Allow wrap-around text for content items in a module

  This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


  Idea will be open for vote Wed. July 1, 2015 - Wed. October 7, 2015  Learn more about voting...


Dear Canvas


Recently you updated the number of characters visible in the module main page.  Now all of my assignments are truncated and end with ....


Why would you do this?


Does this look informative to students?  Why is there so much white open and available space between my assignment name and the number of points it's worth?


Now, I heard it was to make things easier to read on phones and tablets.  Except it's not. Here's my tablet.  This is awesome.  Totally - I like being able to see 10 letters of an assignment.  And since you can't hover on a tablet, why have you done this?


I would like to know who, in their right mind, looked at this and said, yeah.... that looks great!


I would like to vote on increasing the display size of assignment names in the modules.  Whatever it was before was even too small.  So I don't know if this is a vote on increasing the allowable text letters, or if it increases the width of the pixels used in that category.  No, I don't use the app for Canvas because I don't like how it's set up or organized.  It looks entirely different than the web based version, nothing is indented and so on, so that's not a reasonable alternative request Canvas.






  Comments from Instructure


For more information, please read through the Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-08-27)

Community Novice

Hi April,

I'm not exactly sure this is a problem that canvas has caused by limiting the characters for a module item. Or, at least not exactly. It looks like it's a screen resolution issue where you aren't able to stretch beyond your current resolution, and, because of that, you aren't able to see the whole title that is blocked out by white space canvas likes to add in. Which is actually necessary to keep the interface as clean looking as it dose compared to some other learning management systems. And, yes, it is truncated a bit much in some cases -- but, at least in my experience, I've had no problems with it. 

Granted, I could be totally wrong -- but, at least at my university, the character limit dose not seem so short on my screen at 1920x1080. But if I make the browser window narrower, the module item will start to become too truncated for me to read it effectively.

On your laptop you can probably get around this at least a little bit by zooming out in your web browser. (Command or Ctrl and the [ - ] key on your keyboard... [ + ] to zoom in). This, at least in the meantime, will help you identify the module items easier. If you zoom out too much, you may have a hard time reading it though.

It's also helpful - and this is just a preference thing, I understand - to not add the same beginning to the module items unless totally necessary.

Instead just append it on the end which will also help students dig into the canvas course a little deeper to see what is required and what isn't if they also struggle with the screen resolution problem you seem to be having (that I could totally be wrong about). Because, at least I would assume, most module items should be read by the student. So I don't totally understand why it says "required" or "read me" at the beginning of most modules in your course. So maybe that could be an easy fix by moving those to the end of the module item name.

Of course, you're more than welcome to run your course  how you want to run it.

But, I  hope this helps a little bit.

Also, that looks like an ipad screenshot for the second one, would turning it landscape help? Just a suggestion, I'm not sure if it would.

Hope you have a wonderful day.

Community Member


Neither of my monitors go to that resolution - both are newer laptops (one is less than a year old, my Mac is less than 2 years old).  My Mac is set to retina display preferred resolution - I won't be changing that.  This was a change - about 2 weeks ago I could see more characters - now I can't.  I reported it and Canvas admitted it was a change and was intentional - to allow more characters to be seen on the mobile app.  However, I don't use the mobile app (I think it's also horrid as you can't see your calendar, only one module at a time, nothing is indented) so that increase in character use at the expense of the desktop set up was a poor decision in my opinion.  So I would like my characters back!


Community Member

Sorry - I forgot to add that online best practices state that you should differentiate what action to want students to take with assignments.  If I put required at the end, a student won't see it at all with the current character/pixel count! 


Community Novice

I understand not wanting to change your preferred resolution on your mac. And, in fact, your mac resolution goes beyond 1920x1080 if it is a retina. Or at least I'm pretty sure. Your browser renders it as though it was a normal (13 inch?) display. So, just to clarify, my option was to zoom out in your web browser to help see the titles. And, thankfully if you're on a mac with retina display, the text would remain pretty sharp as you zoom out.

As far as online best practices, I don't really know what that is. I'm just coming from a student and course designer perspective saying I don't feel it's always necessary, especially if you're having trouble reading the titles.

I can understand you're frustrated. I'm just trying to provide a temporary solution to help you out.

Best of luck.

Community Member

Hi Kent

When I switched my online class from Moodle to Canvas, I spent a lot of time retitling everything to fit (or at least almost fit).  Moodle allowed for wrap around text - so you could type in whatever info you wanted and it would render properly).

