Is Canva Like Indesign Software? [6 Best Comparisons]

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the similarities and differences between Canva and Adobe InDesign.

is canva like indesign

What Is Canva?

canva website homepage dashboard

Canva is an online graphic design tool that enables you to create visually appealing designs with ease.

It offers various pre-made templates and drag-and-drop functionalities that make it user-friendly for professional designers and those new to graphic design.

With Canva Pro, you can access even more features like premium stock images and advanced design elements.

What Is Adobe InDesign Software?

Adobe InDesign is a professional desktop publishing application for creating print and digital media layouts. It provides precision and control, suitable for designers looking for high-end results.

Adobe InDesign is part of the Adobe Suite. Adobe Creative Cloud members also have access to tools like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Fonts, and Premiere Pro for video editing, enabling a wide range of design capabilities.

Is Canva Similar To Indesign?

So, is Canva like Indesign software? Yes and No — No, Canva is not 100% like Indesign. Yes, Canva and Adobe InDesign are graphic design tools, but they cater to different needs and skill levels.

Canva is known for its user-friendly interface and is suitable for beginners or those who need to create designs quickly.

Adobe InDesign, on the other hand, offers more advanced features and controls, making it suitable for professional designers.

While they share the common purpose of graphic design, their functionalities, and target audiences differ significantly. Here are the various differences between Canva vs Adobe Indesign:

1. Design Element Options

Design tools are integral for graphic designers and visual artists. But how do Canva and Adobe InDesign fare in terms of design element options? Let’s break down the details between Canva vs Indesign:

Canva Design Element Options

photos tab in Canva menu — is canva like indesign

Canva is known for its approachability, especially for newcomers to design. Here’s a detailed look at Canva design elements:

  1. Stock images: A vast library of stock images to choose from, some free and others requiring a Canva Pro subscription.
  2. Fonts: An array of fonts are accessible to make your text stand out.
  3. Icons and Shapes: A collection of icons, shapes, and illustrations to enhance your design.
  4. Layout Options: Various layout structures to help guide your design process.

Adobe InDesign Design Element Options

adobe indesign character and paragraph panels — is canva like indesign

Adobe InDesign offers more advanced capabilities suitable for professional designers. Here’s an in-depth exploration of its design elements:

  1. Adobe Stock Integration: Access to Adobe Stock’s extensive library of high-quality images, videos, and graphics.
  2. Advanced Font Management: A wide range of Adobe fonts and precise control over text styling.
  3. Complex Design Elements: More intricate design elements like infographics, charts, and tables can be created.
  4. Customizable Templates: Templates that can be modified to meet exact design specifications, with control over every aspect of the layout.

2. Pricing

Understanding the pricing structures of these two platforms will help you decide which tool is more suitable for your budget and needs. Let’s dive into the details:

Canva Pricing

Canva offers a range of pricing options to suit different users:

  1. Free Plan: The basic version of Canva is available for free. It includes access to thousands of free templates, photos, and graphics.
  2. Canva Pro: Priced at $12.95 per month (or $119.40 annually), Canva Pro offers advanced features such as brand kit, unlimited folders, team collaboration, and more.
  3. Canva Enterprise: Custom pricing is available for larger organizations requiring advanced collaboration and administrative controls.
  4. One-time Purchases: Premium images and elements can be purchased individually, typically ranging from $1 to $5 each.

Adobe InDesign Pricing

Adobe InDesign is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, and the pricing reflects its professional-grade capabilities:

  1. Individual Subscription: Adobe InDesign is available to individuals at $20.99 per month, or you can subscribe to the entire Creative Cloud suite for $52.99 per month.
  2. Business Subscription: For businesses, pricing starts at $33.99 per user per month for InDesign or $79.99 for the full Creative Cloud.
  3. Students and Educators Discount: Adobe offers special pricing for students and teachers, often at a significant discount.

3. Design Software Features

Canva and Adobe InDesign serve different audiences and purposes in the field of graphic design. Let’s explore what makes each platform unique and how they align with different user needs:

Canva Features

Canva is tailored to a wide array of users, ranging from beginners to intermediate designers, and even small business owners. Here’s what sets Canva apart:

  1. User-Friendly Interface: Canva’s drag-and-drop interface is easy to learn and use. Even if you’re new to design, you can quickly create beautiful visuals.
  2. Templates and Pre-designed Elements: With thousands of ready-made templates and design elements, Canva enables rapid creation of social media graphics, presentations, posters, and more.
  3. Collaboration Features: Canva facilitates teamwork with easy sharing and collaboration tools, making it a preferred choice for businesses.
  4. Versatility: Canva is suitable for both personal and commercial use. Its ease of accessibility makes it ideal for creating quick designs without the need for extensive training.
  5. Integration with Social Media: Directly publish to various social media platforms right from Canva, streamlining the content creation process.
  6. Photo Editing Tools: Basic photo editing capabilities like cropping, filtering, and color adjustments are available.

