Allow HTML in Assignment Comments

In providing feedback to students in the Assignment Comments area of an assignment, I often provide URLs to students.  Currently, the comments area is text only so students cannot click on the URL to go to the website.  Instead, they need to manually copy and paste the URL to make it work.  It would be nice to have some HTML functionality here.
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thank you for your submission,  @cranero ​. This idea will be open for vote in the next voting cycle (Feb. 3). Also, you might find this archived idea valuable, as well:

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

It would be very helpful if http:// and https:// text in the SpeedGrader comments were automatically converted into hyperlinks, just as they are in the Canvas Inbox. Currently when I provide students with resource links in the SpeedGrader, as  @cranero  notes above, I have to tell them to copy and paste the text into the address bar of another tab or window.

For my particular use cases, I'd be happy with very limited functionality in the Comments field that allows for bold, italic, and of course, the aforementioned hyperlinks--for example, a list of shortcuts that allows us to use *bold* for bold and _italics_ for italics.

And this comment wouldn't be complete without a shout-out to the popular, now-archived, and much-lamented ​ feature idea. Smiley Sad

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. February 3, 2016 - Wed. May 4, 2016.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works! Smiley Wink

New Member

We are using Canvas with some users who are completely new to the internet. Their lack of mouse dexterity makes the cut and paste process a real barrier, not just an inconvenience. Odds are, they are currently not able to use the online resources I send them via this channel. The same capability would be great for the Inbox.

Community Member

Adding this feature only makes sense, for consistency across other Canvas features, especially for new users and experienced alike. We have so many URL links already embedded within Canvas modules, that allowing students to return to them (as well as new ones) while reading grading comments is intuitive and necessary.

New Member

We have been trained at the online school I work for to leave robust feedback for our students.  This can include images, web tools, colorful text to provide emphasis on an explanation, as well as embedding videos to help students start off a problem, or even work a problem all the way through.

Over the years I have built up the wonderful bank of feedback which I have saved in html code.  I was shocked to see there was no option in Canvas to share this feedback with students because the Rich Content Editor was not available in the text box.

Is there a possibility this could be added (specifically, via the Rich Content Editor so it would also provide the functionality of italics, bold, links, etc.) ?

Thank you Smiley Happy

New Member

YES!!!  The ability to put links/ URLs, embed videos, add images, and provide other resources besides simple text in our feedback will help us continue to provide quality feedback to our students!  Please consider adding this functionality to canvas. Thanks!

New Member

I have to agree with Melissa! I cannot imagine not being able to use the valuable feedback that I have created for my students over the years.  It would be a shame to loose all of that, especially because it provides such essential individualized learning for my students' specific learning needs. I hope that the html code option becomes available!  Thanks! -Maria

New Member

Please include the option to embed, link, and have a Rich Content Editor for Assignment Comments.  We meet the needs of individual students through the use of multi-modal, engaging, interactive feedback which cannot successfully be accomplished without the ability to embed and hyperlink content, and use color and other text features for emphasis.  The feedback process is one in which learning is the focus as students are able to listen, view, and interact with games in order to remediate and/or enrich their learning in relation to that assignment.   This means the ability to link, embed, and adjust text settings in Assignment Comments is a crucial part of our teaching practice.  Thank you for considering this very important option!

New Member

I love to add and embed video links in my feedback, and I think the HTML capability will really add a lot to the course.

New Member

I think this would break up the monotony of typical feedback.

Coach Emeritus

I've been doing a ton of assignment comments over the break and agree that this feature would be much appreciated. It would be nice to have a bulleted or numbered list, bold, italics, underline, etc. All things that would help me to emphasize certain information to students.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

We will consider this for a future update. The team is currently focusing on the Canvas Studio: Modern Quizzing Engine​. We will look for enhance this functionality for assignments in the future.

Kind regards,


Community Contributor

Please vote for Commenting in HTML code too. It's related to this idea, and would save the many Canvas users who tweak the underlying HTML keep their sanity. (Plus, it's a great learning tool for new developers coming on board to teams.)

Thank you,  @ronmarx ​


Just had a History & Humanities instructor request the need to italicize book titles in their speedgrader comments.  So here's my late +1 vote!  

Community Contributor

Please vote for Commenting in HTML code too. It's related to this idea, and would save the many Canvas users who tweak the underlying HTML keep their sanity. (Plus, it's a great learning tool for new developers coming on board to teams.)

Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...

New Member

Probably the most used, and best vehicle for me to correct my students incorrect thinking is when I correct their homework and give them feedback.  I would be happy if I could just use Bold and Italic until we get to HTML


New Member

HTML capability in feedback is a must have for today's high school students. When I need to leave specific feedback I can either leave a 200+ word entry or post a link to a video that shows my students how to improve. Which of the 2 do you think most students would learn more from and implement going forward? Smiley Happy

Community Contributor

I am migrating a different feature request that I started into this request because as  @James  points out it overlaps significantly.  I am leaving in a few issues that are slightly tangientle to html in messaging because I believe they fundamentally overlap.

The messaging and comments tool strips whitespace and does allow html.  This was probably designed to make txt messaging more effective.  In practice it is unhelpful and leads to confusion.  In addition the text messages sent are ineffective and useless.


Problems with the current system:

  • The amount of the text included in text messages currently is so short that it is worthless.  An example of a text message I recently received (the text message cut-off exactly as I include it below):

(Canvas Alert) Student Full Name (Course Full Title) just sent you a message in Canvas

Hi Professor Blumberg, I can

  • There is no link back to Canvas from text messages and the full message is cutoff 
  • It appears like Canvas text notifications are limited to either 140 or 160 characters.  Now most phones/carriers can automatically split and combine larger text messages (up to 6 times this size).  This may result in greater SMS charges in some rare situations, though these situations are now fairly rare as most US based cell phone plans (and probably most international now as well) come with unlimited txt messaging.
  • When including any programming code in a message or comment, all whitespace is stripped, making the code difficult to read.  This makes comments in programming courses very difficult.  This does not save much space but it makes the comments hard to read (even for non-programming topics)
  • Allow html formatting in messages.  I believe the only reason formatting wasn't included is to support text messages.  




1.  Allow html in messages, simply use the normal wysiwyg editor

2. When sending a text notification for a message, if the message includes html then send:

Student Full Name (Course short code) sent you a message in Canvas

hyperlink back to Canvas (could launch mobile app or link to page in browser)

If the message doesn't include html then send:

Student Full Name sent you a message in Canvas

Text of message either in full or partial based on notification settings


Since the notification is from it is obvious that it is from Canvas.


2.  Allow users to set whether they want abridged or longer text notifications in the their personal settings.  Admins would be able to set the default behavior at the sub-account level.  There would probably still need to be a maximum size but it could be much larger (maybe 1600 characters).


3.  Include whitespace in messaging.  This is an easy change and would make it much easier to format feedback to students.