How to Create a Digital Planner in Canva to Sell on Etsy

The process to create a digital planner in Canva to sell on Etsy can be broken down into four stages:

  • Ideation – Identifying your target audience, and planning out your planner.
  • Creation – Creating the digital planner and hyperlinking for ease of navigation.
  • Listing – Uploading your mock-ups and deliverables, as well as optimizing your listing using SEO.
  • Selling – Driving traffic to your products, and driving Etsy customers to your other products.

This post is intended to walk you through each stage, as well as to be a resource for you for all stages of the creation process. To save this post, either add it to your “Bookmarks Bar” or pin the image below to your Pinterest account!

**Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you**


Before you ever log in to Canva it's important to take some time to figure out what kind of a digital planner you want to create. Things like identifying your target audience, pages to include, and whether you will build from scratch or use a template should all be decided before creating your digital planner.

Taking the time to figure out what you want to create will help avoid any “blank screen paralysis” when you go to start. Also, creating an item intended for an ideal customer, rather than just making and hoping to find a customer for your product, will help you reach your sales goals much quicker.

Target Audience

Your target audience is your ideal customer. If you described the perfect person to land on your Etsy shop listings, who would that be? How will your product help them? What is it that your customer is struggling with?

Asking yourself these types of questions will help you narrow down who you want to serve, and what products you should create for your shop.

Market Research

Once you've identified your target audience, it's time to do some market research. Market research is NOT COPYING other's products. Rather, it's using several platforms to get ideas for what you want to create, include, and things you would change.

You can start your search at the source by seeing what types of digital planners are being offered for your target audience on Etsy. Other platforms to consider are Shopify and Pinterest, along with SEO Tools like Alura, eRank, and Everbee.

Plan Your Planner

When you get a good grasp on the type of planner you want to create, it's time to plan your planner! I always recommend having an outline to follow before you ever log into Canva. If you have our Beginner's Guide to Digital Planners, resources are available in the Ideation chapter to help outline your planner.

The final thing you need to consider before creating is whether or not you want to create the entire digital planner from scratch, or if you want to use some PLR templates to get you started.

Creating from Scratch

Creating a digital planner from scratch is not as daunting as it sounds. Tedious? Yes. But the process is essentially just adding shapes and elements to your canvas. If you choose to create from scratch, I recommend creating a few planner pages that you want as your staples, and then add from there.

To keep things orderly, you can create folders within your Canva dashboard to store the planner pages you create:

  • With your design open, select “Share
  • Select “More
Screenshot of a digital planner page design in Canva showing a whimsical lost-and-found message on a textured paper background with a spiral binding visual effect. The text reads: 'If found: I've lost my tablet. Again. #DigitalPlannerLife'.
  • Select “Save to Folder
Screenshot of a Canva interface showing a digital planner page with a message about losing a tablet. The right sidebar highlights the 'Save to folder' feature, indicating different storage options like 'Digital Planner Templates' and 'Templates'. The main planner page has a whimsical lost-and-found style text, enhancing the digital organizing theme.

From here, you can select the folder you want to save the design in, as well as create a new folder if needed. Keeping your designs easily accessible will help eliminate potential overwhelm.

Using PLR Templates

If the thought of starting from scratch intimidates you, there are tons of options for commercial use templates that you can use. We offer fully hyperlinked digital planner templates inside of our membership, The MDP Advantage-PLUS, that can be edited and rebranded, and then listed in your shop.

Even looking at Creative Fabrica for planner page templates will help speed up your creation process. It's very important to read all of the terms and conditions for each piece of PLR that you purchase. You want to make sure they list “commercial use” identifying that you can take the digital product, make it your own, and put it in your Etsy shop.

The MDP Advantage Membership


Next, it's time to create your digital planner! We've broken down the process into easy-to-follow, click-by-click instructions. Keep in mind—these are the basics. Making sure that you include all of these elements in your digital planner will ensure that you have a functioning planner to sell. It's up to you to add all of the creativity!

