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Community Member

font-size in Canvas questions

The font-size in Canvas questions (for writing the questions, *not* student essay answers) doesn't seem to work in a normal way. For example, if the font-size for the question is set as 12, the font looks small. But if you highlight the entire question box and then change the font-size to 12, you get a bigger version of text which actually looks like size 12 font. This makes questions look inconsistent and poorly formatted. As far as I can tell, it's because when highlighting the entire question and changing the font-size to 12, it adds "<span style="font-size: 12pt;">" to each of the "span" areas that contain "<p>" paragraphs of text. The way to make things consistent is to go back, highlight the entire box, and change the font to 12 pt for all of it, but this is very tedious especially when there are a lot of questions involved. It's not a huge functionality issue, but it does cause the aesthetics to look inconsistent and a lot less professional. It seems like it shouldn't be that hard of a permanent fix (maybe always have the "span" line default included?), so I just thought I would ask if there is already a solution to this issue / if it has already been brought up? 

Any insight would be appreciated, thanks! 

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Community Champion


My preferred solution would be to remove the ability to set the font size from the toolbar. Then it's up to the user to decide how big they want their font by setting it inside their browser rather than the teacher deciding how big it should be. As hard as Canvas makes it to change things to improve accessibility, this is one area they make too easy to change. And specifying a point size is a bad thing to do anyway, it should be a relative size.

I have a script that I run on my content pages that strips out all spans, non-breaking spaces, and does does some other cleanup that shouldn't be an issue, but it is. When all of the spans are gone, all of my text is the same size.

What you might be seeing is that the font size you see when you're viewing quizzes within the quiz edit screen is not the same font the students get when taking it.

Here's what a quiz question looks like while editing the question in the quiz.


Here's what it looks like after you've saved it. Notice this is smaller.


Here's what it looks like when students take it (or the teacher previews it).


There is no need to change the font size there, it's just fine when you take it.

To do some testing, I did change the font size to 12pt for everything in the question and it turned out the same size as if I hadn't put in the 12pt. The only thing that changed was that middle section when viewing the question (but not editing it directly) and some people might want it smaller so they can see more without having to scroll as much.

Community Member

This is similar (and probably identical) to the issue with the Inbox "Compose Message" windows. The compose font size is about 25% smaller than the message view window, and unless you make all the fonts really big, the compose window can be difficult to read. 

Any chance Instructure is going to fix this?

Community Participant

This has been annoying me for years. Some questions show up in apparent-12-point and some in apparent-10-point, and still others (aaaaarrrrghh!!!) switch back and forth within the question! All of this without me ever setting a font size while writing my questions. It looks terrible, and takes way too much time to fix.