Allow No file preview - neither overlay nor inline

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

The new Canvas release for 3/20/2021 removed the ability to Disable Inline Preview of linked files and now forces Teachers/Designers to choose between an Inline Preview or Overlay Preview (with a download icon next to the link). We'd like the option to disable any preview of linked files. We'd also like the get rid of the download icon as it starts taking up too much space if there's a lot of files being linked.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: Open
Community Champion

I just wanted to chime on this and the value of giving instructors the option to download a file directly - especially since I think this was the default behavior or at least an option with the previous Rich Content Editor. Besides the convenience factor, I think there may be accessibility considerations to this as well - my understanding is that viewing a file in the preview function is generally not going to be as accessible as viewing the file on their platform of choice that has more built-in options to access that content.  

With the preview functionality, it is still possible to download the file - but it adds an extra step. It would at least be helpful to understand the rationale on this change and whether it is intentional or just an oversight, 

Community Champion

Rated 5 stars! At our institution, we used the old RCE's preview suppression for take-home exam documents -- ones the teacher intended to always be downloaded and counted in Access Reports or New Analytics.

With the option removed, we currently must modify document links in order to get them to work the same way. 

Community Participant

Thank you for creating this post. I completely support! The new behavior is also inconsistent - if you upload direct to the RCE it defaults to display inline (and has converted most existing links to this from what I can tell even if you had inline display disabled previously); if you pick from Course Documents, it defaults to overlay. 

It would have been nice if Canvas had tested this as a beta feature like they did with the new RCE rather than unexpectedly springing it on us and causing a variety of bugs and unexpected behavior.

Community Champion

This definitely has our support! It doesn't make any sense to me why this was removed to add optional overlay formatting. When we want students to go through a PowerPoint presentation, we don't want them to look at a "PDF" of the presentation, which is what happens with the preview system.

Having this feature restored would be great!

Community Participant

Agree, support, bring it back please! I am pretty certain that this was also mentioned in the comments on those release notes too.

Community Participant

Yes please to all of this. Our program uses the ability to disable inline preview extensively. And having the update retroactively change functionality that was intentionally built into Canvas shells is absolutely unacceptable.

Community Explorer

I have a large number of files that students are expected to download, complete, and submit. Not only has the method of interaction changed mid-semester, but for many of the files, it has broken the link and I will need to re-link them so that my students can access them.

I'm beyond upset with changes being rolled out mid-semester that affect the functionality of previously built courses.

Community Explorer

Our institution misses it. Take-home exams are just one example of why.

Community Participant

One of my comments about this on the Release Notes was deleted since it is apparently a planned feature, so fingers crossed it comes about soon:



Removing Inline previews is a planned feature


Our engineering team is planning to enable the feature to remove inline previews completely. Please follow