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Brief Description and Possible Uses

For every course, you have different files on your computer that you have associated with the course. The files tool in Canvas allows you to upload and store those files right in your course with the same organization that you have them stored on your computer. By default, these files are public to everyone in the course, which means that everyone can view the files. If you have certain files or folders that aren’t appropriate for everyone in the course (such as answer keys and test files) you can easily lock the files so that they are only available to the teachers and the TAs in the course.

Instructor Tutorials

Uploading a file or image in the Sidebar

Uploading files to Canvas

To add files to your course, do the following:

  1. Navigate to the files area of your course
  2. Click on the “Add Files” link on the right side.
  3. Browse to the files you wish to add
  4. Select one or more files and click “Open”

Uploading files to Canvas via drag and drop in Firefox

Firefox contains a unique feature which allows the teacher to add to files by simply dragging and dropping the files from a file window directly into the Canvas file repository.

In the screenshot below, you can see the user dragging a file from their workstation into the Files area within Canvas.


Organizing files in Canvas (right to left)

Your files can be easily managed using a basic click-and-drag method; however, you can only drag from right to left or within the right pane. You cannot drag from left-to-right. In the below screenshot, you can see several Powerpoint files are in the root of the Files area; however, I would like to move them into a dedicated folder called “Powerpoint Files” that I have created. I can individually drag and drop each file from within the right-and file pane.


In this next screenshot, I am moving a file from an existing sub-directory and into the root of the main file structure. This type of file move requires me to drag from right-to-left.


Deleting files in Canvas

Deleting files is pretty straight forward. Simply hover over the folder or file you want to delete. You will see the trashcan icon on the right as seen in the screenshot below. Click on the trashcan icon to delete the desired file or the folder.


Downloading files in .zip format

You can create a .ZIP file from any directory within your Files area. Click on the .ZIP icon at the folder level. Once you click on the icon, a .ZIP file is automatically generated and you will be given the option to download the .ZIP file as seen in the screenshot below.

You can also .ZIP all the files within the course. Just click on the .ZIP icon while hovering over the top most folder in the Files area.


Importing files in .zip format

If you have .Zip files you would like to upload, the Canvas system can automatically upload and unzip these files for you. Simply click on the “Import A Zip File” icon in the Files area as seen in the screenshot below. Once you click on that icon, you will be presented with a dialog box that allows you to choose the .Zip file to upload and tell Canvas where you want the file uploaded to.



Locking/Hiding folders and files in Canvas

By default course files are visible to all users. Teachers and TAs can lock files and folders, which means the content will only be visible to teachers and TAs in the course.

After logging in to your course, go to "Files" in the left navigation bar

Files page.png

Then browse to the file/folder you want to hide

File hover.png

Click the "lock" icon next to the file name. You will see a dialog pop up where you can choose access dates and whether the file should be hidden but downloadable, or completely blocked from student access.

Lock file dialog.png

Click "Lock this File" to set the lock. You will know your file is locked because it will show an "unlock" icon instead of a "lock" icon that it used to show

File hover with unlock icon.png

You can always unlock a file later by clicking the "unlock" icon on a locked file

Training Materials

Files Overview


Batch uploading to Files


Moving files and folders


Related Topics

  • Learn about the default file size limit in Canvas.


How do I preview a file?

What document types does Canvas accept and convert using the Scribd preview?

Here are a list of the supported file types for the Scribd auto preview in Canvas:

File Type Canvas Support Notes
.doc & .docx Yes .docx files may not preview correctly
.ppt & .pptx Yes .pptx files may not preview correctly
.xls & .xlsx Yes .xlsx files may not preview correctly
.pps & .ppsx Yes .ppsx files may not preview correctly
.pdf & .ps Yes
.odt & .odp Yes
.sxw & .sxi Yes
.txt & .rtf Yes

Please read Wikipedia article for more info

What types of media files can be uploaded into Canvas?

Here is a list of the support file types you can upload into Canvas:

  • AVI
  • WAV
  • Macromedia Flash
  • FLV
  • Real Audio and Video
  • QuickTime
  • MPEG-4
  • MOV
  • MPG
  • MPEG
  • WMV
  • MP4
  • M4V
  • 3GP