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Topics Map > Employee Handbook > 1.2 Policy Statements & Employee Guidance > 1.2.1 Accessibility

Canva use in Extension

This document provides guidance for the use of Canva graphic design software by staff at UW-Madison Division of Extension.

What is Canva

Canva is a web-based graphic design tool with pre-made templates and graphics. Some Extension professionals use Canva as one of many platforms to create flyers, posters, infographics, and other materials. It has also been popular with county support staff as an alternative to the Adobe software which is not licensed to POI accounts.


UW-Madison does not provide Enterprise site licenses for Canva. Canva Education licenses are limited to K-12 and not available to higher-ed. Canva does provide a basic, free plan as well as a paid Pro plan. Purchase of Pro licenses must be coordinated with your supervisor. For further questions, contact Extension Educational Technology Support (ETS).

Accessibility issues with creating materials in Canva

PDF documents generated by Canva do not meet Section 508 accessibility compliance which is required by UW-Madison Web Accessibility Policy without additional work with tools such as Adobe Acrobat DC. 

Key Issues

  • No option for adding Alternative Text to images
    • Alternative Text or “Alt text” provides descriptions of images that can be read by screen readers. Currently, Canva does not have the capability for setting alternative text on images
  • No option for creating a document structure
    • Creating document structures through the incorporation of headings, subheadings, etc. improves the accessibility of documents. Currently, Canva does not support generating structured documents. As a result, the order of text on PDFs that are read through a screen reader becomes jumbled. 


Materials (flyers, posters, brochures, infographics, etc) created in Canva may be used for print distribution. If the materials are being distributed digitally as a PDF or image, they must either be made accessible or be presented with the same information in an accessible format. Digital distribution includes web pages, email attachments, and social media.

Employees choosing to use Canva for digital distribution are responsible for meeting the UW-Madison Web Accessibility Policy.


Canva requires signing up for an online account. When creating an account, use a strong password that is different from your other login credentials. Do not re-use passwords. Using a password manager is recommended.


Canva is not a supported campus tool. Extension Educational Technology Support does not provide support for Canva. Other options include:

Keywordscanva software accessiblity   Doc ID111827
OwnerKevin G.GroupExtension Handbook
Created2021-06-21 15:51:58Updated2023-03-02 11:58:40
SitesExtension Handbook
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