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Last name, first name as separate cells

Last name, first name as separate cells

I've just used my exported gradebook to determine the grade distribution for a 150-student class. To determine the distribution I sorted the data in order from highest to lowest final score, and then went back to alphabetize the data so I could submit the grades ... only to realize that the student names are (first name last name) in the same cell. This means I have to alphabetize *manually*.


This is terrible database design. Why isn't the last name in as a separate cell to enable automatic alphabetizing? Is there a workaround in the short run? Not that it will help me today as I enter my grades, but ... And the ability in Canvas to search on a student name is a poor substitute for sensible database design.

Community Member

Thank you for your idea submission,​. This idea will be up for vote during the next voting period.

In the meantime, here was a similar idea (which was archived) where the conversation thread might be valuable:

Community Member

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. January 6, 2016 - Wed. April 6, 2016.

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

Community Member

I voted up, but didn't see a "save" button, which usually has to be done in Canvas.  Hope my voted was recorded.  Thank you!

Community Member

Just to let everyone know before they follow the link to the archived feature idea above, the only comments in the thread have to do with it being opened for voting. Just thought I would save everyone a minute or two of their time.

Community Member

I believe this is already possible unless I am missing some nuance to how exactly you want to use this feature. Within the course Settings, under Feature Options,  I have a toggle to turn on Gradebook - List Students by Sortable Name. This changes the student listing to lastname first. When I export the gradebook, the names stayed this way, so now I can sort alphabetically by lastname.


I think everyone has gotten wrapped up in the two-field issue and missed the fact that your reasoning for wanting the two fields is a non-issue.

You do not have to have your gradebook sorted in alphabetical order before you import the grades back into Canvas. I just verified this behavior in my test course.

So, I guess the work-around is that there isn't one needed.

That said, to follow up on what said, there is a feature to allow sortable names in the gradebook. While he has the option to turn it on or off, our institution has turned it on for everyone.

This is found under the Managed Accounts (for Canvas Admins) for your institution and then Settings > Feature Options


As you can see, our institution has it turned on for everyone and so when I go into my course Settings and choose Feature Options, it looks like this:


However, if the Managed Account settings is set to Allow, then you can go into the Settings > Feature Options for your course and choose to enable it. This is what Jeffrey was referring to.


If your Canvas Admin has it turned off, then you will see this and you should ask your Canvas Admin to turn it on.


If you don't see the option at all when you go to your course Settings > Feature Options, then your institution hasn't enabled this feature. I don't mess with this part myself to know for certainty, but I think the Canvas Admin needs to contact their Customer Success Manager to get it turned on.

Community Member

Two fields are required in order to use certain non-Canvas tools with our classes (CATME is the one that I use regularly).  I cannot download the class list and use it to build my database for CATME.  I can work around this, but it usually takes 30+ minutes to do on a class of 60 students.  Since Canvas can do the Sortable names, it clearly *knows* the information that we want.  It would be very helpful if we could have the option of using 2 fields for names.

Learner II

Thank you, Christi.  I do not understand why these discussions are so focused on the reasons why and work-arounds for a request.  I wish people could make a request without having others second guess the original author.  Thank you for providing a reason so that we can move on with the original request.

Learner II

Is it a non-issue because you say it is a non-issue or because it is actually a non-issue to the original author?  To me, it looks like an issue.

Is allowing someone the option of downloading the names in two columns going to adversely impact or otherwise hurt you?  If so, discuss that.

Community Member​ I can understand your frustration with how the voting process appears to work, or not, sometimes. However if I am not experiencing an issue in Canvas that I think the suggested Feature Idea will correct then I will usually pass that idea by without ever voting on it, but if the individual who took the time to suggest the idea also includes enough information that I can then see how it might be an issue I, or a faculty member I provide support for, could encounter at some point then I am willing to support the idea and up-vote it.

I have felt similar frustration when I have seen individuals in the community down-vote an idea, but then not post a comment explaining why. I have to wonder if the individual was just being obtuse that day or did they have a legitimate reason for doing that?

My institution having just migrated to Canvas from what I considered an overly bloated LMS full of too many features that the majority of faculty did not use, I do not want to see Canvas become that, so without further explanation including possible examples of why a feature could be beneficial, for my own part, I usually just ignore a Feature Idea.

Given further details, even after my comments in my previous post, I up-voted this feature.