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What is the Course Import Tool?

What is the Course Import Tool?

The Course Import Tool makes it easy to extract course content, assignments, and quizzes from previous terms and quickly import them into existing courses. The same tool is used to import course materials from different Learning Management Systems. Some limitations apply to course imports.

When Would I Use the Course Import Tool?

When Would I Use the Course Import Tool?

Accessed from the Course Settings sidebar, use the Course Import Tool to:

Copy course content from term to term, including Announcements and Discussions. You can adjust the events and due dates to coordinate with your current term.

Select migrations content to select specific content you want copied. You can select individual Assignments, Pages, Files, and anything else from previous courses you or your colleagues have taught. The Course Import Tool supports keyboard navigation when selecting content to import.

Import course materials from different Learning Management Systems. The Course Import Tool does not import user content.

Note: Importing a course more than once may have unintended consequences. If you import content into a new course, edit the content in the new course, and later import the previous content again, the imported content will override the existing content.

Choose Import Source

Choose Import Source

Content import options currently supported in the Course Import Tool include:

  • Import all content or choose specific content to copy from another Canvas course
  • Import a Canvas Course Export Package (courses that were previously exported from Canvas)
  • Import a ZIP file of assignments, files, course content, etc. into an existing folder
  • Import an Angel export ZIP format
  • Import a Blackboard 6/7/8/9 export ZIP file
  • Import a Blackboard Vista/CE, Web CT 6+ Course
  • Import a Common Cartridge 1.0/1.1/1.2 package
  • Import a Desire2Learn (D2L) export ZIP format
  • Import a Moodle 1.9/2.x ZIP file
  • Import a QTI ZIP file

Import Content

Import Content

When importing content, the tool allows you to import all content or select specific content. This feature is useful for institutions or instructors who only want to copy specific elements of a course, such as assignments or modules.

The following behaviors currently apply to Canvas copies or imports:

  • Draft State settings are retained in course imports. If an assignment is unpublished in a course when it was copied or exported, the assignment will also be unpublished in the content import.
  • MasteryPaths conditional items are not retained in course imports, and paths must be re-created after the import is completed.
  • Copying content retains any links or files associated with the content, such as in an assignment.
  • When selecting assignments only, Canvas imports all assessment items within the Assignments page (including any associated quizzes and discussions). Assignments will remain in their assignment groups if an entire assignment group or all assignments are imported.
  • SCORM content is included in course copies. SCORM content should only be copied within accounts that use the same key and secret configuration.
  • When manually copying a course, the user who copies the course will automatically be added to the course with an instructor role.

Import Limitations

The following behaviors also apply to Canvas copies or imports:

  • Group sets do not copy as part of the import. Any existing group sets in the new course will be linked to the group set with the same name. However, if there are no group sets with the same name in the new course, the assignment will be linked to a new Project Groups set.
  • When selecting individual assignments, assignments are placed in an assignment group called Imported Assignments. However, assignments can be moved into other assignment groups as necessary.
  • Enrollment-related data, which includes course users, collaborations, conferences, groups, and sections, and feature option settings are not included in course content imports.
  • Announcements and Discussions do not retain the name of the user who originally created the course content. Additionally, students do not receive announcement notifications for imported announcements. However, a badge indicating a new announcement displays on the Card View and Recent Activity Dashboards.
  • Assignments with a manual grade posting policy and anonymous assignments retain the manual grade posting policy and their anonymous settings as part of the course import.
  • Calendar item locations (e.g., office hours slots with an assigned office location) are not included in course imports.

Adjust Events and Due Dates

Adjust Events and Due Dates

In addition to recreating the structure and content of the course, the Course Import Tool can adjust events and due dates to the new date ranges of the new term.

View Current and Prior Imports

Once you have started an import, the Current Jobs menu displays the job status of any imports in process, as well as any prior import history.



My colleagues and I have a Canvas course where we share/create content that can be imported by any of us to our own courses. As many of us teach the same course level, we must be able to import (or copy) the same content more than once, otherwise the purpose of the "Shared Resources" course is lost. 


While consulting the Canvas teacher's guide, I came across the following warning:

Note: Importing a course more than once may have unintended consequences. If you import content into a new course, edit the content in the new course, and later import the previous content again, the imported content will override the existing content.


1) What does "Import a course more than once" mean? What if two or more instructors import the same content? Does it mean that when one instructor modifies imported content, the change affects the "master" course or the other instructors' course?

2) What does "previous content" refer to? Does it refer to the master course or to the first copy of the master course?

3) What is the "existing content"? Is it the first copy ?

Any help is greatly appreciated!


Hello @Lau10 ,

I'll try to answer you questions the best that I can.

1) This means importing a course into the same course more than once. If you are importing into separate courses, you shouldn't run into any issues.

2) This is the original course you are using for the course import. In your example, the Shared Resources course.

3) Whatever content exists in the course you importing into. So this might be the course that you are teaching.

So let's say you import content from Shared Resources into History 101. Then you make changes in History 101 and import content from Shared Resources again. It's possible that this second import would overwrite changes you made in History 101 after the first import.


Following up on this question, if I want to important a NEW file (page, quiz etc.) from a source course into my published class that already has content in it, can I do that safely without worrying that all other existing content in the published class will be erased? I ask this because I want to build freely in my source course and then import into my already existing, published class as I go.


I'm confused about where I should START when I'm importing.  Do I start in the course I want the content to be imported TO, or do I start in the course I want the content to be imported FROM?  This is very important and I don't know that it's included in the instructions.  If not done correctly, one could import the "blank" content over the stuff I just labored over for hours.


Hello @IOhistory,

If you want, you can select specific content in a Course Import so you do not have to import the entire course.

Another option you may want to consider is using the Copy to option to copy an item to another course. (The link I shared is for assignments, but the option is also available for quizzes, discussions, pages, quizzes, and announcements. The functionality for modules will be added next week.)


Hi @lister,

The Course Import Tool is available in the course in which you want to import the content. You can view more about that in these lessons.


Thank you CanvasDocTeam for your help!

What do I do if I actually did import content again and overwrite my edited module.  Is there an undo.  It would be great if it were like google and I could return to a previous history version.

Hi @beth_clendenin

I'm so sorry to hear that your edits were overwritten! I'm not aware of an option to reverse a course import or restore an older version of a course. However, you can always reach out to Canvas Support to see if they can help. 



Just a clarification.

If I import a specific module (that contains discussions, assignments, quizzes, etc.) to a course, will the contents of the module (that is, the discussions, assignments, quizzes, files, etc) also be imported to the destination course?


Thanks for the question! If you select a module as part of a course import, it will import all the items that are a part of that module.


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