If you need to design a certificate and don’t have the time or money to have one created, Google Docs is an amazing tool. Not only is it a free alternative to Microsoft Word, it also allows you to design and create a number of projects.
How do you design a certificate in Google Docs? Here is how to design a certificate in Google Docs:
- Create & Orient a New Document
- Create a Border
- Add Text
- Add a Signature Line
- Add a Seal
To help make your life a little easier, I’ve broken these steps down to help you create your own certificate in Google Docs.
5 Steps to Creating a Certificate in Google Docs
Whether you’re a teacher looking to create a simple certificate for their students or a manager needing to create a certificate for your “employee of the month”, Google Docs is the only software you need to get the job done.
I created my own certificate using Google Docs and broke it down into 5 simple steps so you can see how easy it really is.
Before I started creating my own certificate, I did a quick google image search for generic certificates. I looked through 20 pictures or so before I decided on my top 3.
Once I narrowed down what I liked, I left the images open in a seperate tab so I could easily reference them as I began working. This helped me understand what I did or did not like about each certificate. There is a huge variety in the border options, text placement, and color schemes you can try.
Step 1 – Creating a New Document
To get started you are going to want to open Google Docs and start a new “blank document”. Once open, you can name your file in the upper left-hand corner.
One of the great things about Google Docs is that it auto-saves all your work. The days of forgetting to save your work are long gone.
I wanted to change the orientation of my certificate to landscape to give it the feel of a real certificate. You can do this by selecting “file” and then “page setup” in the upper left-hand corner of the page. By selecting this, it will bring up a page to adjust your page settings.
I changed the orientation from “portrait” to “landscape” and left all options the same. Feel free to play around with different margins or page colors to suit your needs.
#2 – Creating a Border
While gathering inspiration for my certificate, I noticed that the majority of other certificates had borders on them. I decided my certificate needed a border. Unlike Microsoft Word, there is no option to add in a border in Google Docs.
Just because there is no border option, does not mean it’s impossible to create a border. It just means you need to get creative in creating your own border. I discovered two different methods to create your border.
Using a Table
One simple way to create your own border is to do so using a table. You can add the table in by selecting “Insert” in the menu bar and then “table – 1×1”.
This will create a table in your document. From there adjust the size of the table by dragging the bottom line of the table down to fill the whole page.
Once you have adjusted your table to your liking you can click on it to adjust the size, color and style of it.
Using an Image as a Border
The alternative to using a table border for your certificate would be to find an existing border on the internet and upload it to put on your document.
To add your image you are going to go to “Insert” in the menu bar and then select “Drawing – + New”.
Once the draw tool has opened up, go ahead and upload your border using the image button. Select “Save and Close” once uploaded and this will add your border to your document.
Adjust your border to fill the page for your certificate.
I found my border on Clip-Art Library which has a wide selection of free clip art images for your personal use. When using an image found on the internet, please make sure you have the proper licensing to use it.
#3 – Adding Text
Now comes the fun part, adding text to your certificate. The font you choose is going to set the tone for your certificate. You can choose to use the fonts that Google Docs provides, or you can use an “add-on” to access more fonts. For my certificate, I used the Extensis Fonts add-on for Google Docs.
There are a few ways to do this depending on if you used a table border or an image border. Let me break it down for you.
Adding Text with a Table Border – Option #1
If you choose to use a table border, you have two different options as to how you can add text onto your certificate. The first option would be to write in the document like you would any word document.
I chose to format the text in the center of the document and just down 4 lines so my text wasn’t right at the top of the page.
When I was gathering information for my certificate, I noticed that most generic certificates will use the first line to acknowledge what the certificate is for (i.e. employee of the month, certificate of completion, etc.).
Feel free to use whatever font, color and size you wish for this. I used the Algreya SC font in the size 36. When I was searching for inspiration, one thing I liked on other certificates was when they would use a script style font for the “of”. To get that look, I used the Aquafina Script font.
Your next few lines of your certificate should state that the certificate is being awarded or acknowledge completion of a project or class, and who it is being awarded to. You can use phrases such as “proudly awarded to” or “acknowledging successful completion of”.
I started my certificate by jumping down 2 lines from the “Certificate of Completion”, downsizing the front to 18 and changing the color to black.
Feel free to play around with different fonts, sizes, colors and bolding to make your certificate your own.
Adding Text with a Table Border – Option #2
The second option to adding text for your certificate would be to create a text box using the draw tool. One benefit to using the draw tool rather than just typing the text in, you are able to play around more with the format on the page.
Please note when using the draw tool, any add-on fonts will not be available for use.
To get started, create a new drawing just like previously mentioned for adding an image border. Once the draw tool is open, select the “text box” icon to create a new text box.
Once the text box tool opens, drag the box out to fit your sizing needs. Insert your text here rather than on the document itself . Play around with alignment, sizing, fonts and colors just like you would if you were typing it on the document.
For my certificate, I used the EB Garamond and Pinyon Script fonts.