Adobe InDesign Features

adobe indesign features — is canva the like indesign

Adobe InDesign is a professional design tool primarily used by professional graphic designers and publishers. Here’s what defines Adobe InDesign:

  1. Precision and Control: Adobe InDesign offers granular control over every design element. It provides tools for creating intricate layouts, typography, and more.
  2. Print and Digital Publishing: Suitable for print and digital media layouts, InDesign excels in creating books, magazines, brochures, and interactive PDFs.
  3. Integration with Adobe Suite: Adobe InDesign seamlessly integrates with other Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator, providing a cohesive design experience.
  4. Advanced Features: InDesign offers robust features such as grid layouts, preflight, master pages, and more, tailored for complex designs.
  5. Professional Community: Adobe InDesign is favored among professional designers for its capacity to handle large-scale projects and deliver high-end results.
  6. Professional Typography Tools: Advanced control over typography, including kerning, leading, tracking, and more.
  7. Vector Graphic Capabilities: Create and manage vector graphics within InDesign, offering scalability without loss of quality.
  8. Publishing Options: Export designs in various formats suitable for print, online, and digital publishing.

4. Accessibility

Accessibility refers to how easily and conveniently a tool or service can be accessed and used.

It plays a crucial role in determining the right design tool for your needs. Let’s dive into the accessibility features of Canva and Adobe InDesign:

Canva Accessibility

Canva is renowned for its accessibility to a wide range of users. Here’s what makes Canva accessible:

  1. Web-Based Platform: Canva is primarily an online tool, allowing you to access it from any device with an internet connection. Whether you’re on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, Canva’s got you covered.
  2. No Installation Required: Unlike traditional design software that requires downloading and installation, Canva runs in your web browser. This makes it easy to start designing without any setup.
  3. User-Friendly Interface: With its intuitive drag-and-drop interface, Canva appeals to beginners and those looking to create designs quickly. The learning curve is minimal, so you can get started right away.
  4. Cross-Platform Collaboration: Share your Canva designs with team members or clients across various platforms. Collaborate in real-time and see changes as they happen.
  5. Mobile App Availability: Canva’s mobile app ensures that you can create, edit, and share designs on the go.

Adobe InDesign Accessibility

adobe creative cloud

Adobe InDesign offers a different level of accessibility, catering mainly to professional designers. Here’s how InDesign is accessed:

  1. Desktop Application: Adobe InDesign is a desktop application, meaning it requires installation on a Windows or Mac computer. This may limit its accessibility compared to web-based platforms.
  2. Professional Interface: InDesign’s interface is designed for professional use, offering advanced features and controls. This makes it less accessible to beginners but provides a powerful tool for experienced designers.
  3. Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud: Accessing InDesign through the Adobe Creative Cloud enables smooth integration with other Adobe tools, enhancing the workflow for professionals.
  4. System Requirements: Being a robust design tool, Adobe InDesign requires specific system specifications to run smoothly. These requirements might restrict its accessibility to users with high-end computers.

5. Purpose

When it comes to choosing a graphic design tool, understanding the primary purpose of the tool can greatly influence your decision. Let’s explore how Canva and Adobe InDesign fulfill various needs.

Canva Purpose

Canva is designed with a focus on simplicity and ease of use. Here’s a look at how Canva is used:

  1. Quick Design Creation: Canva’s drag-and-drop functionality makes it perfect for creating simple designs quickly.
  2. Social Media Graphics: The platform offers numerous templates tailored for various social media platforms, aiding in content creation.
  3. Collaboration: Canva provides easy collaboration features, allowing teams to work together efficiently.
  4. Educational and Non-Profit Use: Many educators and non-profits use Canva for presentations, flyers, and other visual content.

Adobe InDesign Purpose

Adobe InDesign is tailored more for professional use. Here’s how it serves its purpose:

  1. Professional Layout Design: Adobe InDesign specializes in creating complex layouts for print and digital media.
  2. Publishing Needs: Many magazines, newspapers, and book publishers use InDesign for its precise control over typography and layout.
  3. Integration with Adobe Suite: Smooth integration with other Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator enhances professional workflow.
  4. High-Quality Output: It offers high-quality outputs for both print and online distribution, essential for professional designers.

