How to Turn Off Auto Align in Canva

Alignment of design elements to each other is a key component of graphic design. Neat arrangements of text blocks, icons, shapes, and objects offer a sense of order to what could be just a jumble of stuff. Canva settings default to automatically aligning these elements. But what if you want to turn off this auto align feature?

Auto alignment can be a handy tool in Canva most of the time. If you’re wondering how to turn off auto align when you don’t want it, read on to find out the quick and easy way to disable snapping.

Turning Off Canva’s Auto Align is Simple

Canva’s default is set to automatically align design elements to the margins, grids lines, and to each other. Essentially when you add an element and drag it close to another object or to a margin line, that element will automatically snap together with the already placed object so that they line up perfectly.

From the bird’s eye view of the project, this snapping action can provide cohesiveness and aesthetically pleasing designs – clean and neat, exactly matched objects with an obvious horizontal and vertical feel.

There are times, however, when the snapping tool gets in the way. Maybe you want two objects to be offset from each other just a tiny bit or text overlaid and tilted over a shape. With Canva’s default auto align setting, you won’t have the incremental control needed to move objects in small bits. They will snap together every time.

To avoid being frustrated by things auto aligning in Canva when you’d rather they didn’t, follow these simple steps to turn off Auto Align either indefinitely or temporarily.

Suspend Auto Align Indefinitely

You may be one of those designers who just don’t want Canva to dictate where your design elements go every single time. If you always want to be in charge of placing objects in the blank workspace, your best bet is to turn off Auto Align indefinitely.

Of course the option to turn it back on is always available, but the snap-to feature won’t work until you undo the following steps.

  1. Click on the View tab
  2. Go to Canvas Snapping
  3. Click on Canvas Snapping to disable

Since it’s basically an on/off toggle, clicking on Canvas Snapping again will re-enable this tool and make it the default setting once again.

Suspend Auto Align Temporarily

Sometimes, though, you may have two elements that need to be placed very close to each other. But you don’t want them to line up perfectly. Contrary to your wishes, the snap-to auto align feature will take over and snap the two together in a perfect match.

That’s when temporarily suspending the Auto Align tool comes in handy. You can disable it when working with those particular objects, but it still actually stays on as the default setting. So the next time you’re placing objects, they will snap together as usual.

To temporarily disable Auto Align only takes a couple of mouse clicks.

  1. Click on the object to be moved to highlight it (circles will appear at each corner)
  2. Hold down the CTRL key while you’re clicking on the object
  3. Move and place the object as needed
  4. Release the CTRL key and the mouse at the same time

Remember that Auto Align is still the default so you’ll need to do these steps every time you want manual control over object placement.

Handy Alignment Tools in Canva

Margins and rulers provide a visual guideline as you place objects on the page.

  1. Go to the File tab
  2. Choose Set Rulers and Guides
  3. Choose Show Margins

Once enabled, these features will show up on every page in your design project.

The Position tab helps you quickly align an object to a predefined spot on the page.

  • Top
  • Middle
  • Bottom
  • Left
  • Center
  • Right

For example, to move an object to the top left corner of the page, first click Top then Left.The object is then positioned at the very top left. This placement ignores any margin lines and lines up with the outside edge of the page. 

Tip: Be sure to click on and highlight an element before you work on it. Whatever is highlighted will receive the action.

Final Thoughts

Auto alignment in Canva is a helpful tool most of the time, particularly for less experienced Canva users. For those who want more meticulous control over object placements, knowing how to turn off the Auto Align feature opens up new possibilities for unique graphic designs.