Canvas: Importance of Using the Text Editor

It is important to follow this guide when creating your course site in order to more readily transfer course content from one Canvas site to another and across semesters. If you are unfamiliar with the Cavnas Text Editor tool or could use a quick review, this guide is for you.



The proper way to link from one part of your Canvas site to a file or activity is by creating a course link.

  1. Click the caret beside the link button in the text editor.

  2. Select Course Links.

    screenshot of the text editor in Canvas with the link and course link vs external link drop-down menu enabled

  3. A new interface will appear on the right. From the top select Files if you want to link to a file in your Files area and Links to link to pages, assignments, and anything else in your Canvas website.

Adding links and files to canvas page

It might seem simpler to create a link to that content by copying the link to that content and creating an external link with it. This works perfectly well for the duration of the current semester and gives you no warning that it is creating a major problem for the next semester. When a course is copied, course links (those created through the course links tool) are automatically updated. So, what linked from your Fall 2023 website to another place in your Fall 2023 website will work correctly in the Spring 2024 site copied from the Fall 2023 site. However, external links are not updated when the space is copied. So if you created a link from one part of your Fall 2023 website to another using the external link, it will still link to the Fall 2023 site even after it is copied. To prevent this issue, always use the course links tool when creating links from one part of a Canvas website to another.

Chart that shows whether links in a Canvas course will update when copying a course


Images and New Files

The same basic concept is true for images and new files. Canvas will allow you to drag and drop images and new files onto the page. These will display and be accessible to the students this semester, but not for subsequent semesters since those files are tied to the current course site and are not updated when the course is copied. 

The proper way to add images and files via the text editor is to use the Images and Documents buttons.

Uploading and adding images to a canvas page

  1. Click the caret beside the Images or Documents button in the text editor.

  2. Select Upload Image or Upload Document.

  3. Follow the instructions on the interface that appears on the right.

  4. You can also use this method to link to images and documents saved in your course files or user files.


Keywords"Text editor", canvas, transfer, transferring, course, "canvas course", courses, "canvas courses", semester, "course link", "external link", images, "course images"   Doc ID129585
OwneriSchool U.GroupSchool of Information Sciences
Created2023-07-06 14:36:42Updated2024-06-03 09:56:51
SitesUniversity of Illinois School of Information Sciences
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