6. Target Audience

Understanding the target audience of a tool can greatly influence your choice, especially when it’s related to your design needs, skill level, and professional goals. So, let’s see who is Canva and Adobe InDesign created for:

Canva Target Audience

I would say Canva is for everybody, which is the mission of the founders in the first place. Here are the groups of target audience that Canva serves:

  1. Beginners and Non-Designers: With its user-friendly interface, Canva appeals to those without formal design training.
  2. Small Business Owners: Entrepreneurs find Canva’s ready-to-use templates and designs ideal for marketing materials.
  3. Content Creators: Bloggers, YouTubers, and social media influencers utilize Canva for visually appealing content.
  4. Educators and Students: Its accessibility and ease of use make it popular among teachers and students alike.

Adobe Indesign Target Audience

Adobe Indesign is created to focus on serving designers who need to create materials of multiple pages like magazines and books. Here are some of those it serves:

  1. Professional Designers: With advanced features, Adobe InDesign caters to professional graphic designers seeking in-depth control.
  2. Publishing Houses: It’s a preferred tool for many publishing professionals due to its robust capabilities.
  3. Corporate Marketing Teams: Marketing professionals in large corporations use InDesign for creating branding and advertising materials.
  4. Design Students and Educators: Being a part of the standard design curriculum, InDesign is widely used among design students and educators.

Alternatives and Similar Tools

InDesign Alternatives and Other Design Tools

Microsoft Publisher, Swift Publisher, and Affinity Publisher are alternatives to InDesign, offering various features for layout design.

Photo Editing and Stock Photo Options

Adobe Photoshop offers advanced photo editing, while both platforms integrate with stock photo libraries like Adobe Stock.

Design for Various Media Types

Print Design and Digital Content

Both platforms cater to a wide range of print design and digital content creation needs. Adobe InDesign often is chosen by professional graphic designers for its complex layout and collaboration features, while Canva offers pre-designed templates for quick and appealing results.

Graphics, Fonts, and More

Whether it’s designing with Adobe Fonts, using graphics in Canva design, or selecting the perfect stock images, you have all you need for compelling visual content.


Is Canva Comparable To InDesign?

Yes — Canva and InDesign are both tools used for graphic design, but they cater to different audiences. Canva is known for its user-friendly interface and is suitable for beginners or those who need to create designs quickly.

InDesign offers more advanced features and controls, making it suitable for professional designers. While comparable in their purpose, their functionalities and target audiences differ significantly.

Is Canva Similar To Adobe?

Yes — Canva and Adobe’s tools (such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator) are used for graphic design, but they serve different needs. Canva offers pre-designed templates and a drag-and-drop interface that’s accessible to non-designers.

Adobe’s tools, part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, offer more sophisticated capabilities and are generally preferred by professional designers. They’re similar in the field they serve, but their applications and complexities vary.

What Is One Alternative For Adobe InDesign?

One popular alternative to Adobe InDesign is Affinity Publisher. Like InDesign, Affinity Publisher provides a professional-grade platform for layout design and desktop publishing.

It offers precision, customization, and advanced features similar to InDesign but at a lower price point, making it a suitable option for designers looking for high-end results without an Adobe subscription.

How Do Designers Feel About Canva?

Designers’ feelings about Canva can vary widely based on their needs and expertise. Many designers appreciate Canva’s ease of use, wide range of templates, and accessibility to non-professionals. It’s seen as a valuable tool for quick social media graphics or simple designs.

However, some professional designers might feel that Canva options are limited in comparison to more advanced tools like Adobe Creative Suite, and might prefer the control and customization that those platforms provide.

Having been a graphic designer since 2005, I love using Canva and Adobe programs. There are times I choose one over the other, as well as both for one design project. I feel that Canva is a great tool to create drafts, mockups, and any graphics that I want to test and experiment with my ideas.

However, Canva is not so good for me if my clients or projects require customized graphics. For example, when I was working with Twitter and Samsung, they have strict brand guidelines, colors, and elements that need more precise adjustments.

In that case, I can’t just go to Canva, take a template, and whip up something that they can use for their campaigns and marketing materials. I have to create something more original and the tools in Canva can’t help me with that at this point in time.

Why Don’t Designers Use Canva?

Some designers might choose not to use Canva for a few reasons:

  1. Limited Control: Canva’s user-friendly interface means that some customization options available in professional design software might be restricted.
  2. Professional Needs: For complex projects that require fine-tuned adjustments, advanced features, or specific file formats, designers may find Canva lacking.
  3. Originality: Canva’s pre-designed templates can lead to similar-looking designs, and designers aiming for a unique aesthetic may prefer to build from scratch in other platforms.

