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Unlock Your Creativity: Designing Digital Planner Tabs with Canva, Keynote, Google Slides, and Affinity Publisher

Unlock Your Creativity: Designing Digital Planner Tabs with Canva, Keynote, Google Slides, and Affinity Publisher

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Welcome to the wonderful world of digital planner tabs! These little organizational gems can transform your digital planning experience, making it easier than ever to access different sections of your planner and stay on top of your goals. With the right tools, you can create beautiful and functional tabs that reflect your unique style. In this guide, we’ll explore cost-effective solutions like Canva, Keynote, Google Slides, and Affinity Publisher to help you design the perfect digital planner tabs. So, whether you’re a seasoned creator or just starting, let’s dive in and unlock your creativity!

Embrace Your Inner Organizer with Digital Planner Tabs

Get ready to jump into the delightful world of digital planner tabs! 🌈 These little organizational superheroes can revolutionize your digital planning adventures, making it a breeze to zip through your planner and conquer your goals like a boss.

Now, let’s not forget the secret sauce: planning out your tab content! ✨ By mapping out the content you want in each tab, you’ll create a personalized navigation system tailored to your unique needs, ensuring that you’re always just a click away from planner paradise. 💖

So, buckle up, planner enthusiasts! We’re about to embark on a fun-filled journey of designing fabulous tabs that not only look amazing but also supercharge your productivity.

Magical Tools for Digital Planner Tab Creation with a Low or No Cost

Here at PrintablesBuzz, we’re all about bringing you cost-effective magic for your creative needs! 💰✨ Why break the bank on pricey tools when you can create swoon-worthy digital planner tabs for free, or just a tiny investment? 🤑

Our go-to tool is Affinity Publisher, a powerhouse of a design tool sprinkled with mesmerizing features that make crafting those digital planner tabs an absolute party! 🎊 With a one-time entry fee of around $65 (at the time of writing), it’s a steal for all the planner and printable goodness you’ll create. 🌟

But wait, there’s more! You can also tap into the boundless world of freebies with fantastic tools like Canva, Google Slides, and Keynote (for our Mac-loving friends) at your fingertips. 🌈 Let the creative fiesta begin! 🎉 Next up, let’s check out what you can do with Canva.

Elevate Your Digital Planner: Design Polished Digital Planner Tabs
Elevate Your Digital Planner: Design Polished Digital Planner Tabs

Creating Digital Planner Tabs with Canva

In the Canva – verse you can also create tabs on your planners. For small fun planners, Canva is a great place to start. But the limit to the number of hyperlinked pages in a planner on Canva is a small drawback. But the tools in Canva are amazing! So it’s a great free place to make a digital planner if you are ready to make a digital planner for free.

Customizable Digital Planner Tabs Created In Canva For Cost-Effective Digital Planning
Learn how to create your own digital planner tabs in Canva with this step-by-step guide from

Once again in Canva, you make your tabs by adding a rectangle to the page, sizing it, and aligning it along the edge. Add your text and a hyperlink and you’re good to go. This does work well.

Canva doesn’t have the design option to add depth to a shape. To get that real tab look and feel you will have to do a little more work.

To add depth it’s possible to search and find elements in Canva that will add the shadow, and layering shapes will give you the “pillow” look, but it will take you a little more time to get that professional look and feel. Have fun with Canva! It’s a great tool to dip your toes in and play with creating a planner.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Canva

To truly unleash your Canva superpowers, follow these nifty tips and tricks! 🚀

First, keep an eye out for Canva’s ever-growing library of free elements, as they regularly add new goodies to the mix.

Next, use the “lock” feature to secure elements in place, ensuring your designs stay picture-perfect.

Finally, don’t forget to save your tabs as templates, making it a breeze to whip up consistent and fabulous designs in the future. Happy creating! 🌟

Keynote: Your Key to Brilliant Digital Planner Tabs

Keynote is an extremely popular tool for creating planners in general. You can create your tabs right in this tool, and have a fantastic planner with depth and a unique personality. (Are planners human? haha)

But your planner should share your personality. So let’s get this show started with a little “how to” around Keynote.

In Keynote you will want to play around with the Document settings before you make your tabs. The default page size of a Keynote file is 1024 x 768 pts. So we need to do a little math, to get a standard 8.5 11-inch page.

There are 72 pts in an inch so the page size will be 612 pts X 792 pts for a portrait planner that is 8.5 x 11 inches. You adust this under the document settings in Keynote.

Once you have your page setup, we follow the same steps to create planner tabs:

  1. Add a shape (usually a rectangle/square)
  2. Add color and dimension to your shape
  3. Position the shape
  4. Add your hyperlink

In Keynote we like to add tabs to a Slide Master. This allows us to apply the tabs to all of our pages and limit the number of edits that need to be done. In Keynote you can’t apply a Slide Master to other Slide Masters, but it still saves time.

So create your tabs page as a slide master.

