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Disappearing Graphics

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I have jpg images which display just fine, then for no apparent reason they disappear, only showing the file name.  Is this a bug? Am I doing something wrong?


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 @mfreedman3 ‌, there are numerous variables that might account for this: where the images reside, how they were added to the item, where they appear within the course. Canvas Support would need to have a look within the course itself to determine why this might be occurring in each case, so if this is happening to you, please initiate a support case (How do I get help with Canvas as an instructor?‌) 

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We are also battling this problem and it is getting more prevalent. We've submitted multiple tickets, and our faculty have also submitted individual tickets. The popular response is to clear the cache or use another browser. Neither of these are appropriate fixes. One of our IDs is clearing her cache a minimum of once a week. She also teaches as an adjunct at another university and is having the same issue with her courses there as well. We were initially told that Instructure wasn't aware of any problems with missing/disappearing images, that there was something a couple of years ago that had long been resolved. It is getting frustrating.

Some of our faculty have removed all images from their courses because of this, and that cannot continue to happen. My next fear is that it will happen to a student taking an exam/quiz where they have to identify something in an image, but the image doesn't show up (many of our science faculty use images in this manner). For an online class, this is a one attempt assessment that is normally timed. When this happens, this student is panicked. Bottom line...this is happening in multiple browsers (all supported), at multiple institutions, on multiple networks, on multiple devices. I understand there can be many reasons for why it is happening, but I'd like for support to acknowledge that it is a real issue and they are working to resolve it. Canvas is such a great LMS and has had such great support. This particular issue is causing frustration, and we're hearing it from our faculty and feeling it ourselves.

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Community Contributor

We are experiencing the same issue.  Clearing the cache does work, but this is not an acceptable solution.  We are using lots of images for our online and blended courses, but it is disappointing to realize that students may end up seeing a broken image icon instead.  All of our images are in the Files sections of their respective courses.  The "disappearing" images are random.  One staff member may not see an image, while everyone else does.  This is happening across Chrome and Safari web browsers for us.  I'm not sure about Firefox since that is not used as often.  Our students also report that Chrome and Safari are the most used browsers so we need images to consistently work on these browsers.  I'll try to call Support the next time this happens to me and report it and request they screenshare and view the problem.

Community Champion

I have also had this problem routinely.  I contacted Canvas Chat, and they recommended clearing the cache.  This fix only worked for a few days.  I noticed this problem in Chrome; I was able to see the images in Firefox. I created a quiz that has images, and I am now concerned these quiz items may not appear for all students.  I hope there is something Canvas can do to assist with a permanent fix.  Maybe in the future Canvas may consider creating their own browser.

Community Participant

I raised this issue with Canvas and they recommended we white-list a list of Canvas services. We haven't implemented this yet, but are investigating this issue further before we make any changes. I use Chrome, and I have noticed that the images appear fine initially, but then if you leave the window open, navigate away from the images page, and open a different course, and then return to the same course over an hour later, this is when they tend to drop off.

The images seem to re-appear if you to a cache refresh using 'ctrl' + 'f5' in the browser.

New Member

I've been experiencing this problem for months. Sometime images are there, sometimes not, and then sometimes they come back again. Imagine if Facebook users were reporting missing images and they were told to clear their caches.

The support answers I and others of you have received amount to gaslighting by technical support. "Problem? What problem? ... oh, uh ... just clear your cache." So much easier than doing the hard work of tracking down an intermittent, but immensely critical issue.

BTW, this is another VERY good reason to insist on really meaningful, detailed alt text for all images.

New Member

I also have this problem - frustratingly on the same page some images display and others do not - hard to see this as a cache issue

Here's the screwy part about it - I think the fact that its related to cached files is part of why Instructure has had difficulty identifying it. I spent years doing tech support and teaching tech support, and part of the philosophy(?) of troubleshooting (which sounds very ostentatious but I can't think of a better word) is that if you can't reproduce the issue consistently on a second computer while you're working, its overwhelmingly likely a problem with a specific computer instead of a problem with the system both those computers connect to.

Additionally, issues related to images not loading on one computer when they can load on other computers are almost always related to a computer's ability to refresh its caches. So when we (or tech support from Instructure) take the very reasonable step of manually refreshing caches, it generally fixes the issue and reinforces the notion that this is computer specific.

I think there is some weird interaction on the server side that is either telling browsers they've refreshed when they haven't or ignoring requests to refresh.

Community Champion

At the top of this thread it says Assumed Answered, but is the question really answered?

I created a new question in which I refer back to this thread.

New Member

Instructure said that they deployed a fix on July 13. Is anyone still seeing this issue?

I am trying to get the case # so that others can report new instances of this problem via their admins.  

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Yes, this is still an issue.

New Member

Tech support has closed my case. They don't consolidate instances of an issue under a common case #, so I recommend that you open a new case via your admin. Take a screenshot and give them the details.

Community Member

August 22, 2018 -- it just happened to me (again). It hasn't happened in a couple of months, though, so I haven't been searching the community until today. It's a banner that's been in place more than a year, then suddenly, gone. A few minutes later -- after refresh and cleared cache, I might add -- still gone. I left my office for a few minutes, came back, and there it was, visible again as if it had never disappeared. 

