How do I restrict files and folders to students in Canvas?

Users can edit permissions for files, including setting the state of the file (published or unpublished), make files available to students who have the link, or schedule availability dates for the files.

When the link restriction is set (only available to students with the link), the file can only be viewed if they are given the link to the file. However, this option only allows files to be hidden from students in Course Files. This functionality is not valid outside of the Files feature. For instance, if a file with a link restriction is added to a Module or Assignment, the file can always be viewed by students.  

When the student availability date restriction is set, students can view the name and information for the file. In addition to Course Files, files with an availability date restriction can be viewed anywhere in Canvas (such as when the file is added to Modules or Assignments), but the file will be locked and they cannot view the actual file until the specified date. Please note that this option does not apply to media files; students can always view media files regardless of availability dates, but they cannot download the files.

If you are not using the Usage Rights 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To edit a permission, click a file's published or unpublished icon [3].

Restrict File

Restrict File

Click the Restricted Access option.

Two options will appear: make the file available to students with the link, or make the file available with accessibility dates.

Set File Available to Students with Link

Only available to students with the link. Not visible in student files option makes the file available to students who are given a link to the file. The file will be hidden to students in Course Files.

Note: This hidden option only applies to Course Files; if you add this file to another area of Canvas, such as Assignments or Modules, all students can view the file.

Schedule Student Availability

Schedule Student Availability

Schedule student availability gives students a window of time to view the file. If you select this option, the file can be viewed by students in Course Files as well as anywhere in Canvas (such as when the file is added to Modules or Assignments), but the file will be locked and they cannot view the actual file until the specified date.

Note: This option does not apply to media files. Students can always view media files regardless of availability dates, but they cannot download the files.

To set student availability dates, enter the starting date for the file to be available in the Available From field [1]. If applicable, enter the date when students can no longer allow students to view the file in the Available Until field [2]. You can use the calendar to enter a date, or you can enter a date manually.

With manual entries, 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.

Update File

Update File

Click the Update button.

View File

View File

View the restricted status for the file. Hover over the icon to view the details.