How do I restrict files and folders in Canvas?

Users can edit permissions for files, including setting the state of the file (published or unpublished), schedule availability dates for the files, or make files available to students who have the link.

Please note that restricting a file is only valid within Files. If a student has access to view the Files link in Course Navigation, restricting a file means that the file is hidden from students only when they are viewing Files; the only way to view the file is if students have a link to the file. However, as the restricted status does not apply outside of Files, placing a restricted file within any other Canvas location—such as Modules or Assignments—will allow students to view the files.

If you are not using the Usage Rights feature option (part of the New Files feature option), please view the New Files version of this lesson. If you are not using the New Files feature option, please view the archived version of this lesson.

Open Files

Open Files

In Course Navigation, click the Files link.

Select File

By default course files are visible and accessible to all users [1]. Teachers and TAs can restrict files and folders, which means the content will only be accessible to teachers and TAs in the course [2] as long as the file is not placed to a content area outside of Files (e.g. Modules, Assignments).

To edit a permission, click a file's published or unpublished icon [3].

Edit Permissions for File

Choose Publish to allow users to see the file or Unpublish to hide the file from users.

Set Permissions

Choose Restricted Access [1] to make the file available to students with the link or with a certain date. If you choose Only available to students with the link. Not visible in student files [2], only those with the link can view the file. This hidden option only works within Files; if you add this file to another area of Canvas, such as Assignments, the restricted status will not apply and all students can view the file.

Choose Schedule student availability [3] to give users a window of time to view the file. Type the date you wish to restrict the file until in the Available From field [4]. Type the date you wish to restrict the file after in the Available Until field [5].

Currently the setting for Available From and Available Until is set up to only accept input in very specific format. You will be able to set the availability dates by using one of the following inputs:

  • dd/mm/yyyy 00:00 (24hr) Ex. 27/02/2013 23:59
  • dd/mm/yyyy 00:00am/pm Ex. 27/02/2013 11:59pm
  • Mon Da 00:00am/pm Ex. Feb 27 11:59pm
  • Mon Da 00:00 (24hr) Ex. Feb 27 23:59

Note that the time field is optional and if not selected it will default to 12am.

Click the Update button [6].

View File

View the restricted status for the file.

If you set a student availability date for the file, hover over the icon to view the details of the availability dates.

Lesson Feedback (Optional) (0)

Please let us know if any information in this lesson appears to be incorrect in terms of Canvas functionality only (please do not submit feature requests here). This is not a help site, and submitted comments cannot be answered. If your Canvas course/account is having trouble completing any of the tasks outlined in this lesson, please contact Canvas Support by submitting a HELP TICKET via the Help Link within Canvas or emailing Thank you.

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