Printable/PDF Syllabus

This idea was originally posted by Donal Thomas in Community 1.0!


Have a print button on the syllabus page for those students that would like to have a hard copy of the syllabus.


There are additional use cases for a printable or downloadable PDF when an instructor uses the Syllabus Wiki space to develop their wiki.

  1. For Accreditation, colleges are required to keep a record database of their course syllabi.  Instructors are often asked to save their syllabus in PDF form and provide it to the keeper of the database.  The workaround for faculty now is to copy the wiki content, paste it into a document, save it as a pdf and then send it on.  Retained formatting can be an issue!
  2. Many students still like a paper copy of their syllabus.  Sometimes highlighting the wiki content and then printing selection will give students a printed version, but it is not consistent.
  3. When students transfer colleges and transfer credits they (or the transfer institution) will sometimes need to provide a syllabus of their completed courses in order to receive credit for a specific course.  A syllabus in a wiki page cannot be easily shared or sent to another institiion.


In the meantime there are a few workarounds that instructors have figured out!

  • Instructors use a Google Doc and provide the share link in their course.  This link can then be shared and the document can be downloaded by users as needed.
  • Instructors will upload a PDF, Word, or other document into the wiki space.  However, any adjustments to the document requires another upload of the updated document - and many instructors get frustrated by the 5-6+ syllabus documents they accrue in their files.
  • Instructors are also finding other creative ways to create syllabi.  As Mary Kavanaugh mentioned in her post (quoted below) there is a shift to rethink the syllabus.  Here (Creative Approaches to the Syllabus – ProfHacker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education) is a very interesting blog post that inspired me to rethink my own syllabus and make it much more visual and then embed it into the wiki page.  Its then printable and downloadable! 

It would be nice to have a print button on syllabus page, however, as we teach faculty to follow the new paradigm of not putting 7-20 pages

of a syllabus in pdf form but rather to use the Syllabus wiki

and other wiki pages to conntect content we have discovered a problem ....

department heads, deans, etc are still requiring a copy of the syllabus be

submitted to them. When faculty were using Blackboard Vista and had PDFs

of everything that wasn't a problem but now it will require going into

Canvas pages and copying and pasting all related material to a word doc.

Is there anything on the horizon to create a tool to extract that

information to one digital form?



Comment from Instructure

Comment from Cosme Salazar

Thank you David Lyons for describing the workflow for printing the syllabus. It seems like using CTRL-P/CMD-P or File > Print is an easy way to print the syllabus description field and the table with the course assignments and dates.

Community Explorer


Community Novice

This definitely needs more votes! Related is the ability to " modifiedtitle="true" title="expand the Syllabus assignment/event details. Some of our instructors have to create two versions, one in Canvas and a static PDF version for students. The Canvas Syllabus is always the most up-to-date and useful, but the students tend to like having a static file to refer back to. Being able to print/expand details gives everyone the best of both worlds.

Community Novice

We have a lot of students who don't have easy access to a computer and must come to a campus lab or to the library to use a computer to access content in Canvas. It would be great it those students could easily print the syllabus.

Community Novice

Yes, please at the very least include a printable option on the syllabus page but it really should be an option on all wiki pages.


Community Novice

As mentioned in the Accessibility within Canvas section of Canvas Guides​, Utah State University has developed a web application named Salsa that provides HTML documents that are hosted on Amazon. SALSAs can be published directly to the Syllabus page in Canvas, and are formatted for great-looking printed documents. PDF documents are not provided due to the inaccessibility of the files created with the open source PDF creators we have tested.

Here is a six-minute video that shows how Butler Community College is using Salsa with Canvas.

Community Novice

If you simply upload the syllabus file (.pdf, .docx, etc) to the syllabus page they already have that ability.  Simply click on the link and print it out.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

The syllabus page in Canvas can already be printed by pressing CTRL-P/CMD-P or File > Print... And it even intelligently strips away the Canvas navigation and menu's so you get just the syllabus content!

And for anyone who has to submit a PDF/printed copy of their syllabus to their department; I create my syllabus in Canvas then print it to PDF (or a physical document) and submit it.

Community Novice

I would like to see a print button too for a whole Canvas course or for specify parts of it

Community Team
Community Team

 @p_stylianoudaki ​ you may be interested in

Community Novice

Thank you. As a generality, most instructors already include a statement in the syllabus or send out the beginning of semester email that dates and syllabus are subject to change. So that is less to worry about. Hopefully it will implemented eventually.

I did also submit a better way to print the calendar in Canvas (below). This is important for due dates. The feature to Import the Calendar into Outlook, well it is pretty unusuable. For it to be useful, it basically requires either adding each due date entry manually into your main Outlook Calendar (which clutters it up and makes it difficult to use, or Creating a new Outlook Calendar that is view able, and not multi-lined/cutoff for each assignment and for each assignment. They are also all green as well, when you import the .ICS file into Outlook 2013 (or Office 365 etc - which will likely be updated to Office 2016 in the Fall).

That feature needs an overhall.

Here is the Calendar improvement idea:

It is in the gathering info stage. It is relevant to some of the content in this post (due dates, etc).

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thank you  @dlyons ​ for describing the workflow for printing the syllabus. It seems like using CTRL-P/CMD-P or File > Print is an easy way to print the syllabus description field and the table with the course assignments and dates.

Community Novice

Thanks Eric, but the point of this feature is to avoid creating the Word/PDF document in the first place and turn to Canvas as the original Syllabus. Rather than create a static file, then enter all the details in Canvas, faculty want to print the Canvas information out as a single document. Make sense?

Community Novice

I know you can already print the syllabus, looking like a webpage. there should be a button on every page of canvas that allows for download as a .pdf and or print as a .pdf. I do not want to log on to canvas every time I want to look at something.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

When printing the Syllabus, Pages, etc Canvas will remove the browser chrome, navigation et all and display just the content. All modern browsers will allow you to "print" to a PDF as well, meaning you don't need save-to-pdf functionality explicitly in Canvas because it leverages the native browser functionality.

Community Novice

I think the point is to be able to print it and have it be well-formatted for print. Of course we can print the web page but it looks like a printed web page, not a nicely formatted syllabus.

Community Participant

Agree completely with KN. It doesn't look very good when you print to pdf.

Also, I include the Modules page too when people ask for my syllabus because that's the only place I have a schedule and readings list, and that looks pretty terrible as a "print to pdf" document, the formatting is completely wonky because it puts everything into tables with a ton of white space, and then spreads the tables onto multiple pages. So the result is a pretty unreadable document as a pdf.

Even better, a Canvas function to turn multiple pages into one single pdf (let me select Syllabus, Modules, any/all assignment or wiki pages I need, all at once) would be so useful for all the times I get asked for my syllabus by people who aren't enrolled in my course--prospective students, admin, etc. This would be similar to Print all feature for entire course or modules mentioned above and would solve both problems.

Community Novice

I need this function too. In addition to other uses mentioned above, I want to share the syllabus with a colleague who wants help designing a course. I don't want to add every colleague of this sort to my course as a guest! It should be possible to download selected pages of the syllabus to avoid the paper use problem noted above as well. But lots of students work offline while reading old fashioned books, and it's a bother not to be able to check a PDF version or a printed one of the syllabus.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Check out my comment above for getting your Syllabus (or any page, really) out of Canvas on paper or as a PDF:

Community Contributor

Added another request to expand the ability to export the syllabus here:

Community Novice

Wrong.  CTL-P prints only visible portion of the syllabus file.