Once you get your text to your liking, select “Save and Close”. Your text should now be inside your certificate, drag and position to your liking.
Adding Text with an Image Border
Adding text to an image border is similar to adding text with the draw tool with a table border. The only difference between the two is when adding text to a certificate with an image border, you’ll need to modify your existing drawing you created to add your image border.
You will not be able to use add-on fonts with this option. You will only be able to use the fonts that Google Docs provides.
To do this, you’ll need to double click on your image border. This will re-open the draw tool with your image border.
Create a text box to fit the inside of the border and fill with your text. Once finished select “Save and Close”. Your text should now be in your certificate.
#4 – Adding a Signature Line
By now your certificate should be looking like the real deal, only need to add a few more small things until it’s good to go.
A signature is one of the most important aspects of a certificate. Not only does the signature acknowledge the award, it also certifies it.
How do you add a signature line in? The process is very simple and involves using the draw tool.
Creating a Signature Line with a Table Border
To create your signature line, create a new drawing. One the draw tool is open, select the line tool to create a horizontal line.
Once you have adjusted the size of your line to your liking, create a text box positioned underneath the line. You can use this text box to list the title of the person signing it, or use it as a printed version of the name.
You can choose to make a text box on top of the line and use a script font as your “signature” or you can leave it blank and sign once the certificate has been printed.
Creating a Signature Line with an Image Border
If you are using an image border, it is important to note that you will need to edit your existing drawing just like we did for adding a text box.
To get started, double click on your image to re-open the draw tool. Use the line tool to create a horizontal line. Once you size the line to your liking, create a text box underneath the line for the title or name for the signature.
Format the signature line on the certificate and click “Save and Close”
#5 – Adding in a Seal
The final step to creating your certificate is adding the seal of approval. This step is optional by the way, if you like the way your certificate looks without it, feel free to stop here.
Just like every other step, the process is going to differ if you’ve chosen to use a table border or an image border.
Adding a Seal with a Table Border
If you’re adding in a seal with a table border, you have two options. You can choose to pick out your seal before you add it to your certificate, or you can choose to use Google Image Search to select your seal.
If you have a seal picked out or maybe a company logo you want to use, select “Insert” in the top menu bar and select “Image – Upload From Computer”. This will prompt you to select your pre-saved image on your computer.
If you haven’t pre-selected an image, you can use the “Search from web” option to find something from Google Images. Please make sure you have the proper licenses and permission to use any images found on Google Images.
For my certificate I used the “search from web” option and searched for “free certificate seal clip art”.
Find the option you list best and insert into your certificate. Adjust the positioning to your liking and you are finished.
Adding a Seal with an Image Border
Like all previous steps with image borders, you will need to edit your existing drawing. To get started, double click on your certificate to re-open the draw tool.
Once the draw tool re-opens, select the image button in the menu bar. This will give you the option to upload your pre-selected image or search for an image using Google Images.
Adjust your image to fit inside the certificate, click “Save and close”, and you’re all finished.
Once you have successfully created your certificate, feel free to print it on any type of paper. A thicker cardstock will give it a more authentic feel, but printer paper works well also.
Why and How Do I Use Google Docs?
According to Google, “Google Docs brings your documents to life with smart editing and styling tools to help you easily format text and paragraphs.” Essentially, Google Docs is a free, web based version of Microsoft Word. All you need to get started is creating a free google account.
Other Methods of Creating a Certificate
Although we now know how easy it is to create your own certificate in Google Docs, there are plenty of other free online tools you can use to create one. Keep reading to find out which one will work best for you.
Google Slides is another free software provided by Google. If Google Docs is the free version of Microsoft Word, Google Slides is the free version of Microsoft Powerpoint.
One easy way to create a certificate using Google Slides, is to use an already made template. Google Slides provides a handful of templates with a few certificate options already created for you.
Simply select the template you would like to use for your certificate and edit it using your Google account. Google makes it very easy to customize the template to make it your own. You can change the color, font and text of the template to fit your needs. Or you can just swap out the text and you have a certificate ready in less than a few minutes.
Certificate Magic is a free, certificate creating website that helps you create simple certificates in minutes. They offer dozens of templates to fit all your certificate needs.
To create your certificate using Certificate Magic, select one of the four options in the design categories. The options are formal, sports, kids and fun.
Once you select the proper category, Certificate Magic will pull up a handful of templates for you to choose from. Select the template you would like and then fill in the prompts for the certificate.
Once completed, Certificate Magic will allow for a one time download of your certificate in PDF format.
Placeit is a graphic design platform that focuses on pre-made templates that users can customize to their needs. They have over 90,000+ templates to choose from, and it’s overall very user-friendly.
Placeit is a great tool for business owners who want professional looking graphics, that they can create themselves. They offer templates for everything from Instagram stories to business cards and resumes, and of course certificates.
Placeit is free to join, but does have premium options for you to purchase.
Pro Tip: Placeit also offers an additional 15% off any plan with this coupon.