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What is Chat?

What is Chat?

The Chat tool in Canvas allows students and teachers to interact in real time.


  • The Chat tool must be enabled for your institution before it can be used in Canvas courses. If you are an admin, contact your Customer Success Manager for assistance.
  • When Chat is enabled at the account level, it is enabled by default in all courses within the account.
  • Chat is not available when masquerading.
  • Safari 13.1 contains an update that may cause issues with chat alerts. You can avoid errors with files and images by disabling cross-site tracking prevention in Safari when using Canvas.

View Course Chat

Chat is a course tool that is available to all students in the course. Chats cannot be limited to specific students.

Instructors can use the chat tool to allow students to contact them when online, create virtual office hours, conduct group discussions or study sessions.

All users in the course can also access the chat history.

Note: Students cannot delete chat comments.


I have enabled the notifications in chat, but I do not see where those notifications appear when a student has posted using that function. How will I be notified?

Hi @lori_campbell,

When new message alerts are enabled in Chat, an audio alert will sound when a new message is added. Audio alerts will only go off if Chat is open in Canvas, but is not the active browser window. You won't receive alerts if you leave Chat to view another area in Canvas. Hope that information helps. If you have further questions, please reach out. 


I was told that my institution has chat. Where do I locate it in the canvas courses?



I hope you were able to find the chat feature within your Canvas space.  If not, the two guides in this section should help you out.

How do I (instructor) view the chat history?

I cannot find the chat icon on my Canvas menu board as describe above.  How do I get it on my computer?

Hi @tatrendler,

According to How do I use Chat as an instructor?, "Message history for each course is included in the chat. Chat history can be accessed indefinitely by loading more results and scrolling through previous course chats." So you should just need to scroll up to view chat history. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out.


Hi @w1741616,

If the Chat link doesn't display in Course Navigation, the Chat tool may not be available for your course. Schools can choose to enable/disable Chat for the entire school and then teachers can choose to disable it for the course. If you need to message your instructor or others in your course, you might try sending a message via the Inbox. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out.


I was wondering if Chat is available for institutions that have the lowest tier of CANVAS. Would be super helpful right now as my school is in school full time, but we are trying to do work arounds for group work. 

Hi @bwisniewski,

Great question. According to the Canvas Account Comparison PDF, the Chat tool is not available for free Canvas accounts, however it is available for paid Canvas accounts.

To enable the Chat tool in a course in a paid account, it must first be enabled by a Canvas Admin at your school for your institution. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out. 


These comments are posted to the global Canvas Community,

NOT your Canvas course.

  • Have a question about using Canvas? Visit the Q&A page.
  • Have an idea to improve Canvas? Visit the Idea Conversations space.
  • Need to reply to a course discussion? Log in to your Canvas course and add your comment there (Tip: Visit your school's website to log in to Canvas).
Version history
Revision #:
10 of 10
Last update:
‎09-11-2020 10:45 AM
Updated by: