Copy Anything in Canvas (Redux)

Community Novice

I’m sure many course designers would agree that the need to quickly create a structure or repeat action should be able to be achieved with as few clicks as possible. That does not quite align with the official response to the feature request to “Copy Anything in Canvas.” My understanding of Commons is not that it is a means to make copies, but rather to share entire learning objects in an easily findable way. A designer shouldn’t need to add metadata to copy an object. A true copy would make Canvas much easier for instructors/designers to use effectively.

As the original poster of , I realize that the kitchen sink approach might not have been the best, so let’s try this again with a clearer and more granular approach. I’ve created the following feature requests which capture what I had envisioned.

Deactivated user also suggests that we review the following:

Ability to share a rubric to the Commons

Duplicating Rating Scales in the Same Rubric

Quiz Question 'Cloning' Capability

Recurring Activity Option for Calendar

You can help most by discussing your particular use case in the comments.

Keep the conversation going to make Canvas even better!

PS: if you need this kind of functionality today, check out the awesome work of  @kenneth_larsen ​'s Kennethware.

Tags (1)
Community Team
Community Team


 @jthoms ​ Thank you so much for putting this discussion together in order to continue the conversation of copying and duplicating content.  I tend to be a big picture thinker so I really like kitchen sink feature ideas, but I also understand that tracking progress and development on the kitchen sink projects is very difficult.  You have demonstrated a great way to frame the big picture and highlight the steps it takes to get there!  Well done!!

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thank you for posting this  @jthoms ​, and especially for taking the time to split up and create a feature idea for each Canvas Component!

If I could offer any advice, I would suggest the following:

Keep the good ideas flowing, John!

Community Novice

Great suggestions, Deactivated user! I'll add the quantity to the 5 that I posted. I hope that others will chime in on the use case.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @jthoms ​ and Deactivated user​: these are all great ideas.  I think where is strong opportunity for how we handle the "copying" of content items inside of the Canvas platform.  I'm going to begin some initial exploration on this functionality and see what I can find for a solid workflow.

Kind regards,


Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey Deactivated user​, I don't know if you saw my comment (including some use cases) on  @jthoms ​'s original feature idea but I think it will add some additional clarity and insight that could be valuable for your consideration:

Original Comment:

I would also suggest that content should not only be available to clone or copy, but also that the creator should be able to specify a QUANTITY for the content being copied.

From the perspective of an instructor and course designer who has designed many courses in Canvas and helped hundreds of others develop courses, I find that Teachers often have assignments (sample) discussions (sample) and especially pages (sample 1 - sample 2 -sample 3) that have a certain format and they want all of these similar items in their course to be consistent and match that format. Often times they will know that they need 5, 10, 20, or even 30 of those same items. Cloning would allow them to copy that format and they should be able to do so by a quantity they specify.

Picture this scenario: Lets say that a teacher or instructional designer wants to create a quick skeleton/frame up of their course.  They know that they are going to give 14 Weekly Overview pages, 10 Lab assignments, 6 papers submitted as assignments, 10 quizzes, and 14 weekly discussions. With a cloning option, coupled with a quantity option, they could create just 2 assignments (one for lab and one for paper), 1 discussion, 1 quiz, and 1 page template in their course. Then they could use the "clone" option and choose how many times they want to clone each item. Or, even better, imagine if they could add each of these content items into a module for "Week 1" then copy or clone that module 14 times, and all of the content would copy as well.

Another consideration is that you would probably want each content item to be the same name as the original content item with a number after it, increased by an increment of 1. So in the example above Week 1 module should create 13 other modules... week 2... week 3... week 4... etc. And the content items within could work the same way... Lab 1 (the original), then after the clone you would have Lab 2... Lab 3... Lab 4... etc.

Community Participant

This may have already come up, but I didn't see it in a quick search.

The three that I'd love to see are:

  • quickly copy a Page
  • make multiple copies of something from Commons
  • and copy a rubric (particularly one linked to Outcomes).

(I mean, in addition to the great suggestions up there).

Did I miss those in the search?


Community Team
Community Team

Hi MLentini

Great suggestions.

  1. There is not a posted idea for copying a page, however there is a related request for template pages
  2. All Commons requests can be found at Commons Feature Ideas​, including " modifiedtitle="true" title="Commons ability to import pages or assignments multiple times at once.
  3. You saw the two links above for rubrics, which are the only ones I found.  You may want to post that one?

Miss ya buddy!  Hope to see you in the near future!


Thanks to John for persevering on this one.  We realize that using a repository is not a long term solution to the need for in-course content copying.  Please help us prioritize which copying functionality to build first and contribute use cases in the feature idea comments.

Community Champion

 @jthoms ​, thanks for the great list. I will vote them up but also see what I can do about updating my tools to include some of the items listed that I had not yet considered.

Community Novice

I fully agree with the idea of enabling copying without running it through Commons first. I'm new to this, but it would seem Commons would be very polluted if every copy in Canvas would have to go through commons?

Please consider adding "Copy Outcomes" to your list? We have several courses that are add ons to previous courses, but where the outcomes are inherited, and re-tested during assignments. Not being able to easily copy Outcomes between courses is very inefficient. This doesn't align well with the claim by Canvas of being efficient.

Kind regards,