Interactive PDFs: the Backbone of Digital Planners

All digital planners are interactive PDFs. Every single one that is sold, was created with hyperlinks and tabs, and then exported as a PDF. When that PDF, that is now interactive because of the hyperlinks, is uploaded to a note annotation app the end user can then navigate through the planner. You've provided ease of navigation, and the note annotation app does the rest. Let's breakdown the process for creating interactive PDFs in Canva.

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Template or From Scratch?

When creating a digital planner, you can either start with a template or create from scratch. If you are creating a digital planner for personal use, you can search on Canva to find digital planner templates.

However, if you are a digital product creator and trying to create products to sell online, do not use the templates provided. Rather, check out Creative Fabrica for commercial use rights, or browse for ideas and create your own design from Scratch.

Canva design platform interface with a search bar filled with the query 'digital planner', displaying a dropdown with related terms and a variety of digital planner templates in the background, promoting easy access to design resources.

Customizing Your Digital Planner: Unleash Your Inner Designer

Here's where the fun really begins! It's time to let your creative juices flow and personalize your planner. Click on any text, color, or image in the template to edit it. You can add your favorite quotes, change the font, or even upload your own images.

Don't forget to explore Canva's offering of elements, such as stickers and icons, to make your planner truly unique. Remember, the sky's the limit when it comes to designing your masterpiece! I recommend thinking about the end user and what will help them the most.

Creating Interactive Elements

What's a digital planner without some interactivity, right? Let's make those tabs and buttons clickable! Select any element you want to turn into a hyperlink and click the “link” icon in the toolbar. You can link it to a specific page, website, or even an email address.

Feeling extra ambitious? You can even create interactive checkboxes and other input elements. It is very important to name your planner pages as you create them. When you go to create your tabs and hyperlinks, it will make the linking process easier if you can see the title of each page. Trust me; it's worth the extra time to add those!

Testing… Testing…

Don't forget to test your interactive elements before exporting the PDF. You do not want to market a digital planner that does not function. Remember, the platform that your end user uses will allow them to manipulate any PDF that they import. What you are selling is the ease of navigation.

So, make sure all of the links work. Either download the interactive PDF and upload it to a platform to test, or open the PDF on your computer and click the links. This will allow you to see if any of the links are not going to the correct spot. Find an issue? No worries, just go back into Canva and correct the hyperlink, redownload, and continue testing.

Exporting Your Digital Planner as an Interactive PDF

Once you've double-checked your interactive elements and are satisfied with your design, it's time to export your creation. Click “Share” in the top right corner, then select “Download” and choose “Standard PDF” as the file format. Do not flatten the PDF. This will erase your links during the downloading process.

A Canva interface displaying the cover page of a 'Digital Teaching Planner and Organizer' featuring a boho-chic floral design, with the download options pane open suggesting PNG as the file type, highlighting the ease of exporting custom designs.

Give your file a memorable name and save it in a folder where you will be able to find it later. Voila! You've just created your very own interactive PDF that can be used or sold as a digital planner!

Importing Your Interactive PDF

Now that you have your PDF downloaded, it's time to import it into your platform of choice. Popular options include GoodNotes, Noteshelf, and Notability. The importing process will vary depending on the platform, so consult their specific instructions for a smooth experience.

Once imported, the app that you chose enables you to use the digital planner just like a paper one! While the platforms vary, all of them provide the option to write, type, add stickers, and so much more. As long as you put the work in to create the correct hyperlinks for navigation, your digital planner will work perfectly.

You Did It! Time to Plan Like a Pro

Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back! You've successfully created an interactive PDF that can now be used as a digital planner. And, you did it all in an easy-to-use way, thanks to Canva! Now it's time to plan your days, weeks, and months like an organizing aficionado. Or, get those planners listed to your TPT or Etsy shops and make some money!

Whether you're scheduling meetings, tracking habits, or planning your next big adventure, your newly created digital planner will be your trusty sidekick. Have questions? Join the Make Digital Planners with Samantha group on Facebook and ask away! I'm in there daily ready and willing to help you create the best digital planners.

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