Inbox Compose Message UI improvement


Today I sent a message to the wrong course through the Canvas Inbox feature.

Near the top left of the Inbox interface, the user can select a course to message. The user can also click on the 'compose new message' button. An identical drop down menu presents itself in both instances. Clicking the 'Favorite Courses' option presents a submenu.

The width of the favorite course sub menu is not adjustable. As a result, all course titles are abbreviated.  

After a few quarters, this list is cluttered. The user must pause the cursor over each item and wait for a tooltip to appear. When it does, even that tool tip does not provide the user with the full title. Key information- what quarter is it? What year? The full unabbreviated class title is never made available in either context.

I suggest allowing the user to control the width of the dropdown menu so that they can access this crucial information.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hello,  @mansfield_scott  and  Welcome to the Canvas Community! Thanks for sharing this idea; it's open for voting. As it moves through the evaluation process, consider giving your courses short nicknames that will display in their entirety in the dropdown without having to wait for the hover tip to display. Details about nicknaming courses are in the Create Nickname section of How do I view my favorite courses in the Card View Dashboard as an instructor? 

Community Member

As an instructor, when I go to Inbox->Compose Message, the course whose students I am trying to email is selected from a drop-down menu. This menu has a fixed width, and if course names are longer than this width they are truncated. At my institution, this has the consequence that courses are indistinguishable in the drop-down menu as the course names for the same course taught in different years only differ past the truncation point imposed by Canvas. This bug in Canvas should be easily fixable: program the drop-down menu to adapt its width to the length of the course names.

Community Champion

HI @mansfield_scott and @rv2 

Until this is implemented, which might be a while, there is a work around.  If you enter nicknames for your courses in the dashboard, these show in the drop-down menus in the Inbox and a few other places in Canvas, such as the Calendar.  I have the same problem,  my courses are named beginning with the semester, so they all look the same in the menus.  So I give them nicknames that start with the course code.  

For example, this:

SP2021 - CIS 104 OL - GNoack - Word Processing Software

is nicknamed, 

104 OL - SP2021


You can read how to give a nickname here:


Community Member

Hi @gnoack, your suggestion completely solved my problem. In fact I don't even care if this is implemented now that I know about giving nicknames. I wish Canvas Help had told me about this! Very many thanks.

Community Participant

Make the Inbox course list windows wider so that long course names aren't truncated, there doesn't seem to be any reason not to accommodate this

Community Participant

How about having that Favorites list actually match what is on our Dashboard? Right now I have only 3 courses favorited - they have gold stars and are showing on my Dashboard, but 12 courses from a variety of semesters show up on that 'Favorites' list in Canvas messaging. some of them are so old I can't bring them to the Dashboard anymore to change the nickname anyway. 


This- is a frustrating problem that affects many faculty at my institution - Please help

Status changed to: Archived
Comments from Instructure

As part of the new Ideas & Themes process, all ideas in Idea Conversations were reviewed by the Product Team. Any Idea that was associated with an identified theme was moved to the new Idea & Themes space. Any Idea that was not part of the move is being marked as Archived. This will preserve the history of the conversations while also letting Community members know that Instructure will not explore the request at this time.