How (and Why) to Create Index Pages in Canva for Digital Planners

Digital planners can be as small and to the point or as big and robust as you see fit. It's important to remember the number one rule for selling digital planners on platforms such as Etsy: You are selling the ease of navigation to your customer. While colors and themes obviously play a part, the biggest factor is how the end user will be able to navigate the planner.

Hyperlinking allows the end user to jump from one page to another in their planner, but sometimes, you might have a section that needs a little more organization than just clicking a tab. In this case, you can use index pages or interactive elements to help the end user navigate. Index pages are a table of contents for that planner section.

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The Role of the Index Page

Index pages are intended to help organize a section of your digital planner. Ideally, the end user will select a tab to go to a certain section of a digital planner. Let's do an example:

Say we've created a digital planner for teachers to use in the classroom. Our tabs are labeled to show the different sections of the planner, such as “Lesson Plans,” “Attendance,” and “Grades.” When the end user selects the “Lesson Plans” tab, what will they see? There's no way to have them go to every lesson plan they have created, right?

This is when you would create an index page in Canva for digital planners. The tab labeled “Lesson Plans” will lead to an index page. Like a table of contents, the end user can select which lesson plan they want to navigate on that page. This index page would include a link to each lesson plan page that is included in the planner, typically one for each day.

Screenshot of a digital planner index page created in Canva, displaying a list of lesson plans numbered from Day 1 to Day 80 across four columns. The design includes a light gradient background with a spiral notebook graphic to the right, giving the impression of an open planner on a digital device.

Alternatives to Index Pages

If the look of an index page is not something you want to do, there are other options. The whole point is to provide ease of navigation, so as long as you have a hyperlink that points to that page, it's fine. You can add interactive elements to your digital planners in place of an index page.

So, for our teacher digital planner example, if I didn't want the tabs to be the sections and go to an index page, I would have my tabs be the months of the year, and I would hyperlink to the lesson plan page from the calendar page. The image below shows the interactive elements that would be linked to daily pages for Lesson Plans (the book), Seating Charts (the chair), and Grades (the worksheet).

A screenshot of an open digital planner in Canva with a January 2024 calendar visible on the right side. The left side of the image displays a search for 'grades' in Canva, with various graphic elements related to school grades, like A+ icons and report cards. The digital planner shows a full year calendar with hyperlinked interactive elements for each month, set against a light gradient background with a spiral notebook design.

How to Create an Index Page in Canva

The index pages will be similar whether you are creating a horizontal two-page or a vertical one-page digital planner. I'll be doing one for a horizontal planner for this example:

Choose Index Page Layout

Prior to creating the index page in your digital planner document, you should look at other options to get some ideas. I like to search for “Table of Contents” in Canva to see what others have created, and use them for inspiration. We are not using the template for products we sell due to the terms and conditions for commercial use rights with Canva. You will also want to use the same fonts and color schemes that you have been using throughout your planner.

Lastly, decide on the terminology you will use for your index page. The page will be hyperlinked using text elements, and the text will likely be repetitive. Think about the phrase you want your customers to see when they land on the index page.

Create the Index Page

  • With your digital planner pulled up in Canva, select the “Duplicate page” button
Screenshot of a Canva interface showing the 'Duplicate page' feature highlighted in a digital planner template for January 2024. The layout includes a full-year calendar view on the right side with January prominently displayed, and a sidebar on the left showcasing thumbnail previews of monthly calendar pages for 2025
  • Edit the new page to remove unnecessary elements (right-click on any element and select “Delete“).
  • Select “Text” in the left-side menu
  • Select “Add a text box
  • Type the terminology you chose to use into the text box
  • At this time, you can adjust the font size, color, and type
  • Select the text box and position it where you want the index to start.
  • Repeat this process until you have a text box for each page the end user will need to access for that section.
Alternative Method

If you do not want to add a new text box each time, you can add one text box and list multiple links in it. When you go to hyperlink, rather than selecting the text box and linking, you will need to highlight each line of text to hyperlink it individually. Either way works!

