How to Outline an Image in Canva

In Canva, the simplest way to outline an image is to use the “Shadows” effect around the image. You can apply this effect to a standard picture or to an image with a transparent background.

Hi there! My name is Yana, and I’ve been working with graphics using Canva and other design tools for the past few years. While Canva does not provide a specific tool for outlining cut-out images, I have discovered several useful techniques that can help you achieve the desired effect.

In this article, I will share two methods to outline an image in Canva, with one being ideal for regular images and the other suitable for transparent backgrounds. Let’s explore each of these methods in more detail.

Key Takeaways

  • Canva doesn’t have a tool that will automatically outline an image, so you can use image effects or add a border to your image.
  • The shadow effect can add a border to any image with a transparent background. You just need to adjust the shadow’s size and transparency.

2 Ways to Outline an Image in Canva

Outlining an image can make it stand out and give it a unique visual appeal. It can also help to draw attention to a specific part of the image. Follow the steps below to create an outline on an image.

Method 1. Outline an Image Using Shapes

For this method, you will combine shapes to your images. It will work for images that have the same shape. 

Step 1. For this example, let’s outline this circle image. First, click on the Elements tab in the menu and select the Lines & Shapes category. Click on the circle shape and add it to your design.

Step 2. Drag the edge of the circle to expand it so it can be bigger than the image. Then right click on the shape and select the option “Send backward”. 

Step 3. Once the circle shape is behind the image, you can adjust its size and position to line them up. This gives the image the effect of an outline. You can change the color or add some effects such as graphics with gradients to the shape.

Step 4. Make sure to group the shape and image together so it becomes one image. You can now move and edit the image without losing the outline. 

Method 2. Outline an Image Using the Shadow Effect

Step 1. Open a new or existing Canva project and upload the image you want to outline. Select the image and click on the Edit image button and then on the Shadows tab

Step 2. Click on the Glow option to create an outline. You can change the size, transparency, blur and color of the shadow effect.

Tip: To achieve the best results, I recommend selecting an outline size between 2 and 15, 100% transparency, and no blur. However, if you prefer a smoother outline effect, you can adjust the setting to a value of 1.

Step 3. When you are happy with the results of the outline, click the Apply button to save the changes.


Here are the frequently asked questions about how to make an outline in Canva.

How Do I Outline a Logo in Canva?

You can outline a logo by using a shape behind it or apply the Shadow effect to add a border.

How Do You Outline a Shape in Canva?

If you need to outline a shape in Canva, click the Border style button to add a border to your shape. You can change the style, color, and size of the border.

Final Thoughts

Even though there is no outline tool in Canva, there are alternative methods to outline an image. You can utilize shapes and shadows to produce outlines around your image, and with some practice, you can accomplish this task in just a few minutes.

Have you tried the methods we discussed in this post? Let us know if you have any other tips to outline an image in Canva in the comments below.

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