New Gradebook Total and Assignment Group Color


In the old gradebook, the assignment group and total columns were a different color, making it easier to visually differentiate them from the assignment columns:

old gradebook screenshot with totals columns a different color

In the new gradebook, these columns are not differentiated by color, making them harder to visually differentiate them from the assignment columns, which makes working in the gradebook more difficult:

new gradebook screenshot with all columns the same color

Please change the color of the assignment groups and total columns to make these easier to distinguish in the new gradebook.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi,  @mswindle ‌, we've got a few ideas currently open for voting requesting this: 

Please add your support to one or both of these ideas. We've archived yours to remove the duplication.


Community Participant

Hi Stefanie,

My idea is not to have the ability to set specific colors but instead to restore the functionality to match the old gradebook and just have the totals columns differentiated by color like they were previously. The two similar feature ideas you note are to allow users to set custom colors for gradebook columns or assignment groups. These are substantially different from the idea I have proposed as it isn't suggesting that users be able to define custom colors. I would appreciate if you did not archive it and allow votes as this is a different suggestion than the ones noted here.

Thank you,

Monica Swindle

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

I appreciate the distinction,  @mswindle ‌. Please keep in mind that when an idea is prioritized, our product managers and engineers read not only the description of the idea but also the comments posted underneath, and may make a design decision that solves for the use case but not necessarily in the precise manner described. It is our goal to keep votes and comments for very closely related ideas unified in one spot so that we can effectively prioritize, and we hope you will add your comments to the linked ideas. We also note that does not request an option, but does posit a more complex use case.

With all that in mind, we have opened this idea for voting.

Community Champion

Thank you for opening this! I see it as very different from the color coding by assignment group idea, which is about color coding the individual assignment columns.  Color coding the individual assignments by which group they are in will be a complicated case to prioritize given that the individual cells are now color coded as missing, late, etc. 


In contrast, this request is specifically about the columns that show the average for each group and the course total.  Those columns do not have custom colors over-riding individual cells, so there is not the complication of customization.  Being able to quickly spot those columns is useful, and when they look the same as the individual assignment columns in a course with many assignment groups, the point where the columns start showing averages instead of individual assignments can be difficult to spot.

Community Champion

 @mswindle  - Thank you for opening this Idea.  It's unfortunate that we have to vote for something that is just bringing the new gradebook into parity with the current gradebook.

Community Contributor

Voted this "UP" because it would be very helpful to have this visual distinction.

Community Contributor

It is pretty annoying that functionality that exists in the "old" gradebook does not currently exist in the "new" gradebook" and the "new" gradebook will be automatically released to all users in approximately 15 days.

Community Participant

It would be great if you could add a darker grey background for all the Assignment Group columns that are at the far right of the gradebook.  Instructors get confused about why they can't add grades to assignments when they are actually trying to add it on the TOTALS column for the group.  I think it used to be a different color in the old gradebook.  Thank you for considering this!!

Community Participant

Please do distinguish the Assignment group columns from the others!  The current version of having all columns look the same, causes confusion.  I hear this complaint from our nursing college instructors ... as a mid-level admin I'm only one voice, so please multiply my request by a factor of about 70.  🙂  Thank you! 

Community Participant

A frequent Canvas question our Instructional Technology Group gets is from faculty who think they have "duplicate" gradebook columns because they don't understand the difference between the columns for individual assignments on the left side of the gradebook grid and the columns for assignment groups on the right side. There isn't anything visual or textual in the grid to indicate this distinction other than the title of the groups' columns stating their percentage weight in small text.

For example, faculty commonly create a weighted assignment group called "Participation" that contains only one assignment also named "Participation." When they look at their gradebook, they see the assignment's column and the group's column and assume they are duplicates (and wonder why they can't enter a score in the latter column).

It would be very helpful if the division between these two types of columns was more clearly indicated in the gradebook. I understand that a color distinction alone isn't a good solution because of accessibility, but there are other more direct ways this could be done, such as descriptive text headers above each gradebook section.

Not applicable

We would really appreciate the assignment group columns having a different shade of grey to differentiate them from regular assignment columns.

I have attached a image of what this could look like:

Assignment Group ColumnAssignment Group Column

Community Contributor


I love the many features in the not-so-New Gradebook, but it's hard to believe this simple but important part of the UI was left out of the New Gradebook.  The lack of distinction between assignment columns and assignment group columns is a constant source of confusion when working with faculty.  Seriously, constant.

We are pretty conservative about adding custom CSS to our environment, but recently implemented a simple temporary improvement until it's fixed officially.

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.