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Add rich-content editor to Conversations

Add rich-content editor to Conversations

As a user, I would like to be able to use the rich-content editor to compose messages in the Conversations inbox. This would enable me to create Conversations that are on par, formatting- and content-wise, with Announcements. (Students seem to read Conversations messages more diligently than Announcements.)


transferred from the old Community

Originally posted by: Mia Nolan

Special thanks for contributions by: Stefanie Sanders

Community Member

I posted a question in the Question Forum asking why this feature hasn't been implemented. Here's a link to that question and a couple answers from @scottdennis (Community Team).

I appreciate the answers and knowing the reasoning behind their reluctance to incorporate this feature, and I'm wondering if it will be reconsidered if enough users ask for it.

Community Contributor

Thank you, @cgifford1, for sharing that. It is helpful but the response and explanation also seems like a non-answer answer to me. Hopefully this idea continues to get more attention (it is currently at 119, although that seems to not matter [at least as much as some may have thought] when submitted ideas are or are not considered for development and implementation) and that it becomes a reality.

Community Member

@dbrace,  we have to make sure it gets more attention - spread the word to all users you know! Get them to comment and vote (whether voting makes a difference or not).

I agree with your characterization of a "non-answer", since text emphases make no difference on a cell. Even if they banned lists (bad idea) and columns for the cell, emphases like bold, italics, underline, color, all help.

Community Member

I have no idea how to word this because I'm not a techy person, but apparently (through talking to those in the know about computer programing), adding the RCE to the Canvas Inbox is involved and takes up overall "room" in the system to have it; just a simple text area doesn't do that.  The people I discussed this with weren't hopeful that Canvas would change this anytime soon, despite how wonderful it would be.

In other words, I wouldn't be holding your breath waiting for this to happen.  

Good luck with it!  It's a great idea!

Community Participant


It would be of great benefit. Can help focus the intent of the inbox conversation.

Without the RCE-coming from another LMS this is a missing function

please consider as a future update!

thank you

Community Member

When writing an email to a student it would be very convenient to have the availability of the Rich Content Editor (RCE).  Instead if I want to include anything besides text I need to attach a document. There should be a seamless email environment in which I can include images, math expressions, different fonts, bold, etc..

Blackboard has an RCE-like environment in its email. Canvas MUST also have RCE in its email.

Canvas has many wonderful means to interact with the students. But the very first interaction step is always email. So Canvas  MUST have an RCE capability in its email. I am very surprised and disappointed that Canvas email does not have RCE. What were the original Canvas designers thinking when they did not build RCE into the Canvas email?

Community Participant


Community Member

Interesting consideration @nburruss. Thank you for that insight. I bet your friend has a point about the way they're thinking. Now I want to rebut it - in the friendliest way possible!

I'm only a little tecchy myself, more of a reverse engineer, but I did handbuild websites before all these proprietary systems came out, and am an old hand at Wordpress (hating their new Gutenberg block editor system) and I wonder if the Canvas people are being closed-minded about this.

First, they could merely allow us to input HTML. HTML is just like MS Word, but you just spell out the codes instead - transferrable skill, heck, first generation word processor users used to do that anyway!

Second, it seems to me that if they already have RCE in the system, merely applying it to all input areas, instead of just some, wouldn't take up more room.  And even if it did, "room" (storage space, execution space) is cheap and infinite. Taking up more space in the system should not be a problem. Canvas already takes up vast quantities of space, and this would be a drop in the ocean.

Third, even if RCE takes a prohibitive amount of space, why not provide the limited ability to add bold, italics, underline, color, and lists (including lists without markers). Five features only - surely that would not be beyond the bounds of possibility, and it would make a vast difference to our ability to teach effectively.

I think all of us need to keep talking. And those of us with contacts among the tecchies that decide, need to keep talking to them too. This situation is absurd!

Community Champion

I agree.  I have disliked the conversations (email) feature in Canvas from the first time I used it.

Community Member


Well said!  I agree with you!

Community Member

Thank you @nburruss. And to add insult to injury, I was just invited to complete a survey that claimed to value my views and then refused my input!!

Community Member

As an instructor, having the rich text editor available for Canvas messages would enable me to reply to students questions with course links, images that show up in line with my text, etc.

Community Champion

At the least, having the RCE in the Inbox would allow the auto-save feature to work on messages!  And yes, it would be extremely helpful to allow HTML (links etc.) in conversation messages.

Community Member

The Canvas email system--Inbox--is incapable of any text modification (bold, underline, text size and color, Italic, etc.),  In our graphically sophisticated world, this is an important part of the communication skills that are a primary PLO for all courses

Community Member

I cannot believe that in 2021 this is still not addressed. 

Same editor that is available in, for example, editing page should be used when sending e-mail.

Community Participant

Why is there hardly any formatting or link functionality in Canvas Inbox????

Community Member

The Canvas Calendar has the Rich Content Editor (RCE) which can be used in many wonderful ways. 

If the RCE can be implemented in the Canvas Calendar then surely Canvas R&D should be able to implement RCE in the Canvas email environment. Blackboard has an RCE-like editor in its email environment and so do many other software email tools.

Not having editing capability in an email environment reminds me of the early days of commercial software, which back then, were obscure, cryptic, and not user-friendly.

Community Member

I would like the inbox comment control to be RTF so that I can paste from Word or use formatting in my comments.

Community Member

It will be great to provide the rich text editor functions in composing and replying messages within Canvas. It will make faculty and students conversation easier to follow.  We are so used to have these function in Blackboard. We would like to see these functions in Canvas as well.


Community Member

The email feature in Canvas leaves MUCH to be desired. While it is excellent that I can email all students in a class simultaneously, I cannot 1) make any formatting changes (such as text color, bold, underline, italics, symbols usage, etc.), 2) add any hyperlinks, nor 3) conveniently organize responses.

That is, it would be ideal to have formatting options in the inbox feature. It would be ideal to be able to add hyperlinks in the email feature. And it would be ideal for replies to a mass email to not list every recipient's name at the top (because it is extremely difficult to discern who received what email after a while).

Ultimately, it would be awesome if the "inbox" feature simply connected to whatever email account I am sending the email from. When I click Inbox -> Compose -> All students in XYZ class, it would be great if my Outlook email would open with all student email addresses populated in the BCC box.