Digital Planners: What are Tabs?

If you are a digital product creator you've surely heard those that create digital planners talk about tabs. But, what are tabs? Simply put – the tabs are the ease of navigation you provide to your customer. Tabs can be either vertical or horizontal and should take the end user to the most commonly used pages of the planner.

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Instructional image featuring a variety of planner tab shapes in orange along the right edge, with text stating 'Planner Tab Examples! Pick a shape, resize and rotate until you get the perfect tab shape for your digital planner!', next to the Make Digital Planners (MDP) logo on a teal background.

Why Use Tabs?

Tabs are an excellent way to organize information in your digital planner. They make it easy for users to find the section they need quickly without scrolling through a lot of pages. You can use tabs to categorize your planner by day, week, month, or even by different topics or tasks. They provide a clear visual hierarchy that helps users understand your planner's structure.

When it comes to creating and selling digital planners, you are selling the ease of navigation. Meaning, any PDF can be uploaded to Goodnotes or a similar platform and be manipulated by the end user. The difference with the interactive PDFs that you are selling as digital planners is the fact that the tabs and hyperlinks make the navigation simpler for your end user.

Tabs Equal Ease of Navigation

Without the tabs, the end user has to “flip” through all the pages of a planner to find the page they want to manipulate. The tabs take the “flip” out of the equation by allowing your customers to choose the section they want to go to. The tabs should be hyperlinked to a destination page or something similar, and then your end user can dive in even deeper with more ease of navigation.

How to Create Tabs in Canva

Creating tabs in Canva is simple and straightforward. I'll walk you through the steps that I use, but remember, there are few limitations to your own personal creativity. Try these steps out, but don't be afraid to try something new!

Select the Tab Shape

First, open a new design in Canva with the dimensions you need for your digital planner, and select the “Elements” tab on the left-hand side. From there, click on the “Shapes” option and select the shape you want for your tab. You can choose from various shapes, including rectangles, squares, circles, or even custom shapes.

Manipulate the Tabs

Next, adjust the size and color of your tab to fit your design. You want your tabs to be big enough to read the text but not so large that they take up too much space. A good way to decide the size of your tabs is to take the overall height of the planner page and divide it by the number of tabs you need.

Add Text or Elements

Once you've created your tabs, you'll want to add text or elements. You can use descriptive labels to help users understand what each tab represents. You can also use icons or symbols to make your tabs more visually appealing. Remember, what you name or label your tabs are essential for your end user to know what that tab will lead them to in their newly purchased digital planner.

Hyperlink the Tabs

To make your tabs clickable, you'll want to add hyperlinks to each one. This is easy to do in Canva. Simply select the element on the tab and click on the “Link” option in the top toolbar. From there, you can select where you want the tab to link, such as a specific page in your digital planner.

A Canva editing screen displaying a digital garden planner's cover with a floral motif, and a pop-up linking a section titled '2 - Getting started'. The bright yellow background adds to the planner's engaging and colorful design, emphasizing user interactivity through hyperlinks.

Tips for Creating Tabs

Here are some tips to help you create beautiful and functional tabs for your digital planner:

  • Choose a shape that complements your design. Rectangles and squares are classic choices, but you can use circles or custom shapes to add visual interest.
  • Pick a color that stands out from your planner's background. You want your tabs to be easy to spot, so avoid using colors that blend in too much.
  • Experiment with different placements. You can place your tabs along the top or side of your planner, or even in the bottom corner. Think about how users will interact with your planner and what placement makes the most sense.
  • Use consistent sizing and spacing. Keep your tabs the same size and spaced evenly apart to create a polished and organized look.
  • Consider using different variations of tabs. You can create tabs with different colors or patterns to represent different categories or tasks. For example, you could use a green tab for work-related tasks and a blue tab for personal tasks.

Your Next Steps

By following these tips, you'll be able to create beautiful and functional tabs for your digital planner that will help users navigate your planner with ease. It's important that your tabs are visually appealing but also functional. Your end user should know exactly where they will end up in their planner when they click a certain tab.

That's it for this post about digital planner tabs! I hope you found this information helpful and that it inspires you to create some fantastic digital planners of your own. If you need more help with your digital planner creation process, check out the Beginner's Guide to Digital Planners. It's designed to walk you through ideation and creation to listing and selling your digital planners. You can also join our Make Digital Planners with Samantha Facebook group and I will be happy to answer any additional questions that you have! Happy designing!

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