Thanks for the update, please refer this to Instructure via your system


On Wed, Aug 22, 2018 at 11:37 AM, <>

Community Contributor

I have a report of a case of this today, Sept 7, 2018. Smiley Sad

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Please make sure you send this through your system admin... M

On Fri, Sep 7, 2018 at 8:34 AM <>

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New Member

Is there a solution to this or are we all just dealing with it?


I'm working on designing custom pages for our Canvas courses, but I am getting push back on doing so because of the disappearing graphics. We would like to have a beautifully designed home page for our courses, but often just limit ourselves to a banner and some text because there's no point spending the time designing everything if it could cause confusion or navigation issues anyways. There's so much potential... I'd love to move forward and not limit myself because of a technical glitch. 

disappearing images‌ html &amp; css‌ 

 @tuk03990 ‌ good on you and you institution for having high standards.

The missing graphics issue seems to be so brief and occurs so irregularly that I just carry on as usual and put graphics in where I want them. It hasn't happened to me for a few weeks now and the last time it happened I blinked my eyes and it resolved. I hope it's the same for you also. 

We've had this happen sporadically, but I think most people on this thread would be interested in knowing what causes it when it does happen because it shouldn't happen at all in theory. The "here today, gone tomorrow" nature of this glitch can be really frustrating to folks who don't understand the intricate details of how software works. It should "just work" and if it doesn't have an explanation behind it and a clear resolution path. 

Hello JEFHQ12951 .

My main concern with this issue is always for those of us who embed images in our quiz/exam questions. This can be a nightmare when the image is needed to answer the question, and the system decides to 'glitch' at some point during a timed online quiz/exam. 

It just seems like there would be a solution to this. What do we tell students that experience this?....that it's normal?

I have no problem with accepting it since it doesn't happen too frequently, but it does look terrible when it does. Students should be able to see things at all times without this glitch. If I create custom navigation buttons that link to things within the course, they should be able to see them and be able to navigate without the icon disappearing. It has caused confusion for students in my experience. They've mentioned it in feedback surveys/questionnaires! Making the page visually appealing gives better user experience. When it's all glitch, it's a bad experience. Luckily it doesn't happen very frequently!

Also, as Kimberly noted below, the images cannot disappear in quizzes. That's a HUGE issue! I haven't had this happen to me personally, but it is obviously something that has happened. 

Community Participant

Timely re: quizzes: I was just observing a class using a hybrid module we'd designed which leans heavily on short, image heavy quizzes for instant formative assessment so students can diagnose what concepts they do/don't understand and in both Chrome and Firefox on Mac and PC, they reported issues with an image essential to the question not displaying. This issue has real impact on the educational and classroom experience!

I have this problem all the time - doesn't matter how big or small the images are.  I had some images linked to pages on my home page, but I've changed them over to buttons because I was sick of seeing broken links all the time.  I have all my images stored in my course files.  I think this is a server issue on Instructure's side.  Are course files stored on Instructure servers?  The reason I think this is that I often have problems uploading files.  It will tell me to try again - so I do - and that works.  But if there are temporary glitches in uploading, couldn't there just as easily be temporary glitches in downloading?

We are having the same struggles. There was some discussion of this issue at Canvascon in Sydney recently, and the official Canvas commentary appeared to be 'isn't it great to see how the community helps each other to solve these problems'. It is hard to see this as a self help issue, when it feels as if it is actually a Canvas problem which has not been addressed.

Please push this through your admins to open tickets. Then perhaps

aggregate the collective tickets here so we can see how many people are

dealing with this?

On Sun, Sep 16, 2018 at 10:33 PM <

Community Contributor

So, I've seen this in a specific course, and I have some suspicions about why it may be happening in my instance.

How many of you who are having this experience are using a vanity URL? Like, we have, as well as (we don't direct anyone to this one).

When you see the missing image, after the page has completed loading (some of the responses here say that the image may magically appear after a few seconds--that's network lag, not a resource location problem), right-click on the image placeholder and select "Inspect Element" (or whatever will bring up the HTML in your browser). Check to make sure that the top-level domain for both URLs in the image code match. In the image below, they do.

html with top-level domains highlighted

When I've seen problems is when they mismatch. I can't make a guess as to why there's a mismatch, but there can be.

The only solution I've seen for this is to delete the image and then place it again in the content (*Always use the content selector in Canvas to select the image from within your course files for best results*). If you have very involved styles applied to the image, this can be a real drag.

Because of some of the particulars of the course in question, it's difficult to kick this problem up the chain using a support ticket (institutional politics). BUT, it may be worth looking at examples in your course to see if there is a domain mismatch between the src and the api enpoint URLs. The super weird thing about this is, when you go to edit the content page (or whatever), the HTML doesn't show this mismatch. It's only when we're viewing the page with the broken image.

We are not able to consistently recreate the broken images. But when they occur, this seems to be the culprit.

Community Participant

That's a really interesting observation about mismatched URLs. The next time I get a report of this happening from a teacher or a student, I will be sure to check this.

