How to use a background image? I want to put tables & text ON TOP OF an image. Is this possible?

Kind of like a PowerPoint slide. I want to put an image in the background and put items over it so it’s not one big boring white document. Is there a way to do this?

No. it is not currently possible.

I’m genuinely not sure what the purpose of Canva is anymore. It seemed great when I signed up but…

  • It’s not great with formatting like literally any other document-oriented product.
  • It has some Excel-like qualities, which is nice, but without most of the features.
  • It’s more interactive than word, but lacks almost all of it’s other options and features
  • It’s not good for project or product management at any sort of scale
  • It’s extremely slow compared to desktop software and even other online PMs and docs
  • Coda’s strength seems to be the capability to build interactive forms, buttons, etc., if you learn the simplified coding language, but to have anyone edit them they have to make a COda account.

What do people actually use Coda for? It’s like they tried to be a jack of all trades with pretty interface and ended up with some bright colors that does none of it terribly well.

What do people actually use Coda for?

I use Coda to run my entire business of 25+ employees including: design, production workflow, warehouse ops, contracts, expenses , HR, payroll, influencer marketing, and the list goes on.

It requires to you invest a bit of time upfront to get used to a slightly different way of doing things, but the pay off at the end is huge: company-wide real time collaboration and data consistency.

However, if you are only interested in counting the number of ‘options and features’ that a product has, then yes, Coda may not be for you. You might instead be setting yourself up to be a prime client for B2B software vendors who will sell you one individual tool for each of the above needs. Each tool will have plenty of ‘options and features’, but you will only use 5% of them in practice and end up with a giant tangled mess of internal tools that don’t talk to each other.


HI Stephen

I would like to change the question around - What did you want to use Coda for? What business need do you have?

Articulate your need, and the community will gladly guide you on how to achieve your objective.

If you are just looking around, I suggest you explore the gallery for inspiration:
There are thousands of examples of what other people have done, over 12 different categories.

I’m really curious how you’re doing that. Most dynamic fields seem to be reliant on tables to somewhere else, and it looks like an enormous amount of effort to achieve something like a standard project manager with a dash of color & documents, one that takes a ton of effort to modify since there are so few options to make multiple edits with single commands. What’s the advantage over Office 365, or a task manager that integrates with Office for documents? While Office has its issues, so far my experience with Office has been faster, dramatically more feature-rich, has more tools that are more powerful, and sync mostly seamlessly.

I like the wiki-like style has going on, but if you’re going to put all that effort in, why not just do something with Access or Sharepoint? Dynamics/the project manager probably integrates with all of that.

I take your point here, but I am typically in that small percentage of users that ends up using more features than most users ever know exist. The internal communication is big, which is why Microsoft strikes a decent medium for me on a lot of things. For task management I’m currently in ClickUp, which is decent, but still riddled with issues. I’m considering trying out Microsoft’s task manager.

I think the issue is more so trying to translate the mindset from MS365 to Coda. Both are very different.

Before I ever worked in Coda, I was only using apps with MS365. My company heavily used Teams, so I tried structuring everything we did with Microsoft Apps so it could all be accessible in Teams w/o extra logins.

I found MS Lists, and being new to anything database related, my mind was blown! Being able to filter different views of data, and have forms that people can submit.

I found Power Automate and was blown away that I could automate literally anything at such a low cost!

SharePoint can organize files and lists, cool!

As I continued using MS’s ecosystem, I got efficient using their apps… and I started seeing limitations… everywhere.

I was wanting to learn PowerApps, but it’s such a large learning curve and if I ever left the company, no one would know how to manage anything I built.

The advanced features of MS Lists is half stuck in 2010 land, and was not intuitive for anyone not me in my company to modify/edit. Not to mention permissions nightmare and a tough time creating relational databases.

Microsoft To-do & MS Projects were so unbelievably limiting and still are, not to mention MS Projects being super expensive.

Managing everything got to be really hard because there were little things everywhere, and as a one-man Mini-IT Team with this company of 180+ employees-- It was way to convoluted.

I found out about Coda, and started using it personally. I was blown away because everything I was building in SharePoint, MS Lists, MS Projects, MS Lists, MS PowerApps, MS PowerAutomate → I could literally recreate every bit with Coda’s tables, buttons, formulas, automations, packs etc…

Manage is so much easier. I can build a robust system for a team in and hour and a half, and document it easily. We can collaborate and share files without needing to use the MS To-Do & Teams threads that get lost in the sea of chats within a few days.