Sleek Digital Planner Tabs Designed In Keynote For A Polished Look
Elevate your digital planner with these professional tabs designed in Keynote, courtesy of (Created on the Master Slide)

To us, the major perk of Keynote is the ease of creating depth to the tab and page. We still haven’t perfected this look in Affinity Publisher. But we are still trying. It’s totally possible.

The downfall is that you must recreate this base on all the pages. This means every hyperlink has to be recreated on every Slide Layout. This can cost a lot of time, and this time is saved with Affinity Publisher.

If this is your tool of choice to make digital planners with tabs, we hope this helps you create amazing tabs!

Make Easy-To-Customize Digital Planner Tabs In Google Slides
Make Easy-to-Customize Digital Planner Tabs in Google Slides

Google Slides: The Ultimate Collaboration Tool for Digital Planner Tabs

Google Slides is a free choice for creating tabs and digital planners. If you have a Google email account then you have Google Slides. This free tool is easy to share and easy to work with.

The free and easy tool is great for team projects because the file is in the “cloud”, and you can share edit rights with your team.

So with all this free”ness”, and ease of sharing why is Google Slides not our go-to?

This is sticky… We like a tool that reduces our workload. The biggest worry is that every time you create a hyperlink you are creating a chance to mess something up. LOL, Some digital planners with tabs have over 1000 links, and some tools reduce the chance of messing up a link.

In Google slides you can create nice-looking digital planner tabs, and there for a nice-looking digital planner. But the workload to link everything is going to be more than it would be in a tool like Affinity Publisher.

Since we don’t use this tool we had to go check it out and see how to do the tabs. The document is a bit more complicated to set up so let’s start at the beginning.

  1. Click File->Page setup
  2. Set your page size to custom
  3. Set your page size (We chose 8.5 x 11 inches)
  4. Set your Theme (We chose Simple Light)
  5. Click Slide
  6. Click Edit Theme
  7. Click Edit – Top Nav
  8. Click Duplicate
  9. Rename the Theme (We called it Planner Theme)
  10. Delete the Default Theme Pages

Boy, that is a lot of setup and we haven’t even gotten to the tabs yet!

The perk of creating your tabs in the Theme is just like slide masters in Keynote, it does reduce the number of times you create the links. So this work is worth it.

Once you have your Theme setup, you will want to create rectangles down the side of the page, add a drop shadow, color, and possibly even reflections.

You can double-click on the shape and add your text. This can be formatted in the Format Options from the top bar. If the text needs to be rotated you will need to resize your rectangle to fit the text and then rotate the rectangle. It’s not possible to rotate the text. (Such a pain!)

Easy-To-Make Digital Planner Tabs Designed In Google Slides For Budget-Friendly Planning
Create stunning digital planner tabs on a budget with this guide from using Google Slides(Created in the Theme Slide)

Overall Google Slides is a good option for creating a simple digital planner with tabs. But we wouldn’t use it for a big planner with all the things.

Google Slides does make it quite easy to create a small planner and it’s definitely an option to consider if you’re making a planner for yourself. But if you’re making a planner to sell in your Etsy shop or your shop, definitely consider a more powerful solution.

Take Your Digital Planning To The Next Level: Design Professional Tabs With Affinity Publisher
Take Your Digital Planning to the Next Level: Design Professional Tabs with Affinity Publisher

Design Like a Pro: Digital Planner Tabs in Affinity Publisher

And now our very favorite tool! And no we are not an affiliate of Affinity Publisher (mainly because they don’t have an affiliate program… 😂)

But in our mind for making custom planners and journals with tabs, Affinity Publisher is the very best choice and you can do it all here. Including covers, stickers, and templates. . If your new to this tool take a quick peak at our post How to Create a Digital Planner in Affinity Publisher, it will map out each step.

Creating tabs in Affinity Publisher is as easy as creating the shape of your tab, and adding a bit of text and a hyperlink to the tab. What we like about Affinity Publisher is the ease of adding shadows and depth to the tab with Layer Effects. The Layer Effects in Publisher allow you to make tabs that really pop.

And Affinity Publisher helps you track all those hyperlinks in a panel and even alerts you before publishing if there are errors. This feature makes it the winner in the race to produce digital and printable planners.

Expertly Crafted Digital Planner Tabs Made In Affinity Publisher For Professional Planning
Take your digital planning to the next level with professional tabs created in Affinity Publisher, as featured on’s Shortcuts to Create a Digital Planner course(Created on Master Page)

Tips for Choosing the Right Tool for Your Digital Planner Tabs

So now that you’ve looked at all the options for creating digital planner tabs are you more confused than before?

Maybe you landed here because you already have a platform picked out, and just needed a kick-start for your platform. But if you are trying to figure out which one to choose, I don’t want to leave you wondering.

Below we will break down how we choose the platform.

When to Choose Affinity Publisher for Digital Planners Or Printable Planners

Affinity Publisher, Yes!