It’s worth noting that many designers do use Canva, particularly for quick projects, prototyping, or tasks that don’t require advanced design software.

Why Is InDesign Better Than Canva?

Why InDesign is “better” than Canva is dependent on the context and the specific needs of the user. Here’s why some might consider InDesign superior:

  1. Advanced Features: InDesign provides professional-grade tools for layout design, typography, and precise control over every design element.
  2. Professional Use: InDesign is tailored for professional designers working on complex print and digital media layouts, offering more robust features suitable for detailed work.
  3. Integration with Other Adobe Tools: InDesign seamlessly integrates with other Adobe Creative Cloud tools like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, allowing for a more cohesive workflow.
  4. Customization: Unlike Canva’s more template-driven approach, InDesign allows full customization, enabling designers to create unique and intricate designs.

However, InDesign’s learning curve and price might make it less suitable for casual users or those new to graphic design, for whom Canva might be the more appropriate choice. Therefore, the “better” tool depends largely on the individual user’s needs, skills, and budget.

Do Real Graphic Designers Use Canva?

Yes — Many real graphic designers do use Canva, especially for quick projects or when working with clients who may need a simple and accessible design solution.

Canva’s user-friendly interface and extensive library of pre-designed templates can save time in creating social media posts, presentations, or basic marketing materials.

While Canva might not be the primary tool for complex or highly customized designs, it does have a place in a graphic designer’s toolkit, depending on the project and the client’s needs.

Do Professionals Use InDesign?

Yes — Adobe InDesign is a widely-used tool among professional designers. Known for its advanced features, precision controls, and robust capabilities, InDesign is the go-to choice for creating print and digital media layouts.

Professionals use it for designing magazines, brochures, eBooks, posters, and more. Its integration with other Adobe Creative Cloud tools, such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, makes it an essential part of many professional designers’ workflows.

Who Is Canva Best For?

Canva is best suited for:

  1. Beginners and Non-Designers: Its intuitive interface and drag-and-drop functionality make it easy for those without design experience to create visually appealing content.
  2. Small Business Owners: With a vast array of templates, Canva provides quick and cost-effective design solutions for marketing materials, presentations, and social media graphics.
  3. Educators and Students: Canva offers educational templates and resources, making it useful for classroom materials and student projects.
  4. Content Creators and Social Media Managers: Canva’s quick design tools and templates tailored to different social media platforms make it an efficient tool for regular content creation.
  5. Professional Designers for Quick Tasks: Even seasoned designers might use Canva for rapid prototyping or when the project doesn’t require advanced design software.

Canva’s flexibility and ease of use make it suitable for a wide range of users, from professionals needing a quick design solution to complete beginners looking to create attractive visual content.

What Is Canva Best For?

Canva is best for creating visually appealing content with ease and speed. It is particularly suited for:

  1. Social Media Graphics: With templates tailored to different platforms, Canva simplifies creating engaging social media posts.
  2. Presentations: Ready-made slide designs help in crafting professional presentations quickly.
  3. Marketing Materials: Small businesses and entrepreneurs can create flyers, brochures, and advertisements without needing extensive design knowledge.
  4. Simple Design Needs: Its user-friendly interface allows beginners to design visually attractive content without a steep learning curve.

Why Is Canva Better Than Adobe?

The idea that Canva is “better” than Adobe depends on the context and the user’s specific needs. Some reasons users might prefer Canva over Adobe tools might include:

  1. Ease of Use: Canva’s drag-and-drop interface makes it accessible to non-designers.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Canva offers many free options, while Adobe’s professional tools require subscriptions.
  3. Templates: Extensive library of pre-designed templates accelerates the design process.
  4. Accessibility: Canva’s web-based platform allows access from different devices without needing installation.

However, professional designers seeking advanced features and customization might prefer Adobe’s more robust suite of tools.

Which Is Better: Adobe Illustrator Or Canva?

Comparing Adobe Illustrator and Canva depends on the user’s needs, skills, and the specific project:

  • Adobe Illustrator: Best for professional graphic designers, Illustrator offers advanced capabilities for creating vector graphics, intricate illustrations, logos, and more. Its wide range of tools and precision controls allows for highly customized designs.
  • Canva: More suited for beginners, small business owners, and those needing to create designs quickly without detailed customization. Its pre-designed templates and simple interface make it ideal for social media graphics, basic marketing materials, and presentations.

Ultimately, “better” is subjective and based on the individual’s requirements and preferences. Illustrator offers a professional-grade, comprehensive solution, while Canva provides an accessible and efficient platform for simpler design needs.

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