Screenshot of a digital planner page in Canva, illustrating how to highlight text to create a hyperlink. The page shows a 'Lesson Plans' section with a list of days from Day 1 to Day 80, suggesting that these items can be linked. The Canva interface includes design tools and options, with a web browser's tabs and bookmarks visible in the background.

Hyperlink the Index Page

After you have formatted your index page, you will want to hyperlink it for the end user. You will need to have all of the pages completed before hyperlinking, meaning if you are listing 52 weeks of meal plan pages, you will need 52 pages created to link to. Once that is ready, you can follow these steps:

  • Select the text box, or highlight the text that you want to hyperlink
  • Select the “Link” button
  • Scroll through the “Pages in this document” until you find the page you want to link to and select it.
  • If done correctly, Canva will notify you with “Link added
Screenshot of a digital planner page in Canva, illustrating how to highlight text to create a hyperlink. The page shows a 'Lesson Plans' section with a list of days from Day 1 to Day 80, suggesting that these items can be linked. The Canva interface includes design tools and options, with a web browser's tabs and bookmarks visible in the background.

There are other ways to verify if a link has been added and where it goes. Select the hyperlinked element or text, and Canva will show you the page it is hyperlinked to. You can click the page shown in blue to be taken to the linked page. To change a link, you can select the “Pencil Icon” to edit the location.

You will need to repeat this process for each text element that needs to be hyperlinked on the Index page. Here are some tips to help streamline the process and avoid as many hyperlinking errors as possible:

Name Your Pages

I highly recommend naming every page of your digital planner. As you can see from the instructions above, you will need to scroll through the pages to find the one you want to link to. The default names are just page numbers. Taking the extra 5-10 minutes to name each page will save you time hyperlinking. Here is how to name your pages:

  • Change your view to “Grid View” using the button in the lower right-hand corner
  • Locate the page you want to rename
  • Highlight the text and type to override it
  • Repeat this process for all of the pages
Screenshot of the Canva interface in grid view mode, demonstrating how to rename pages within a Landscape Digital Planner. Thumbnails of January 2024 calendar pages are shown, with one highlighted and labeled '3 - January', indicating the renaming feature. The first thumbnail is a custom cover with the text 'I found my moments list! Again.'

Hyperlinking in Canva Alternative

If clicking each individual text box to hyperlink seems tedious, it can be. However, I always tell myself when I am hyperlinking within Canva that I only have to do this once to sell my digital planner multiple times.

Another great hack is using PDFLinkr. PDFLinkr is a platform designed for digital planner creators, by a digital planner creator! With a few clicks and some simple parameters, you can hyperlink an entire planner in under thirty minutes.

The process to hyperlink within PDFLinkr involves importing your completed planner in PDF form to the PDFLinkr platform. From there, you enter your parameters for what you want to link (there are tutorial videos available), highlight the area to be linked, and PDFLinkr creates a CSV file that will link the planner for you. Repeat this process for all of the different types of links you want to add (monthly, daily, etc.), and the final PDF produced is your digital planner!

Use Templates

Purchasing PLR templates with commercial-use rights, like I offer inside of The MDP Advantage-PLUS Membership, can be a huge time saver. As long as you keep the hyperlinked pages in place, you can update the layout and theme of the planner to suit your needs. You are trading off the time to hyperlink with the time to edit the template. Personally, editing is much more fun for me!

And if you don't want to purchase templates, make your own! Spend some time creating the layout of the planner and hyperlinking it. You can then “Make a Copy” of the file in your Canva dashboard and edit it to create a new planner.

What's Next?

Now that you understand index pages, what they do, and how they benefit your end user, create them and move on to the next step: creating tabs. And, you can check out this post, if you need help creating your cover page.

If you have any questions, make sure to post them in our Facebook group. I'm in there daily to support you! Let's do this!

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