Official Canvas Document
The job of the IdP is to identify users based on credentials. The IdP typically provides the login screen interface and presents information about the authenticated user to service providers after successful authentication.
ADFS is the Identity Provider.
Username in Canvas terminology.
When information about an authenticated user is returned to Canvas, a user with a login_id matching the incoming data is looked for.
Information about the SP or IdP. This metadata is almost always provided in the form of XML. The metadata about your Canvas instance is located at https://<yourcanvas>.instructure.com/saml2 (replace <yourcanvas> with the first portion of your Canvas domain).
Security Assertion Markup Language
|SIS||Student Information System|
Unique ID of a user in Canvas.
Used to link a user to an outside system, often a Student Information System (SIS).
When a user logs out of a service, some IdPs can subsequently log the user out of all other services the user has authenticated to.
ADFS supports this but may occasionally experience issues such as preventing a successful logout. Users will be logged out of Canvas but may not be logged out of ADFS.
An SP is usually a website providing information, tools, reports, etc to the end user. Canvas provides a learning environment to teachers, students, and admins and is, therefore, the Service Provider.
Note: An SP cannot authenticate against an IdP unless the IdP is known to the SP. Likewise, an IdP will not send assertions to an SP that it does now know about.
This is what happens when a user isn't required to log in to a second service because information about the authenticated user is passed to the service.
- Canvas does not automatically create user accounts from successful single-sign-ons. User accounts must either be created manually in the web interface or through the SIS import CSVs.
- The login_id field in Canvas must match the selected field returned from Azure.
- Your organization must have an Azure AD subscription.
- You must be able to login to the admin console for your organization.
Login Release Valve
You may accidentally lock yourself out of Canvas while you are setting up authentication. If this happens, you can log in to Canvas using local authentication. Simply go to http://<yourcanvasname>.instructure.com/login/canvas (This forces Canvas to display the local login form rather than redirecting to the SAML login page).
Configure Azure Active Directory
To configure the integration of Canvas into Azure AD, you need to add Canvas from the gallery to your list of managed SaaS apps.
In the left navigation panel of the Azure portal, click Azure Active Directory icon.
Click the Enterprise applications, then click the All applications.
3. To add a new application, click the New application button on the top of the dialog.
4. In the search box, type Canvas. In the results panel, select Canvas and then click the Add button to add the application.
5. In the Canvas - Overview page of the Azure portal, click on Single Sign-on.
6. Click SAML.
7. On the SAML-based sign-on page, edit the Basic SAML Configuration section by clicking the pencil in the top-right corner.
Here is an example if you use a normal Canvas domain:
Here is an example if you use a vanity URL with Canvas:
9. Edit the second section, User Attributes & Claims.
10. Click the Claim name ending in .../identity/claims/name to edit the entry.
11. Change the Source attribute to user.mail and click Save.
12. Repeat for the Claim Name ending with .../identity/claims/nameidentifier, to also change its Source attribute to user.mail
13. Click Properties. Change User assignment required to No. Click Save.
14. Return to the Single Sign-on screen. In the third section, copy the App Federation Metadata Url.
Configure Canvas Authentication
The following steps take place in Canvas.
15. In a new browser tab, log in to your Canvas instance as an administrator. From the Admin tile, click Authentication.
16. Click on the Choose an Authentication drop-down, then select the SAML option.
17. On the SAML configuration page, paste the App Federation Metadata Url into the IdP Metadata URI field. Click Save.
18. The page will reload with the values for IdP Entity ID, Log On URL, Log Out URL and Certificate Fingerprint automatically filled.
19. Test the configuration. Open a new incognito window, and go to
If successful, you’ll be prompted to enter your Microsoft email address, followed by your password. You will then be logged in and redirected to your Canvas instance.
Note that Canvas does not automatically create user accounts from successful single-sign-ons. User accounts must either be created manually in the web interface or through the SIS import CSVs.
20. Return to the Authentication screen. To make SAML the primary method for authentication, navigate to the bottom of the SAML section, and change Position to 1. Click Save.