Efficiency tips for Admins

Community Member
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I have a few Chrome browser settings and extensions that I thought might be useful to other admins, and would bet that many others in the community have developed other shortcuts to save time. Please share yours in the comments!

Easily search for a user or course

Chrome’s “Custom Search Engines” allow you to type a few letters in the URL bar to easily search your Canvas users or courses. 

Start by doing a search in Canvas to make sure you have the URL for a search. For example:
https://canvas.instructure.com/accounts/1?search_term=awesomeness

Chrome allows you to easily fill in what appears above as “awesomeness” to whatever your course search might be.

In Chrome Settings, under Manage Search Engines, add a new search engine at the bottom. Give it a name and paste the URL you grabbed into the URL box — and change “awesomeness” to %s. Finally add a letter combination that you’ll remember (I use “cp” for Courses on Production). Searching for a course is now as easy as going to the url bar (command L makes this even quicker), typing cp, and entering the name of the course you want to search for. Repeat for users, other instances, or even other websites you search frequently.

Log into the Community single sign on with a default Canvas instance

I was always mildly annoyed at having to pick a Canvas instance with the SSO for the Community and ticketing system (perhaps I have too many). I recently discovered a Chrome Extension, Edit This Cookie, which allows you to edit and lock the cookie such that only your default Canvas instance is loaded, eliminating the dropdown menu that adds a few clicks to the login process.

When you see the SSO page on login, edit the cookie for sso.canvaslms.com such that the last_known_canvas_host has only the value of the Canvas instance you want and protect it so that it won’t be overwritten when you visit other instances.

Tags (1)
30 Comments
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Wow! Love the Chrome Custom Search Engine tip! Thank you!

Janetta

Community Member

The custom search trick is awesome! Thank you! Works like a charm.

Learner II

Thanks for the SSO solution!

Community Member

The SSO solution is amazing!!!   That page was so annoying so a huge thank you for helping me to get rid of it!

Community Member

I wish there was a way to "like" this post 10 more times!  I set up the cookie too that you suggested and I LOVE it!!!  Kommunity Kudos for such a helpful post that everyone in the community can benefit from!

Community Member

What Jordan said. likelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikeinfinity

The course search trick is so. very. very. awesome.

Community Member

Awwww... thanks y'all :smileyblush:

Just remember it's the little things. I'd bet someone has a nifty trick they think is no big deal, but could save us all clicks and time :smileylaugh:

Surveyor

John - a huge thank you on these tips. The SSO thing alone is worth it's weight in gold!

Community Member

Amazing!! Thank you!!

I just wanted to add that I was struggling with getting the search engine configured correctly through Chrome's settings, and found that you can right click to add the search engine.

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Community Member

I normally don't like to post "me too" responses but this one deserves it! How could I have forgotten about custom search engines!? jthoms@stanford.edu​ where can I buy you a beer? :smileysilly:

While it may not fit in exactly with the two tips you posted I would like to share another Chrome extension that's saving me a bunch of time.  Check My Links​ is a Chrome extension that will quickly check all the links on a page and highlight any in red that returned error codes. This can be great for troubleshooting a ticket or assisting a faculty member with content migration warnings.

Postman is another Chrome extension I've heard great things about for working with the API quickly though I haven't had time to get into it yet.

Community Member

Postman is very helpful.  I've been able to get it to work based on this instcon​ presentation which I highly recommend: 

Community Member

You're quite welcome, awilliams​!

As we're getting ready for a new school year, I can imagine that Check My Links could be very useful when doing course copies. I've worked a bit with Postman (thanks to a recommendation from ianm@instructure.com​), but don't use it often and thus frequently struggle with the authentication setup. I'll have to check out the video canvas.admin@rts.edu​ recommends Smiley Happy. The "live" API interface is also extraordinarily useful in a pinch: https://your.canvas.edu/doc/api/live

Explorer II

The Chrome custom search tip is a huge time saver!

Thank you!!

Community Member

Such a simple but effective tip. Thank you jthoms@stanford.edu from Australia!

Community Member

jthoms@stanford.edu‌ - thanks for sharing!

Surveyor

Did not know we could do this.  Thank you for sharing.   This will be a big help for me beyond Canvas as well.

Surveyor

Wow. I do love both tricks. Time saver!

Surveyor

Thanks for the SSO tip! If anyone encounters a problem* with EditThisCookie, try installing cookiz instead.

* ETC let me edit, but protecting did not work. I.e., the SSO page immediately overwrote the change. Other users on the ETC help site reported similar issues as far back as a year ago. So perhaps the dev is no longer supporting?

(Chrome 65.0.3325.181 on Win7)

Adventurer

Finding this and creating the customer Google searches has been such a time saver. I can find courses and users so much quicker now.

Learner II

Nice tip. I will make sure to pass it on to others here in Oklahoma. 

Learner II

I've had the same problem with ETC for a while, and thought it was just me! thanks for mentioning this, and the recommendation of cookiz!

Learner II

I love the 'live' API for quick jobs!

Surveyor

I just tried the Google Search Engine tip, it is "awesome".  Thanks.

I'm wondering, can we setup other search besides course and user?  i.e. can we search for quiz or assignment?

Community Member

Love this - it will be so much quicker for searching!

Surveyor

Hi everyone, today's update to the user search screen for Admins means you'll need to update the URL you have saved in Chrome. Here's the URL you now need:

https://institution.instructure.com/accounts/1/users?search_term=%s&role_filter_id=&page=

You'll need to input your own URL of course. The %s is still in there, right after "search_term". An added bonus is that this method doesn't freeze your browser like the search bar on the new user search interface.

Enjoy!

Adventurer

Thank you so much! Losing this ability earlier today was disheartening. This update has worked.

Community Member

Thanks for helping everybody out, anthonem@seattleu.edu‌! Naturally this release happened while I was out for a few days. I've updated the post with the new format.

Learner II

Hi Mark,

When I tried that, I got a 500 Internal server error. I pasted the string 'users?search_term=%s&role_filter_id=&page=' after our own URL - any advice you can offer?

Thanks!

Surveyor

Hi Martha, not sure what's going wrong for you. Feel free to send me a direct message with the entire URL you're using - maybe I can help. Besides the URL being malformed, the other thing that might not be working correctly is your Chrome browser setting...if you can send me a screenshot of that "Custom Search Engines" page I can probably help narrow down the issue.
-m

Surveyor

Two quick notes to add:

  1. If you'd like to see step-by-step instructions with screen shots, see Admin Tips: Search Quickly for Users & Courses
  2. When searching for courses, you can add the term also, if you want to search just the current term. For example: https://canvas.biola.edu/accounts/1/courses?enrollment_term_id=38&course%5Bname%5D=%s (I use the keyword "c" for current course)
  3. The user search changed recently. Here's what mine looks like: https://canvas.biola.edu/accounts/1/users?search_term=%s&role_filter_id=&page= (I use the keyword "u" for users)
About the Author
Responsible for all IT in our organisation, especially eLearning. I love solving problems, especially with technology (when appropriate). Keen judoka and would like to say mountain biker but not riding a lot these days.