Recent Updates

  • If your institution has enabled the Scheduler tool, you can sign up for any appointments that are created for your course. Appointments can include office hours, group presentation time slots, and lunch with an alumnus.

    Tags Calendar, Student Guide
  • Canvas allows you to manually bulk create users, accounts, terms, courses, sections, and enrollments through the Admin interface.

    This document references the SIS Import CSV Format API page, where the majority of the CSV information is located. Each CSV file is symbiotic with another and tell Canvas how to manage all information for the account. View an SIS relationship diagram.

    Each step in this lesson provides sample CSV files with descriptions of each required and optional field. You will also find a link to download each file if you want to take a deeper look at the formatting. Download a zipped package of all sample files.

    You should practice importing data in your Canvas test environment before importing any content to your production environment.

    CSV File Format

    In order to bulk upload data into Canvas, you must create one or more CSV text files.  CSV files can be generated by many programs. Student Information Systems (SIS) often have a method for generating reports in CSV format that can be modified to fit the format Canvas requires. If you do not know how to save a file in a CSV format, please check the documentation for the program you are using to create your CSV file (e.g., Excel).

    When using the Instructure format for importing files in the SIS Import page, you may import an individual CSV text file or you may compress multiple files into a single ZIP file to bulk import data. If you are manually uploading individual files, the files must be uploaded in the order shown in this lesson.

    CSV Field Formatting

    The first row of your CSV file (header) must include the complete field name for each file. The order of the columns does not matter but having the rows ordered properly is crucial for files like the accounts.csv. When any of this data is modified in the User Interface (UI), Canvas will set the new values as "sticky." When a new basic upload is performed, the data existing in Canvas will remain "sticky" and any imported data that would attempt to update that data will be ignored. Learn more about sticky fields.

    An import can override UI changes only if the proper options are selected when using the SIS Import tool.

    API Documentation

    CSV files only include a specific set of fields. Canvas contains additional values that are available through each individual API. After running the CSV files for your institution, standard practice for a majority of institutions is to upload all SIS CSV files and then use the Canvas API to update full account and course attributes. For more information, view the Canvas API documentation for Users, Accounts, Terms, Courses, Sections, Enrollments, and Groups.

    Tags Admin Guide, SIS
  • You can send attachments in conversations messages using the Canvas app.

    The images in this lesson are shown for a phone display, but unless otherwise noted, tablet displays mirror the same steps.

    Tags Canvas App, Conversations, iOS, Mobile Apps
  • You can view comments from your instructor as part of your submitted assignment. You can also make a comment on your assignment as well.

    The images in this lesson are shown for a phone display, but unless otherwise noted, tablet displays mirror the same steps.

    Tags Android, Assignments, Conversations, Mobile Apps, Student Guide
  • Updated on: Jan 09, 2017

    How do I customize my Courses list?

    When you are enrolled in more than one Canvas course, you can customize the active courses you want to show in your Course list. Courses you want to show in the Courses drop-down menu are called favorite courses. You can favorite any published course that appears in the My Courses section on the course list page. Course favorites also display in the Dashboard.

    When no courses are favorited, the courses list automatically displays up to 20 courses alphabetically in the drop-down menu. However, once you have selected at least one course as a favorite, only your favorite courses will appear in the Courses list.

    Note: Courses are always listed alphabetically; you cannot reorder your courses manually.

    Tags Dashboard, Global Navigation, Instructor GS Guide, Instructor Guide, Student GS Guide, Student Guide
  • Updated on: Jan 07, 2017

    What are LTI Tools (External Apps)?

    LTI provides a framework through which an LMS (Canvas) can send some verifiable information about a user to a third party. For LTI to work, the third party needs to provide a consumer key and shared secret that Canvas can use to generate a signature to verify the authenticity of the data sent. By default most user information is anonymized, but this can be changed when the configuration is first set up.

    External Apps can be configured on the account or course level.

    Tags Admin Guide, External Apps (LTI), Instructor Guide
  • The Help menu assists users in your institution by displaying a list of resources about Canvas. Depending on a user's role, users can view up to five default help options. As an admin, you can reorder or hide default links in the Help menu. You can also add custom help links for your institution and choose if they should be available to all users or specific user roles.

    You can also change the Help icon and text that displays throughout Canvas.

    This lesson shows how to access the Help Menu Options directly from the Global Navigation Menu. However, you can also access the Help Menu Options in Account Settings.


    • Custom help links can only be viewed in Canvas web browsers. In mobile devices, the Canvas by Instructure app does not display custom help links.
    • Canvas Help Menu customizations are only available at the account level and automatically apply to all subaccounts. When opening the Help Menu, only admins can view the customization link.
    • Help Menu customizations are not available in Free-for-Teacher accounts.
    • The Help menu links also display when a user accesses the Help link in the Login page. However, the Ask Your Instructor a Question and Ask the Community links are never part of the Help menu in the Login page since the Login page does not associate a user by role.
    Tags Admin Guide, Settings
  • As an admin, the Account Settings tab contains multiple settings you can control and change in your Canvas account.

    Note: Some Canvas features are not available in Account Settings and must be managed by a Customer Success Manager. Such major features include ePortfolios, SIS imports, Custom CSS/JS overrides, Scheduler, and Profiles. Please contact your Customer Success Manager with additional questions about Canvas features.

    Tags Admin Guide, Settings
  • Updated on: Jan 07, 2017

    How do I find users in an account?

    You can find users in an account by filtering by term or searching for a specific user.

    Tags Account, Admin Guide, Users
  • Canvas is continually creating new features to improve your experience. The majority of improvements will be made available as part of our regular release cycle. However, some features may change the workflow for common activities in Canvas during your current term and will be placed in your Account Settings as a Feature Option. After a specified period of time, some Feature Options may become standard features in Canvas. Learn more about Feature Options and how to enable them in the manage new features lesson.

    Feature Option Availability

    The Feature Options shown in this lesson are available for all institutions and noted in their respective environments (beta or production). Some feature options must be enabled by your Customer Success Manager.

    Note: Some feature options may not be available in Free-for-Teacher accounts. Please view the Canvas Account Comparisons PDF.

    Tags Admin Guide, Feature Options, Parent App, Settings