog freebie.
Now, take this concept and apply it to your worksheet. During this step of the brainstorming process, I recommend doing a quick rough sketch of what the worksheet will look like. Don’t try to aim for perfection, this is a rough draft. Focus on layout and how it fits with what the reader will need to accomplish.
The most important factor is that a person should be able to understand how to use the worksheet. It should be fairly easy to see visually. But sometimes a more thorough explanation is needed, which leads us to the final brainstorm detail.
The final step to a brainstorm is making sure that it is easy to understand. If the person can’t figure out how to use your worksheet effectively then there isn’t any point to it. There are a few ways to do this:
- title each section
- list the order of how to complete each section
- write clear directions
By the time you get to this detail, you should have a good idea of what your worksheet will look like. This makes the actual design process much easier. Going into Canva with a good idea of what your worksheet will look like versus having a very basic concept is the best way to set yourself up for success.
Step 2: Choose the Layout
It’s time to design. Head over to Canva and log in to your account. Both the free plan and CanvaPro work great for creating a worksheet.
With choosing a design layout size it is best to stick with the common print sizes. Here are the two most common page sizes that people print on at home: U.S. letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 (297 mm x 210 mm).
If you want your worksheet to be a different size, keep it within those page sizes. Don’t do something like 11″ x 17″. That size is more common for businesses than a typical home.
Another detail to consider for the layout is orientation. Do you want it to be landscape or portrait? The orientation can play a big role in the flow of the worksheet.
Once you have determined the size and orientation of the design, click Create a design button in the right-hand corner of Canva’s homepage.
Either select a pre-made design size or click Custom dimensions. Insert the width and height but make sure to select the correct dimension sizes. They are automatically listed as pixels (px) but you can also choose inches (in, centimeter (cm), and millimeter (mm). Then click Create new design.
Step 3: Add Design Elements
Now we are onto the fun part…actually making your worksheet printable. It’s time to let out that super creative side (even if you think you don’t have one). Use shapes (found in the Elements tab) to organize your worksheet.
Have fun with the shapes or grids options. There is no need to stick with the standard square. Experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. Take a look below for some examples of how to they can be used in your worksheet.
Other Elements to help with your design:
- Grids (quick and easy way to create sections for your worksheet)
- Frames (another way to create sections)
- Graphics (not too many though – the purpose of this printable is a worksheet and not wall art)
- Text Box (use for both title or body text)
Creative Tip: If you want to try another design for your worksheet, DON’T DELETE your current design. Instead, add a new page or duplicate. This allows you to compare the two (or more) designs created and choose the one you like best.
Quick Reminder to double-check and make sure your worksheet printable has these elements (if needed):
- worksheet title
- title text for sections
- body text for more thorough explanations
- easily identified sections
- obvious flow indicators (like step 1 or arrows)
- brand colors (make the unconscious connection back to your blog)
- blog logo or website (this is like a watermark and once again directs it back to your blog)
- links to relevant blog posts (great way to provide more information and link back to your blog)
Step 4: Save as PDF
We finally reach the final step and it’s an easy one. To save your file as a PDF, click the Download button (looks like an arrow pointing down) at the top right-hand corner of the design page to open the drop-down menu. Change the save as file type to PDF and then click Download.
When the file has finished downloading, save it to a designated folder.
For those whose worksheets have more than one file (maybe you made a bundle) and need a way to combine them, I recommend using ILovePDF. This is a fantastic tool for those who have multiple files with different orientations or made on various graphic design tools. It is free and comes with quite a few tools that you can use (instead of paying for a PDF program like Acrobat).
Here is the link to ILovePDF to combine multiple files. Simply add the files you want and click to generate.
Final Thoughts on Worksheet Printables in Canva
Worksheets provide you a great opportunity to build an email list while helping your audience. They can be used to support a specific post or an idea in general. For example, I use my Blog Freebie Brainstorm Worksheet (which is a part of the Printables Kickstart Toolkit) as a support for a specific post but it also fits in with my niche overall.
Experiment to see which will serve you and your blog best. Don’t be afraid to try something new because it could be the reason people rush to join your email list.
Quick Recap about creating a worksheet printable in Canva:
- Brainstorm the purpose, flow, and usability of your printable before you even start making it in Canva. That includes doing a rough sketch (it doesn’t have to be pretty).
- There are three steps to making your worksheet printable: choose a layout, add your design elements, and save as a PDF.
- If you need to combine multiple worksheets together, check out this tool from ILovePDF. It’s free and easy to use. Don’t forget to check out this blog post to learn about more free PDF tools available for bloggers.
- A printable worksheet is a perfect opt-in freebie to support a blog post and build an email list.
Related Post: How to Create That One Irresistible Opt-In Freebie
Before You Go…
Did this post simplify the process for creating a worksheet printable in Canva? What did you learn that you didn’t think of or know before? Are you ready to create a worksheet blog freebie?
Tell me about it in the comments below or contact me here!
Happy Days –
Hi, I’m CaitieJ. I’m a quirky lady married to the love of her life and raising two wonderful little boys. I’m also the nerd who loves everything about creating printables and opt-in freebies. This blog is all about helping fellow bloggers learn how to create unique freebies that will grow an incredible email list. Check out more about me and my blog right here!