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I wanted to point out that my primary institution has a vanity URL and we had experienced this before and submitted a support case that got a resolution. Every now and then we still experience it so it's still a here today, gone tomorrow issue. I also teach part time for another institution and it happens on their non-vanity URL. More than 3 times I've had to correct the home page image on a course that was designed for me by an instructional design team.

Conclusion: This seems as mysterious an issue as ever. I would love for someone from Instructure to take a look at this thread and jump in here to discuss what causes this to happen and what the course of resolution might be. The original question is 'answered' so I doubt that it would get the attention of such an individual. 

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The mismatch that I'm seeing is that the api-endpoint URL is pointing back to a course developer's instance of Canvas. My thought process went something like: it doesn't sound like most people are seeing this with courses that were developed in other instances of Canvas. I wonder if it might also be something with the vanity URL.

But now that I'm thinking about it, I'm wondering if this is happening with courses developed at other places and are imported into other instances of Canvas. Or that are pushed into .imscc files and reimported. Or something. I mean, it's obviously not consistent, but maybe there's another confounding factor, as well.


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When I have experienced this issue, it is usually associated with .png images, which I have saved directly into my course files (which are also copied over from course to course each semester), and then embedded using the content editor. 

New Member

Same thing regularly happening to me. Currently, it happens in Chrome, because that is what I am using. But it used to happen in Firefox when I was using that. When I change browser, the picture reappears, but when back to the initial browser, it is again gone. I have my pictures in Files, so I just add them back to the page they disappeared from. Sometimes, I have to do it again and again. No idea how it looks on the other side - I fix it as soon as I see it.

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New Member

I also had this issue on Thursday and Friday.  My images were part of a quiz and appeared only as their file names, all .jpgs.  The students could guess the answers based on the names of the files.  The students did not tell me this until my last class on Friday.

Community Member

This happens in Quizzes too, so the stakes are high. And it's not consistent. One student will see all images, some will see about half, some will see none.  It's a big problem. 

New Member

We've also experienced this issue intermittently on our courses. Sometimes they disappear when we revisit the courses and haven't manually logged in as a user for a while.

My fix: I have have the user log out and then log back in. This  usually refreshes the cache for Canvas and fixes the issue. When this doesn't work I say something like, "Please be patient, there appears to be a server issue going on with Canvas at the moment." 

I'd love Canvas to find the source of the issue in the code and fix it in a future update.

Community Participant

We have been battling this issue at our campus.  I've worked with several faculty members and done some of my own testing.

Here are the definitive steps to recreating this issue as far as I can tell:

1) Create a test bank of several questions, with each containing a graphic file. I was using JPG files that I had uploaded to the course files.

2) Create a quiz and add those questions to it from the test bank.

3) On one or more of the questions, edit and make a change. You can change the point value or some of the text.  It does not matter.

4) Save & Publish the quiz.

5) FROM ANOTHER BROWSER, go into this quiz as a student (either logged in as a student or impersonated) and go to this quiz. 

6) The questions that were EDITED will have their graphics broken like I’ve shown in the attachment to this entry.

The reason for step 5 is that I was seeing issues where a professor had images cached so even if we switched to impersonate a student the images were showing because they were cached in the browser.  I have done these exact steps and re-created the problem.

I've reported these steps to our customer success manager and escalated a ticket.  You might see if  you can replicate this issue and escalate this as well.

Hello david_taylor ,

Thank you for your work in this!

I was able to replicate this using these steps. Thanks so much for outlining because I couldn't figure out what teachers were doing.

I'll pass it along to our CSM as well.

Great! Glad to hear it.  I just got a message yesterday afternoon that Instructure support was able to reproduce the issue and was opening a case with engineering.  And then a couple of hours later, some other support person said they were marking the ticket solved because there was a workaround (i.e. re-add the question, or something).  You'd better believe that I re-opened that ticket.  I have no idea why some other support person would come in and close a ticket--presumably without really reading the history or understanding the issue. That's what I've been fighting with.

Thank you david_taylor !

I have seen this kind of thing myself, especially as it relates to this disappearing graphics issue. When I am dealing with disappearing graphics in my courses, I usually send a list of previous support ticket/case numbers (mine and others that have been posted in the community) along with support request. It sometimes help to get the ticket moved up the chain a bit faster. I don't know how Canvas might go about making its support techs more aware of the history on this issue, but it would be nice if they could.

Community Participant

Running into the same problem when a quiz is passed from one course to another.  The attached images in the quiz need to package and move with the quiz.

Community Participant

From the latest release notes:

"Question Bank Images

Images in edited questions associated with a question bank are retained in the quiz question.


Explanation: When a quiz question was added from a question bank, and the question was edited in the quiz, any images in the question were removed. Canvas code has been updated to not remove file verifiers associated with a quiz in edited questions."

I'd been in communication with our CSM and knew this went in last week.  I tested/verified and it appears that the fix works.  If you were seeing disappearing graphics in quizzes due to this error, it should be fixed.

Thank you again david_taylor! Fingers crossed Smiley Happy