Changing SIS IDs

As an account administrator, when modifying an SIS ID you may encounter the error message, “The SIS ID is already in use”. SIS IDs must be completely unique for the item type you are modifying. If a user has the SIS ID of “S0001”, then no other user can have that ID except the existing one. 

If you are not a Canvas administrator for your school, please contact your Canvas admin.


  • While the troubleshooting steps in this guide cover users specifically, the concepts apply for any item with an SIS ID.
  • Deleted items retain their SIS IDs until they are changed.

Open Account

Open Account

In Global Navigation, click the Admin link [1], and then click the name of the account [2].

Search People

Search People

In Account Navigation, click the People link [1]. In the account People page, search for the SIS ID [2]. 

Confirm Active User

If a user exists on the account, confirm that you are using the correct SIS ID. If this is a duplicate account for the correct user, you can merge the users.

No Active User in Account

Shared Content

If you search for the SIS ID that is in use and get the message “No Users Found”, the user is most likely a deleted user. 

Confirm Deleted User

Confirm Deleted User

To confirm that the SIS ID belongs to a deleted user, run an account provisioning report for Users, and select the Include Deleted Objects checkbox.

If the SIS ID is being used on a deleted user, you can either merge users or create a change_sis_id CSV import.

Merge Users

If you would like to merge the users, run a users.csv SIS Import with that deleted user’s information, and change the user's status to active.

After they are restored, you can then choose to merge those users or change the restored user’s SIS ID.


Alternatively, if you do not want to merge the user but would still like to use the SIS ID, create and import a change_sis_id.csv SIS Import. This import removes the SIS ID from the deleted user, and replaces it with one of your choosing.

The new_id field can be anything, though we typically recommend appending “_deleted” to the original SIS ID, to help you identify the deleted user if necessary, e.g.:

  • old_id: S0001
  • new_id: S0001_deleted
  • type: user

After that SIS Import runs successfully, you can then return to the new user and modify the SIS ID.