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Community Team
Community Team

Canvas Release: Direct Share (2020-01-18)

This document introduces the Direct Share feature as noted in Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18) 


This feature was enforced for all Canvas institutions in Canvas Release Notes (2020-07-18)  


For additional feature updates, please refer to the direct share release notes entries.

Direct Share allows users to copy individual course items to another course and share individual items with other users. This change allows content to be shared directly in Canvas without having to use a secondary repository like Commons. 



Account Management


Users who want to share content directly must have the Course Content - add / edit / delete permission. 


At the account level, account admins have this permission by default. 


At the course level, TA, Teacher, and Designer-based roles have this permission by default.



Users with permission can manage content with the Content Shares API.


Course-Level Features


In Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, and Pages, instructors can copy content to another course and share individual content items with another user. 


Send to and Copy to options in assignments


The menu for individual content items also include the Send To and Copy To links.


Send to and Copy to links in an individual assignment


Note: If the content being shared or copied includes other content in the course (such as a quiz that includes a file), only the direct content item selected for sharing/copying will be included. The additional files must be shared/copied individually.


Send Content

The Send To option is used to send content to another user.


Users can search for other users via email address. Content can only be sent to users with instructor-based roles who can manage course content. Users can be identified by typing at least the first three letters of a user’s name in the search field. Search results display users by name and email address. Select the name of the user when it appears.


Send To window with selected user

Send To Window with user added


The same content may be sent to more than one user by adding other users individually.


When all users have been added and the content has been sent, the window confirms the content has been shared successfully.


Send To Window Confirmation


Copy Content

The Copy To option is used to copy content to another course. Instructors can only copy content to their own courses. Admins can copy content to any course in the account.


To copy content, locate the course where the content should be copied by typing at least the first three letters of a course name in the search field. Search results display courses by name. Select the name of the course when it appears.


Copy To window with course name selected


The content can be placed within a specific module in the course, if applicable. This menu is optional. 


Copy To window with selected course and Module window


To use the module option, type at least the first three letters of the module in the search field. Search results display modules by name. Select the name of the module when it appears.


When all fields have been completed and the content has been copied, the window confirms the content copy process has started successfully. The content may take a few minutes to display in the selected course.


Copy To Window Confirmation


User-Level Features

Any user who receives shared content from another user is notified about the content In the User Navigation Menu. Shared content is indicated in the user’s Account icon and also in the Shared Content link.


User Navigation Menu with Shared Content Link


Shared Content Page

Shared content items are listed in the page in reverse chronological order. Additionally, pagination is supported after a user has received 10 content shares.


Each content item displays the title of the content, the type of content, the user who sent the content, and the date and time received.


Shared Content Page with shared content


Users can manage the content item within the page by clicking the Actions menu. Options include previewing the item, importing the item, or removing the item.


  • Preview: The user can preview the content item directly from the page. The content loads in the same window and the user can close the window after the content is reviewed.
  • Import: The user can import the content into a course using the same functionality as copying content to another course.
  • Remove: The user can remove the content from the page and take no action. A separate window will display to confirm the removal.


Shared Content page with action items


Content items are considered read once the user has selected an action for each content item. However, content items can be manually marked as read or unread by clicking the dot next to the item. Unread content items are displayed in the account’s primary color.


Community Resources

Future Enhancements

This document outlines existing functionality included in the initial release of this feature. The direct share functionality may continue to receive additional feature enhancements over future releases as indicated in Release Notes. Please follow the release notes for future functionality updates, which will be indicated by the direct_share tag.


Customer Feedback

Community feedback for this feature is welcome per Canvas Community Feedback Guidelines, which outlines general feedback, broken functionality, and feature enhancements.


Feature enhancements should include the direct_share tag. Before submitting a new idea, please review all existing Direct Share feature ideas.


Feature Documentation

Documentation for this feature is available in the Canvas Guides.

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37 Replies
Community Member

That's been my experience, as well....I was just going to reply to this!  My experience, too, has been that the imported assignment winds up at the bottom of the Assignments page in "Imported Assignments."

Adventurer III

I actually submitted a feature idea about this topic this morning. In addition to the module selection, I'd like to see the option to select an assignment group when making a copy. I think that would streamline the process for instructors.

Surveyor II

What happens if you copy or share a PAGE that his files linked within it? Does it reference the files in the " parent " course aka the course you are sharing from OR does it bring over any files that are referenced within the Page.

Exams ...... will it bring over Questions Banks?

Surveyor II

Entire Course !  That would be amazing solves so many problems. 

Adventurer III

 @mclgreenville ‌, I didn't test the question bank situation, but when you copy a page or other resources all linked resources come over. If a linked file had been placed in a separate folder in the original course, the folder directory structure comes over to the new least when you do course-to-course copy. I'd expect sending to a colleague would behave the same but haven't tested that specific scenario.

Adventurer II

 @mclgreenville ‌, I just sent a quiz with a group connected to a questions bank. The empty group was listed in the imported quiz but the questions bank was not transferred. 

Surveyor II

ok so sounds like banks to not move over w shares . I guess they would w a copy. I need to do some testing !

Learner II

 @mclgreenville  and  @crafte , I tested direct sharing a quiz with a question group linked to a question bank and got similar results.  The test imported with the group and link to the question bank, but the bank remained in the original course only.  I think this is perfect.  We have teachers who often collaborate to create quizzes with question banks.  If everyone imports the bank into their course, they end up with multiple copies of the banks with the same name.  It's a nightmare to find all the copies if edits are needed.  If you import (or direct share) the quiz with the link and not the bank, the team of teachers continues to have 1 copy of the bank, but every student can access questions pulled into the imported quiz.  We've used bookmarking to avoid creating multiple copies of question banks in the past, but direct share seems a lot easier.

Community Member

This feature is great and it will be very useful. However, most of our instructors build-in module view. Many never go to assignments, pages etc. Why is direct share not available in the module view? It would be much more convenient to have this option available there and not have to go to the same item in assignment or page view.

Adventurer III

In our call with our CSM last week, she brought up an issue that in-course links don't copy over with direct share. If you share a course homepage that has links to other course pages (or assignments, discussions, etc) those links will all be broken. Files and images do come over but I didn't think to test those other types of links.