Our guide to 7 free online certificate makers
Do you give out certificates at the end of your training courses? One way of generating the certificates is to use a free online service - there are lots of them. We wanted to find a free service that would allow us to pick a template, make a few edits, upload a spreadsheet of recipient names and then download the completed certificates.
Here are 7 that we looked at - they were all ok, but the spreadsheet bit was hard to find.
All but one fall into two groups. Virtual Badge was the odd one out - a full online certifcate management service with a free option.
Group 1 - you get to choose from a small number of templates. You upload your text (name, course, date etc) and then generate the PDF.
Group 2 - you sign up for an online design tool. You choose a template from a big selection and then you modify the actual design. When you're happy, you download and print out your certificates.
There is actually another option - but more about that at the end. Here are the 7 free online certificate makers that we looked at:
Bannerbear helps you auto generate marketing and social media images and videos. They have a nice, free online certificate service (along with other free generators for invoices, wedding invites, event IDs etc).
- 4 free high quality templates
- A simple online form - name of attendee, subtitle, date and signature
- Up to 5 free certificates per day
Generate and download PDF certificates. No limit on how many you can download in a day. There are more certificate designs than Bannerbear - but slightly less sophisticated designs.
- Different categories of design - sports, formal, kids and fun
- Simple online form for different bits of text that appear on the certificate - more than Bannerbear
- The website says an API is being developed - but the website does look dated, not sure when or even if the API is coming.
Certificate design and download is part of Canva. It’s free but you have to create a Canva account.
- Lot of templates to choose from
- Canva includes various design tools - you get more control over the design
- Designs can then be printed.
Certificate design and download as part of Venngage - similar to Canva. ‘Make Infographics for Everything’.
- Like Canva, with Venngage you can design the actual certificate.
- Again, like Canva you need to login to start a design.
- Certificates are then downloaded and given to attendees/suv=successful learners.
CraftMyPDF is similar to Bannerbear and Certificate Magic. Pick a design, fill out a form and then download your PDF - with the recipient name.
- 6 different templates - the designs are ok
- Add your information - title, recipient, description, date and signature
- There is also an API - so you can automate certificate generation. Links to Google Drive.
Virtual Badge is different form other services we looked at - it's a more comprehensive certificate management service. The free service offers various templates.
- Integration with LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
- You can issue/share certificates online.
- You can upload a .csv file with recipient names - so you can generate multiple certificates
Smilebox’s certificate make includes a lot of certificate templates. Like some of the others we’ve looked at, you have to login to Smilebox to create a certificate.
- A wide selection of templates
- You can music and animations to your certificate
- Certificates are then shared online with recipients
So what is the third option?
- Design your own certificate in Google Slides (or import a free Google Slides template).
- Add all your recipients into a Google Sheet.
- Create an Apps Script to run a mail merge from Google Sheets into Google Slides.
That last step might sound complicated, but it is easier than you think. There is a nice post here that explains how to do it:
The good thing about this approach - it is more powerful. Once you’ve got the hang of the App Script you can get more sophisticated in the information you merge into the certificate from the Google Sheet.