Canvas Release: Microsoft Office 365 LTI (2016-12-10)

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

This document introduces the Microsoft Office 365 integration as noted in the Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-12-10).


Microsoft Office 365 requires the Microsoft Office 365 LTI app, which can be added to an account, sub-account, or course. The LTI can be configured manually by users who have permission to add and edit LTI tools.


When enabled, Microsoft Office 365 adds functionality to multiple areas in Canvas courses.

Canvas supports an LTI integration with Microsoft Office 365 in Assignments, Collaborations, Modules, Course Navigation, and the Rich Content Editor. This integration allows students and instructors to use, create, share, and collaborate on Office 365 files within Canvas. Users can also view their OneDrive files directly in Canvas.



Integration Details


Microsoft Office 365 is an external app (LTI) available to institutions with Office 365 education or business accounts who have created user accounts for their students. The Office 365 LTI is not supported for personal Office 365 accounts.


The Office 365 LTI supports Microsoft OneDrive in Canvas and can be enabled at the account, sub-account, or course level in a Canvas production environment. The LTI is not available in the Canvas App Center and must be configured manually by users who have permission to add and edit LTI tools. Integration instructions vary by region:


  • United States: Users can generate their own key and secret to install the LTI tool through the EduAppCenter Microsoft Office 365 app page. Instructors in Free-for-Teacher accounts can add the LTI to individual courses.

  • Worldwide Regions: Users should contact their Canvas Customer Success Manager (CSM) for region-specific configuration credentials. Office 365 is not currently available for instructors in Free-for-Teacher accounts.


Note: The OneDrive external tool is still available in the EduAppCenter, but the new Microsoft Office 365 LTI should be used in its place.


Microsoft Integration Add-Ins

The Microsoft integration officially supports Microsoft OneDrive in Canvas. However, Microsoft maintains add-ins for additional products, such as OneNote. These add-ins are not managed or maintained by Canvas. Documentation can be found as part of Microsoft's support website.


Microsoft Limitations

As part of the Canvas integration, some functionality is limited by Microsoft. Users should be aware of the following limitations by Microsoft in Canvas:

  • Faculty and students must have accounts in the same Microsoft domain.
  • Account sharing permissions can prevent sharing outside of an institution’s domain. Admins can change the sharing permissions to allow documents to be shared outside the institution. This feature may affect institutions with trust accounts.
  • Document permissions can prevent files from previewing in a course. Users should ensure that permissions are set correctly for a document before sharing it with others in Canvas.
  • Microsoft authentication is only managed when adding Microsoft as a third-party authentication service in Canvas. The LTI integration does not support single sign-on authentication.
  • When displaying Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, files with font conflicts will not display. Best practice is to use standard Microsoft fonts in all documents.


Canvas Account-Level Features


Canvas admins can use the existing Microsoft third-party authentication method to enable users to sign into Canvas using their Office 365 credentials. The LTI integration does not support single sign-on authentication.




Canvas Course-Level Features

Course Navigation

The Microsoft Office 365 LTI adds a link to a user’s OneDrive in the Course Navigation Menu. The name of the link aligns with the name added as part of the Office 365 LTI (most commonly named Office 365). After logging in to their user accounts, users can view all files in their OneDrive account.





Cloud Assignments

Instructors can create an online embedded assignment through an external tool. With the Microsoft Office 365 external tool, this assignment type creates a view of the assignment file that acts as a template for a student’s assignment submission. Accepted assignment types are Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.




When students open the assignment, Office 365 will create a copy of the file in the student’s OneDrive folder for the course for each student’s submission. Students can open the document and make changes per the assignment instructions. When they are ready to submit the assignment, they can return to the Canvas assignment page and submit the assignment. Instructors view each student’s document copy in SpeedGrader for grading.




File Upload Assignments

Instructors can also continue to create regular file upload assignments. However, when an instructor allows file uploads, students can view the Office 365 tab and upload files directly from OneDrive.





Users can create collaborations with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Excel documents. The creator can add individual users or groups from the course to participate in the collaboration. Collaborators can be added or removed at any time, but once a user is added to the collaboration, the user always has access to the collaboration in the user’s OneDrive folder.




External Collaborations Tool Feature Option

Office 365 complements Canvas with an updated Collaborations page. The page design update is controlled by the External Collaborations Tool feature option, which can be enabled by a Canvas admin and must be enabled in the same location as the Microsoft Office 365 LTI app (course or account).


  • Enabling the External Collaborations Tool feature option removes the links to all existing collaborations and no longer allows users to create collaborations with the existing Google Drive option.
  • To implement this feature, admins should set the feature option to allow so instructors can manage any existing collaborations. Instructors who want to retain existing collaborations should not enable the External Collaborations Tool feature option at the course level.


Note: this feature option is not available in the beta environment.



Users can access their OneDrive folder from Course Navigation link. Office 365 does not display a folder directly in a user’s Files page.


Like other uploaded files in Canvas, student submissions are copied to a student’s submissions folder in user files if the file was uploaded using the File Upload or Office 365 upload assignment options. However, cloud assignment submissions are copied into the student’s OneDrive folder.



The Office 365 LTI tool displays as a Modules external tool. Instructors can add links to OneDrive documents as an external tool.


Rich Content Editor

The Office 365 LTI displays the OneDrive icon in the Rich Content Editor. The icon displays everything in a user’s OneDrive account and allows users to display documents as inline links. Students and instructors can view the icon anywhere they can access the Rich Content Editor, such as discussions and pages (as allowed).





The Office 365 LTI includes an Office 365 viewer, which can be used to preview office documents in SpeedGrader and overrides any other previewer in Canvas.


SpeedGrader displays any uploaded file type that is supported like other Canvas assignments. Some files cannot be previewed in SpeedGrader and have to be downloaded for viewing. Crocodoc can be used with supported file types.


Canvas Mobile App Features

The following functionality relates to Microsoft Office 365 in the Canvas by Instructure app and SpeedGrader app:


Canvas by Instructure

  • Authentication through Microsoft is not supported in the Canvas app.
  • Collaborations are not supported in the Canvas app.
  • Microsoft Office 365 files can be viewed in a mobile device by downloading the OneDrive mobile app.
  • In cloud assignments, the students can view the assignment description but cannot view the cloud assignment. In the submission tab, students can view a link to access the assignment externally, though the link is not currently functional as it cannot connect the student to the student’s Microsoft Office 365 account for online editing. Instructors who incorporate cloud assignments into their coursework should let students know that cloud assignment are not currently supported in the Canvas app.
  • File upload submission types can accept files from the Microsoft OneDrive mobile app. Similar to submitting Google documents as assignments, students can share a supported file from the OneDrive app and import it to Canvas.
  • Modules can display external tools set to a Microsoft Office 365 document if students log in to their accounts.



  • Cloud assignment submissions do not display in the app.


For any contrary behaviors in the production environment, users should submit a Canvas support case for assistance.

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