Create a Digital Planner

There are two types of digital planners to create. One is a vertical, one-page digital planner. These planners are created with the intention for the end user to use while holding their device in a vertical orientation. Some users like this option because the pages and fonts can be larger, and might be easier to read.

The other option is a horizontal, two-page digital planner. This planner is created for the end user to use their device horizontally, and the planner will look like a paper planner that is laying open on a table. This allows for the end user to view two pages at once.

Layout and Cover Page

Once you've decided what type of layout to produce, you'll want to create your cover page. Having an eye-catching cover can help your product gain some traction in your shop. The cover page is setting the tone for your planner, and can be a place to let your creativity shine!


The tabs act as the first source of navigation for the end user. Tabs can be vertical or horizontal (or both), and will take the end user directly to a section of the planner they want to view. Sometimes they will be led to an Index Page to drill down further, and others to a calendar page or tracker.

To figure out the size of the tabs, simply take the length of the “planner page” and divide by how many tabs you need. Tabs can be different shapes, colors, and sizes, but all of the tabs will have an element added to them that will be hyperlinked before selling your digital planner.

Index Pages

Index pages are the table of contents for a section of your planner. For example, if you were creating a health and wellness planner, you might not include monthly tabs on the planner. Instead, you decide to break the planner into sections where the end user can track their goals and progress for an entire year.

If one of your tabs is labeled “Meal Plans,” the page that the end user is taken to would be an index page listing all of the different weekly or daily meal plan pages. Your end user can then select the week or day they want to edit, and be taken directly to that page.


Hyperlinking is the secret ingredient to make a digital planner. With the note annotation apps capabilities, like Goodnotes and NoteShelf, any PDF can be uploaded and manipulated with the app. However, adding hyperlinks provides the ease of navigation for the end user. They simply tap on the tab, icon, or text that they want, and their digital planner will take them there.

A hyperlink can be added in Canva to any text or element. Simply select the element then select the “Link” option. Scroll through the “Pages in This Document” to find the page you want to link to and select it. Canva will notify you that the link has been added.

Screenshot of a Canva user interface with an open 'Link added' dialog box above a content page layout. The dialog box allows the user to enter a URL or search for internal document links, displaying options like '8 - Content Page' and multiple sections. The interface shows various design tools and elements, emphasizing the functionality of adding hyperlinks in Canva.

Hyperlinking with PDFLinkr

An alternative to manually hyperlinking your digital planner in the platform of your choice is to use the platform PDFLinkr. With PDFLinkr, you can create your digital planner all the way until it is ready to be linked, and then upload the PDF to PDFLinkr to link the entire planner in under 30 minutes.

By using this platform, you will be able to create CSV files that autopopulate the links for you based on the location you specify. We have a great video showing how to use the platform in our Facebook group. While PDFLinkr will have a learning curve – the amount of time saved from manually hyperlinking will be worth it.


Once your digital planner is completed and fully hyperlinked, it's time to export it. The file should be exported as a “Standard PDF” and do not flatten. If you do, the hyperlinks will no longer work (don't panic, just redownload the file and uncheck the “flatten” box).

Once you have your exported PDF, this is your product to sell! Take the time to save this file in an easy to find folder, that you will be adding to as you go to list your item for sale, and test it! You can upload the PDF to a note annotation app (recommended to ensure your links cooperate), or open the PDF on your PC and check all of the links. You need to verify that when you click the link, you are taken to the correct page.

Testing before you list your planner for sale, will save you headaches and potential bad reviews down the road if there was a mistake made in hyperlinking.


Once you have a completed and fully tested product, it's time to get that baby listed! Before you ever log on to Etsy you'll want to create your mockups, deliverables, and research Etsy SEO. You will need these for EVERY listing you create, so it's a great idea to put it into practice at the beginning of your creation journey.

I break down the process for you in click-by-click instructions, both to create the mockups, deliverables and Etsy SEO, as well as how to upload the actual listing to Etsy, in our Create Etsy Listings Guide. It's a free resource, and full of valuable trackers and templates to get you started.


