Tips & Tricks for Using Canvas

Browser Issues

  • Having issues with Canvas? Make sure you’re using the latest version of your browser. For best results, don’t use Internet Explorer (IE).
  • Use the OEI Computer Readiness Test to find out if your computer is ready for online learning and to see the specs on your browser.

PUBLISHING and available dates

  • Your course(s) are not available to your students until you publish the course(s). See the How do I publish my Course? Canvas Guide.
  • You may have published a page, but forgot that the module also needs to be published.
  • Don’t forget to Publish your quiz or test.
  • If you publish your quiz, students will be able to access it and submit. If you want to publish the quiz but restrict the access until a certain date, use the "available from" dates under where you set the due date. Using the "available from" dates will make it easier to make sure your quizzes become available at the right time.
  • If you use Text Headers in your modules, remember they need to be published, too.


  • Email students by clicking the Inbox link in the Canvas Global Navigation.
  • You can’t email students within Canvas if you haven’t published your course yet.
  • Messages can be emailed, texted, tweeted, etc. depending on how your student set their notifications.
  • We highly recommend you let students know how you will be contacting them and advise them to set their Canvas notifications appropriately.  See How do I set my Notification Preferences? Canvas Guide.


  • Announcements are another way to contact all students in your course. Course announcements are automatically emailed to the students in your course. Announcements are different than messages in that they do not show up in their Canvas inbox. Messages are more powerful than announcements as they can also be emailed, texted, tweeted, etc. depending on how your student set their notifications.


  • Hide any course menu items you’re not using in Course Settings > Navigation tab. Drag items from the top listing of navigation elements to the bottom to hide them from student view.
  • Can’t find a menu item? Menu items are grayed out when hidden, and some disappear altogether. Un-hide the item in question in Course Settings, and it will reappear in the menu. Go to Course Settings > Navigation tab and drag from lower group of navigation items to the upper group.


  • Check the Student View of your course to see how it looks to students. Go to Course Settings, look to the right sidebar and click on the Student View button.

Reset Course

  • Wish you could start over while building your Canvas course site? You can, use "Reset Course Content." Go to Course Settings, look to the right sidebar and click on the Student View button. *Warning: this will delete all content in your course.


  • When creating an Assignment, select "For: Everyone," not the Course Name.


  • To create a custom column in the grade book, create an Assignment that is not submitted in Canvas and, if desired, doesn’t have a set due date in the system.



  • You can move copies of your course files to your other course shells by opening your "Files" menu in any of your courses, scroll to bottom of page and select “All my files” and then you may drag and drop into your other files.
  • Student submitted files cannot be deleted.


  • To go back to your course or your gradebook, you will find at the top of the page, to the right of the student’s names, there are two small links – one to the grade book and one to your course home page.


  • Using rubrics for assignment grading:  After you create your rubric and attach it to its assignment(s), you still have to edit the rubric to enable grading in your gradebook.
  1. "Use this rubric for assignment grading." See: How do I use a Rubric to grade an Assignment? Canvas Guide
  2.  Editing rubrics:  when someone tries to edit a rubric that is already attached to more than one assignment, a scary warning message pops up. After you think a bit about what you're doing, you can generally ignore it and carry on. 
  3.  Speed Grader settings: this guide will show you how to easily sort your assignments. See: How do I sort Assignments in SpeedGrader? Canvas Guide


  • If  you have accidentally deleted an item in one of your Canvas courses see steps below to undelete:
  1. From within your Canvas course, take a look at the URL and look for the course ID number. It’s the six digit number that comes after the (sample).
  2. If there is anything following the course number, delete it. Then add /undelete. The new URL should look like this: 
  3. Hit the Return key on your keyboard. A series of recently deleted items will appear and you now have the option to restore the item(s) you accidentally deleted.
    * WARNING* This function is not fully supported by Canvas. Therefore, it will not work 100% of the time. It appears that only the last 25 items are available to restore.


  • You can restore Pages to previous versions. This is very useful when a lot of edits are taking place, and for courses with multiple instructors, because you can not only restore to previous versions, you can also see who has made the most recent revisions.
     See the How to Restore to Previous Version Canvas Guide.
Button_Contact DE Support