Digital Asset Management app

Retrieve content from a backend and make it available to a Canva app.

You can build a digital asset management (DAM) app that retrieves content from a backend and makes it available to a Canva app.

To help you get started, Canva has created a template in canva-sdks/canva-apps-sdk-starter-kit.

This article explains how to access the template, install dependencies, and start customizing your new app.

Create a new app in the Developer Portal. For more information, see Creating apps.

  1. Clone the canva-sdks/canva-apps-sdk-starter-kit repo.

    git clone [email protected]:canva-sdks/canva-apps-sdk-starter-kit.git
  2. Use npm to install the required packages:

    cd canva-apps-sdk-starter-kit
    npm install
    cd examples/digital_asset_management
    npm install @canva/app-components@latest

Open the .env file and add your CANVA_APP_ID. To find this value, open Your apps, find the app you created in step 1, and copy the ID from the App ID column.

CANVA_APP_ID=<your App ID>

You run the app locally to get a preview of what it will look like.

  1. In the canva-apps-sdk-starter-kit directory, run npm.

    npm start digital_asset_management
  2. In Your apps, select your app, then Configure your app > App source > Development URL.

  3. In the Development URL field, enter the URL of the Development URL (Frontend).

  4. Click Preview. This opens a new tab in the Canva editor, with your app in the sidebar.

  5. Click Open. This message only appears when using an app for the first time.

The example DAM app should now be running locally. In the preview, you can see tabs called All, Collection, and Assets. This procedure demonstrates how to rename a tab.

  1. In your IDE, open the canva-apps-sdk-starter-kit/examples/digital_asset_management/config.ts file.

  2. In config.ts, change label: "Folders", to label: "My Folders",

    containerTypes: [
    value: "folder",
    label: "Folders",
    listingSurfaces: [
    { surface: "HOMEPAGE" },
    surface: "CONTAINER",
    parentContainerTypes: ["folder"],
    { surface: "SEARCH" },
    searchInsideContainer: {
    enabled: true,
    placeholder: "Search for resources inside this folder",
  3. Save the changes to config.ts.

  4. Click to reload the app. The renamed tab should now be visible in the preview.

Screenshot featuring the reload button

To retrieve digital assets, connect the app to your backend. For more information, see Using a backend.

Update your app to add user authentication. You can use frictionless or manual authentication:

  • Frictionless: To implement frictionless authentication, add App ID and JWT verification middleware to your app. This approach uses the auth.getCanvaUserToken() method to receive a JWT. For more information, see Verifying JWTs. For an example, see the authentication demo in the canva-apps-sdk-starter-kit repository.
  • Manual: Alternatively, you can configure your app for manual authentication with a third-party platform.

To customize the view, container type, layout, search, and more, see the SearchableListView component.

Once your app is ready, submit it on the Developer Portal. For more information, see Submitting apps.