How do I use Commons?

You can use Commons to search for and import content into your Canvas courses. You can also share resources to Commons from your Canvas courses.


  • To enable Commons in your Canvas instance, please contact your Customer Success Manager. To access Commons, you need to have an email address associated with your Canvas account.
  • Users who can create or edit course content in Canvas also have access to Commons. This includes Admins, Teachers, Designers, and TAs. If an institution does not want student TAs to have access to Commons, an account admin should create a custom TA role in Canvas that does not have permission to create or edit course content.
  • Commons is available in all Free for Teacher (FFT) accounts. Free for Teacher users are limited to finding, importing, and sharing public resources.

Open Commons

Open Commons

In Global Navigation, click the Commons link.

Find Resources

A resource in Commons can be a Course, Module, Quiz, Assignment, Discussion, Page, Document, Video, Image, or Audio file. Each resource type has a unique icon. Look for these related colors and icons when searching for resources. To find resources in Commons, use the search field [1]. You can search for keywords such as author, institution, or title. You can also search by outcome, consortium, or group.

To sort search results by Latest or Most Relevant, click the Sort by drop-down menu [2].

To apply search filters to your search, click the Filter button [3].

Based on your selected filters, the number of results are displayed in the page [4]. To search everything available to you in Commons, leave the search field and filters blank.

Note: Depending on the account settings set by your Canvas admin, you may be unable to view and/or share public content.

Filter Search Results

Filter Search Results

To narrow your search, or to search by filter, use one or more of the filter options:

  • Approved Resources [1]: If your admin has enabled approved resources, you can filter results to only show approved resources.
  • Type [2]: You can filter by resource type (e.g. Courses, Modules, Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, Pages, Documents, Images, Videos, or Audio).
  • Grade/Level [3]: You can select specific grades or level of education to narrow your search (e.g. K-12, Undergraduate, Graduate).
  • Shared With [4]: You can filter results by resources shared publicly, in your account, in a group, or in a consortium.

View Content Card

View Search Results

In search results, resource details are displayed on content cards. Each card displays the following details:

  • Resource icon [1]: Identify the resource type
  • Title and description [2]: Preview the title and description of the resource
  • Author [3]: View the author of the resource
  • Target icon [4]: Indicates tagged outcome(s)
  • Date [5]: View the date the resource was last updated

To view more details, click the resource title.

View Resource Details

In the resource details page, you can view a summary of the resource and related information:

  • Subject and Grade/Level
  • Who the resource was Shared With (account, group(s), consortium(s), public, private)
  • Any outcomes that are tagged to the resources
  • Description
  • Relevant tags (keywords)
  • Media type and duration
  • Download link
  • Date of Last Update (reflects date when content was last updated)
  • Who the resource was Shared By
  • The Account the resource was shared from
  • Copyright and Creative Commons content license
  • Reviews by other users
  • Preview resources  
  • View Version notes (for updated resources only)

When you are ready to import a resource, select a course or courses and click the Import into Course button.

Share a Resource

Share a Resource

You can share a variety of resources to Commons from your Canvas course, including a Canvas course, course content, and files.

Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Help

Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Help

You can access the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Help in the footer in any page in Commons.