How do I add users to a course?

You may have already added user enrollments to your course in the course setup checklist. However, you can invite users to join your course at any time if the Add People button is available in the People page. If your institution uses SIS Imports, you do not need to add any users who are part of your institution's records for the course. They will be added to the course by your admin.

Course Invitations

When an enrollment is added to the course, Canvas generates a course invitation. The user must accept the course invitation to participate in the course. Until the user accepts the course invitation, the user's status will display as pending. Note that when a user receives an enrollment invitation for a custom role, the invitation displays the name of the base role.

Multiple Sections

If you want to add the same person to different sections, you can enroll them in one section and then add them to additional sections later.

Multiple Roles

If you want to add the same person to different roles, you can enroll them as one user role and then add them again as the additional user role. Users must accept a course invitation for each enrollment role.

Please note that users invited to a course in an observer role are not sent a course invitation unless they do not already have a Canvas account. Observer enrollments without a Canvas account must create an account before they can log in to the course.

When manually adding users to a course, you can add a user into any available role, including custom roles as created by your admin. If you are not sure about what permissions are allowed for a specific role in your institution, please contact your Canvas admin.

Standard roles include Teaching Assistants (TAs), Observers, and Designers:

  • TAs provide course support and have some or all of the same permissions granted to instructors.
  • Observers can be linked to a student and view student progress in the course. Observers can include parents, guardians, and/or mentors. Learn more about the observer role in Canvas.
  • Designers can add other users to the course, access course content, create discussions, announcements, assignments, quizzes, and other content filled features. This role is appropriate for instructional designers, instructional coaches, or program managers who work with instructors to design their courses.


Note: Enrollments may be added by your institution's student information system (SIS). If an enrollment includes an SIS ID, you cannot add an enrollment to the course. Additionally, adding users is a course permission. If you cannot add a user to your course, your institution has restricted this feature.

Open People

Open People

In Course Navigation, click the People link.

Add People

Add People

Click the Add People button.

Submit Email Addresses

Submit Email Addresses

In the address field, type or paste the list of users to add to the course. Names are not required although they are shown in the email address examples.

To submit an email address, type or paste the user's email address in the type field. You can also type or paste several email addresses at one time.


  • The Add People step in this lesson includes example of acceptable email formatting. If you are copying and pasting from a spreadsheet where names are included with email addresses, please confirm the formatting aligns with the example text.
  • If you are adding user by email address, keep in mind that this process will create a new, separate account for existing users in the following conditions: the user does not have a username in the course's root account, the user's email address is linked to another user within the account, or the institution does not use delegated authentication if open registration is enabled.

Add User Details

Enter User Information

In the Role drop-down menu [1], assign the user(s) a role for the course based on available course roles.

In the Section drop-down menu [2], assign the user(s) a section in the course.

If you want to limit the user(s) to only interact with other users in their section, click the Can interact... checkbox [3].

Click the Next button [4].

Note: If you are submitting multiple email addresses at the same time, all email addresses inherit the same role and section.

View User Registration Error Message

View User Registration Error Message

If you see the user registration error message, ensure the email address is formatted correctly.

If the email address is formatted correctly, you should contact your admin for assistance. Most commonly, you will view this error if your institution has not enabled open registration, which means you cannot add users to a course via email address if the user does not already have a Canvas account. However, admins can always add users to a course.

Add Users

Add Users

Canvas will verify that the email is a valid email address [1]. If you are not ready to add the user, click the Start Over button [2]. Otherwise click the Add Users button [3].

Note: If the user has previously created a Canvas account with the email address you are using, the user's name will populate in the name field [4]. Otherwise the name field will remain blank.

Confirm Enrollment

Confirm Enrollment

Canvas will verify the user's enrollment and automatically send an invitation to the course.

To send more invitations to your course, click the Add More Users button [1]. If you are finished inviting users, click the Done button [2].

View Pending Enrollment

Until the user accepts the course invitation, the user's status will display as pending. Note that observer invitations will only show as pending if the invited observer does not already have a Canvas account.

Once the user has accepted the course invitation, you can interact with the user in the course. You can also send messages to the user via Conversations.

If necessary, you may be able to edit a user's role in Canvas.

Note: It could take up to 24 hours for users to receive their invitations. Canvas will not consider the user to be enrolled—and won't recognize the user anywhere in Canvas—until the invitation has been accepted. If necessary, you can resend course invitations.