Canvas had a pixel/character limit, so I edited every title and header that I had, every assignment name.  Now they changed it again.

I did cntrl- out.  In order to see things, I have to get down to about font size 8.  That's not really a work around per se.  And not something I feel comfortable asking my students to do - nor should I have to ask them to do that.  I had a 65 year old woman in one of my classes - do you think she wants to set her browser to font size 8 to read things?

I get the work arounds. I have been playing that game with Canvas since day 1.  We are still playing the game since I teach in the sciences and almost every quiz type didn't allow for proper formatting (super or subscripts) it has been a dance I have been doing for years. 

From a course design perspective.  I teach my courses online, I have a required quiz, and then a quiz, exactly the same, for practice.  This is why I lead with those words, so students can tell which one is which quiz.  Without the words, they have, in  the past, tried to take the practice quiz for their grade (and it doesn't get graded).  You can imagine their frustration.  From a best practices perspective it is important when teaching online, to be clear with what is required, extra credit, not required, and what action students should take with assignments in the module.  With a f2f class using Canvas to disseminate info, it's not as important because you see them and can refer to it, and show them.  Online, they have to be able to clearly see what they need to do.

I'll probably just dump everything into content pages now.  Again, redesigning my course for a third time in 4 years.

When something was set up reasonably, and they change it, that is why I have asked for this.  To please change it back.  If you didn't notice a change at all, that's great.  You have a monitor of ample size.  I have two laptops (13 in Mac and 15 in PC), and noticed a change immediately.  Many of our students have the cute little netbooks from Acer and HP.  I can only imagine what it looks like on their puny screens now.  These are things that Canvas needs to consider and think about.  I have a 2000.00 retina display Mac, and the change in pixel width has negatively affected me.  I know what each assignment is, I made it, created it, so if it's bothersome to me, how do you think a student feels when looking at a change and they are new to the course and haven't done the assignments yet?    It has to my colleagues (and one has the large screen MacBook Pro from several years ago (non retina) and it changed on her screen also.  This is why I have submitted the request.

If nothing changed for you, then you could vote for it to change back, and it has no impact on you at all!


Community Contributor

I agree with April. I got a request similar to this from one of my faculty members at Delaware. Having the Modules tool to wrap the long titles would be ideal. See screenshot below of what the current truncating does, regardless of the resolution of the screen.


Community Novice

Hi, and thanks Mathieu. I agree! I am the faculty member whose page Mathieu was nice enough to write about.

It really is distressing to see that the text headers in my course Modules are now truncated. The Modules page is the main navigation structure for my course, and I use the text headers to separate subsections within each Module, and sometimes to provide usage information.

Actually, the situation is even a little worse than Mathieu described---the number of visible characters varies with the zoom level I choose in my browser. That means I cannot manage how much my students can see by even by counting characters.

I understand every LMS must make choices and tradeoffs. I am sure there is some reason for reducing the number of characters I can show. But it has caused a communication problem in my course. After working hard to "get it right," now I find myself beginning with a new group of students by apologizing for the appearance and lack of communication on my key Modules page. This is frustrating and counterproductive, and sends exactly the wrong signal about the care I have put into my course.

Canvas, please consider changing this appearance back, or at least give me an option to do so. More generally, I encourage you to avoid making changes in appearance without compelling improvement as the reason.

Thank you.

Paul Laux, University of Delaware

Community Coach
Community Coach

I, too, wish the titles went back to being longer.  I did find a response about this from erinhallmark​ over here:

Community Member

Thanks for that link!  I wish they did wrap-around as well - at the very least let me know how many characters/spaces I am going to be given..... On larger screens it wraps around, on smaller screens it doesn't given their allowed width.   I do miss the wrap around text in Moodle.  I understand that huge chunks of text can make it hard to wade through - but at the same time, I don't want to "hide" everything in content pages.  Click, click, click, click, ohhhh there's what I am supposed to do today.   I polled my students and they said that they want as much as possible right there - they can see what is expected of them, they know where things lie in the order of assignments, they can just work their way through the module top to bottom.  I didn't have a single student miss an assignment when my course was structured this way last term.  Not one.  I think that's sort of amazing.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi  @amixon ​ - thank you for your idea submission. It will be available for vote in the next voting cycle.

In the meantime, in order to make it easier for users to find this idea, I've updated the title to better reflect your idea and the conversation that is developing. From "Increase number of characters in assignments in modules" to "Allow wrap-around text for content items in a module"

Please let me know if this change is not reflective of your goals.