Mockups matter! This is something I am trying to improve on in my own Etsy journey – creating eye-catching and valuable mockups for our products. Mockups shouldn't just be pictures of the planner, but show the end user the capabilities that you've put in place.

Adding text and arrows to highlight your planners unique offerings is a great way to stand out in the crowd. And, once you find the layout that works for you, save it as a template in Canva to use for future projects. Organization and cohesive mockups in your shop – it's a win-win!


Delivera-what?!? Deliverables are separate PDFs that you create to deliver to the customer when they make a purchase. This not only helps you get around the 20MB file limit that Etsy has set (and a lot of digital planners will exceed this), but it also lets you advertise your brand to your new customers.

You can include links to your Facebook group, blog, email list, and even other Etsy listings they might be interested in. Including a coupon code for their next purchase is also a good idea. A deliverable is your first form of contact to your customer. It is a valuable tool to turn Etsy shoppers into email subscribers.

Etsy SEO

Etsy SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, isn't as complicated as you might think. All SEO really is, is using the words and phrases that customers are shopping for, in your titles, tags, and descriptions. That's it. What search terms do you want your product to show up for?

Using tools like Alura, eRank, and Everbee can give you insight into the titles, tags and descriptions other shops are using for their listings that are similar to yours. But, ultimately, your title should describe your product, your description should answer any questions the customer might have, and the tags should be relevant to the search traffic you want to gain.

Etsy Listings

When you've created all of the mockups, deliverables, and Etsy SEO research it's time to list your planner. Log in to your Etsy Shop, and select “Add New Listing“. From here, Etsy will walk you through asking all of the relevant questions about your item, uploading your mockups, and your deliverables, and adding your description and tags.

When finished, select “Publish” to list the item in your shop. Etsy will charge you $.20 per listing you create. If you don't have an Etsy shop established, you can grab 40 free listings using my link! Rinse and repeat this process to stock your shop!


Alright, you've listed your planner in your Etsy shop, now what? Outside of waiting for the Etsy algorithm to categorize your product correctly, is there anything you can do to increase your sales? There is – and it's called gaining eyeballs.

Etsy is a platform with so many eyeballs already built in – but the markets can be competitive. Regardless, if you create good products, list them correctly, and keep listing – you will see sales on Etsy. But if you want to make the move to a more passive income for yourself – you've got to gain some traffic for your specific offering.

How do you do this? By optimizing your deliverables to turn Etsy customers into email list subscribers (or Facebook group members), and leveraging blogging to grow your audience.

Converting Etsy Sales to Subscribers

We discussed deliverables, and they really are so important for your business. Whether you have an email list your building, or a Facebook group community, getting your Etsy customers to stay in contact with you should be the main goal.

Yes, it's great to get those one-off sales, but if you build a community for your target audience, one they truly want to be a part of, you have a whole audience to launch new products and offerings to. By optimizing your deliverable, and giving the customer a clear path forward, you can build your brand using Etsy's traffic.

Blogging for Your Audience

The very start of the creation process was Ideation, and we focused on identifying our target audience, and how our digital planner will help them. With blogging, you get to take it a step further. Not only are you optimizing your Etsy listings with SEO, but you can also write blog posts to your audience and gain traction with Google, too.

Blogging is not a short game. Building a foundation today will pay your bills next year. But, with resources like Blogging Foundations, a FREE course offered by Sadie Smiley with Passive Income Pathways, you can set up a blog the correct way from start to finish. The amount of value in this course is incredible.

Writing to your audience, and then creating digital products to help them on their journey, is the best way to increase sells, and truly build your passive income.

Your Next Steps

There you have it, the entire process on how to create a digital planner in Canva to sell on Etsy. When you follow the steps of Ideation, Creation, Listing and Selling, you are sure to gain traffic and increase sales in your shop. Have questions? Drop them in our Facebook group and I'll be there to help!

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