To choose a platform for our planners and journals we start by asking these questions:

  1. Is it dated?
  2. Do we want to change styles and colors later and create a series of the same planner?
  3. Is it a large project spanning over 6 months’ worth of pages?
  4. Do we want to make a digital planner with tabs and a printable planner in the same style?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then the winner is Affinity Publisher always.

With Affinity Publisher, we have a lot of flexibility.

This flexibility makes it a great choice in almost all situations.

Affinity Publisher, No!

To us, the only reason to not use Affinity Publisher is that it costs. We totally get not everyone can spend 60+ on the tool. But if you have the ability, it’s an amazing tool and it can save you a ton of hours once you learn how to use it.

If the Affinity Publisher is not for you then the choice is a little more convoluted.

When to Choose Canva for Digital Planners Or Printable Planners

Canva is a fun tool, and it’s free! So why not use it for all planners? Well, there are a few reasons on both sides of this equation.

Canva, Yes!

If you have a small planner with limited digital planner tabs with hyperlinks then Canva is a good choice. It’s also great for personal projects because they have a free option.

Canva, No!

  1. There is a limit to the number of hyperlinks that will work on Canva the number is not documented on, it was 50. You will be alerted if you reach the limit.
  2. Changing colors and fonts take a lot longer in a large file.
  3. It’s harder to make standards for your file, so it takes more proofreading and looking for differences across all the pages.
  4. No master pages or Slide Masters so you have to recreate all those tabs with hyperlinks on every page.

If you have a large digital planner with tabs, this process can become very time-consuming and you are better off choosing a different tool.

When to Choose Keynote for Digital Planners Or Printable Planners

Keynote, Yes!

If you don’t have access to Affinity Publisher, and your planner is on the larger side or it’s a professional project, then Keynote is our second favorite choice.

In Keynote, you can make digital planner tabs on a master slide and then copy them to all your master slides. This reduces the workload. You can also create styles, and reduce your workload that way.

We have created a lot of planners in Keynote, and our friend Melody does an amazing job teaching you how to create planners on this platform.

Keynote, No!

Keynote will not work for you if you don’t have a Mac. They do have a PC version, but we don’t recommend using the PC version because it’s not a full version and it has issues with creating the hyperlinks for your digital planner tabs when you export the PDF.

In the Windows world, you will want to use PowerPoint. Although I (Michelle) am a certified Microsoft Office Trainer, I have not created a planner in PowerPoint, so I don’t have a lot of tips for you on that front. I know it’s possible and several people can help you get off the ground with PowerPoint.

When to Choose Google Slides for Digital Planners Or Printable Planners

I included Google Slides as an option here because it’s free. But I am not an expert. It is possible to create hyperlinked digital planner tabs in Google Slides, but I can’t in good conscience tell you when to use it and when to avoid it.

What I can share is, I am an experimenter. I have played with Google Slides a little beyond the demo screenshots here. But I don’t like the look and feel of the samples I tried in Google Slides.

If you choose Google Slides as your platform, just make sure the end product is something you are going to be proud of using or selling.

In the end, the platform you choose is primarily a personal choice. There isn’t a wrong answer unless you have too many hyperlinks for Canva to create. Don’t let the platform choice bog you down, you can also switch later!

Get Ready to Plan Your Life with Stunning Digital Planner Tabs

Congratulations on taking the first step toward designing captivating digital planner tabs! By now, you should have a solid understanding of how to use Canva, Keynote, Google Slides, and Affinity Publisher to create your own beautiful, functional tabs.

Remember, the key to successful digital planning is finding the right tools that work for you and your unique needs. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and customize your tabs until you find the perfect fit. Now, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge into action and start organizing your life with the help of your stunning digital planner tabs. Happy planning!


How do you structure a digital planner?

The digital planner structure will depend on the content of the planner. Once you decide the design and layout of each page it’s time to decide the layout and structure of your planner. We use a planner design document to keep the colors, fonts and styles consistent throughout the planner. We also use this document to plan the links in the planner and the anchors for the Affinity Publisher data merge.

Are digital planners just PDFs?

A digital planner is an interactive PDF, it often looks like a traditional paper planner. The PDF includes hyperlinks to different pages in the planner making navigation easier. Using an application like GoodNotes on your tablet allows you to write in the planner, add digital stickers and interact with the digital planner just like you would a paper planner.

How to make and sell digital planners?

How to Make Digital Planners to Sell Step by Step
1. Decide your platform. The here are several paid and free options.
2. Plan your content. (What digital planner templates do you want in your planner?) 3. Design your templates and planner
4. Test your digital planner and make sure the links work
5. Export you PDF Planner
6. Create Mockup Graphics for your planner product
7. Create a shop description
8. Determine the price
9. Add to your store. (PayHip (free), GumRoad, Shopify, Etsy)
10. Share your product links in Blog Posts, Social Media, Pinterest and more.
Check out our post on How to Create Digital Planners

Can you actually make money selling digital planners?

You can make money selling digital planners. Digital planners are great for people that like all their information in one place. Digital Planner creation allows you to make some extra money. Making the planner only requires a computer and very limited design skills.

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