And the biggest thing → I added everyone in my Org to Coda, and integrated my docs as MS Teams tabs for everyone to click on, have their account auto created, auto added to relevant docs, and auto logged-in without them needing to do anything.

We were paying an extremely good price for everyone using it, and it was so easy for me to manage alone.

It’s very much a transition in mindset to go from Microsoft’s Ecosystem to Coda. If you’ve never used databases and tables that can lookup and relate to each other, it’s so easy to miss the power of Coda.

Coda offers the building blocks to build almost any type of app or system. You might be limited by the UI and how you can visually structure things, but you can go extremely far with what’s offered.

I’d encourage you to keep trying things in Coda, and try to structure your mindset in terms of building things and storing data like an app would.

A great first step would be learning to fully understand the beauty of lookup columns and the extent in which they can be used!


Thanks @Micah_Lucero , funnily enough I had been through essentially the exact same path as yourself but from the position of a founder.

I replaced Office365/Lists/ Sharepoint/Power Automate with Coda and never looked back.

The only Office product we still occasionally use is Excel for things like financial modelling, where Coda is not fit for purpose (nor was it ever its intention)


HI Micah

For me this is the crux of the matter. Coda is not so much difficult, as what it is a vey different way of thinking. Before I started using Coda, I was well versed in spreadsheets, word processing, programming and even databases. Coda has all of the above, but with a slightly different approach. It probably took me about a year to adapt to that way of thinking, but once it fell into place, it was wonderful.

I have built some really powerful docs just making use of linking and filtering tables. I am somewhat comfortable with the Coda formula language. (Actually I know it just well enough to realise that there is so much more for me to learn.)

This made me smile. It’s an interesting question. It’s not unlike asking what people actually use spreadsheets for? Or Word - what’s that good for? :wink:

Less enlightened people might get that impression.

At Stream It we have a very different feeling. We use it for about 20 different processes mostly related to measuring AI performance of highway analytics systems. We also use it to gauge automation projects.

This is a Coda “app”. It helps our team collect, analyze, and report AI precision for highway data. It tests a system that collects about a billion vehicle events per year.

This is a Coda “app” as well. Sorry for the redactions. The legal department is where fun goes to die.

And this is also a Coda app. Who new it could serve in a DevOps role?

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I use Coda to manage my entire life! Personally, tables are the key to great Coda docs in my opinion. Sure Word can make a letter look great, but it isn’t as great at combining Excel and Word together or merging the two types of data to work together.

If you compare Coda to Excel, when you open Excel it doesn’t “do” anything. I know people who still put in their numbers in one column, a second set of numbers in another, use a calculator, figure out what they want to know and type that answer into their next column for every stinking row! They still don’t understand what Excel can do because they never learned how formulas work.

Likewise, you can hand me a saw and tell me to make something and I will not be able to complete that task because I never really learned to use saws, drills, etc. If I took the time and learned how those things work and got over my fear of cutting off my finger, I could probably build a bird house or something useful to someone.

Coda, just like any other tool out there, is only as good as the builder. For a lot of people that “/” is a bit overwhelming at first. They don’t know where to start. So I always say start small. Think of a use case, you mentioned task management. Make a table for tasks. Start adding little things, checkbox for done items, date, etc. Then go from there. With Coda it’s more what do you want it to do rather than what can it do. Out of the box, not so much but type some stuff on a page but when you start using tables and formulas and adding images, you will find many uses for it.

I have pages that combine different elements from different tables and pull it all together into a daily page that helps me stay on track and not miss things. Whether it’s managing vehicles, cats (yes, I have a table tracking our cats and their needs), work, notes, tasks, grocery lists, google calendar, package tracking and I could go on and on. My life doc has 176 tables in it and 219 pages! But I can find anything I need in it and it keeps me completely organized. I just wish I had Coda when my kids were younger. Raising 6 children, running a business, homeschooling the kids, etc. I would have loved to have had my Coda doc to manage all that.

For me the question is what “can’t” Coda do. There are some things it is not great at and there are times another tool is needed but when that happens, you can usually use a pack and pull some of that stuff into Coda so you can let the other tool do what it does but still use Coda to gather things into one place.

Give it a try. Jump in, test, look at other people’s docs in the gallery and I bet you find a use for it.

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