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jabaskes
Community Member

reuploading files as PDFs

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After grading essays that I have downloaded from Canvas as word files, I would like to convert them to PDF and then reupload them in a zip file. My problem is that Canvas then changes the extension from pdf to doc rendering the files unopenable.  Is there some way to do this?

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bryanjos
Community Participant

Sorry, Stephanie, but I think there may be a workaround.  I've been wanting to re-upload PDF files as well after downloading AutoCAD files, and I think there is a way.  If you keep the file names and extensions exactly the same, but add the extension ".pdf" afterward (e.g., OriginalFilename.OriginalFileExtension.pdf), then ZIP it up and re-upload it, Canvas claims to trim off the .pdf extension.  When downloading the file again, though, my computer still recognizes it as a PDF file named OriginalFilename.OriginalFileExtension.pdf!

In other words, you could upload an entirely different document simply by saving it with the filename OriginalFilename.OriginalFileExtension.pdf.  I don't know if this works with other file types too, but it's quite possible.

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Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

No,  @jabaskes ​, this is not possible. The uploaded file has to be of the same type, with the same file extension, as the downloaded file. A change to this behavior was requested recently--you'll see the feature idea at --but the idea did not meet with robust community support.

bryanjos
Community Participant

Sorry, Stephanie, but I think there may be a workaround.  I've been wanting to re-upload PDF files as well after downloading AutoCAD files, and I think there is a way.  If you keep the file names and extensions exactly the same, but add the extension ".pdf" afterward (e.g., OriginalFilename.OriginalFileExtension.pdf), then ZIP it up and re-upload it, Canvas claims to trim off the .pdf extension.  When downloading the file again, though, my computer still recognizes it as a PDF file named OriginalFilename.OriginalFileExtension.pdf!

In other words, you could upload an entirely different document simply by saving it with the filename OriginalFilename.OriginalFileExtension.pdf.  I don't know if this works with other file types too, but it's quite possible.

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Interesting,  @bryanjos ! So that I understand the workflow, let me paraphrase it:

  • Students upload AutoCAD files as assignment submissions
  • Instructor bulk downloads AutoCAD files for annotation and assessment purposes
  • Instructor assesses and annotates AutoCAD files and adds the .pdf extension to each file before saving
  • Instructor zips and bulk uploads the assignment submissions for student review
  • Instructor and students can now view the uploaded documents as PDFs

Is that right?

bryanjos
Community Participant

Yes, in principle that's correct.  In actuality, for step 3, I can generate entirely new PDF files, and as long as they have the same file name and extension + .pdf, they can be zipped up and bulk-uploaded to the assignment submissions, then downloaded and read as PDF files.  I've also tried submitting a DOCX file, downloading it and saving it as a PDF with the same name and extension + .pdf, then re-uploading it.  I could then download it and read it as a PDF file.  Not sure if this works with other file types or not.

It appears that  @joshuag  discovered the same thing in the https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/5027" modifiedtitle="true" title="Allow re-uploading files wit...  idea you mentioned.  As he said, "The mimetype stays the same--so that the file could be opened as a PDF in Adobe--but the extension is different, and that will be confusing for most students."

Live and learn! In that case,  @bryanjos , I stand corrected, and I've marked your response as "Correct." Thanks for also including the instructions in the comments section of the related feature idea.