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Embedding OneDrive Documents in Canvas

Lamplighter II
14 16 14.7K

OneDrive is Microsoft's answer to Google Drive and is tightly integrated in Office 2013. This makes it super easy to save files in Word and PowerPoint directly to your OneDrive account. From OneDrive you can embed documents into Canvas. I like this option better than Google Drive because it is much easier to update the documents directly in Word and PowerPoint. Once the file is updated in OneDrive the embedded the files in Canvas pages are updated.

What You Will Need

You will need a free personal Microsoft account for OneDrive and Office 2013. If your institution is a subscriber to Office 365, you can also use your institutional account. It is best to use Office 2013, but this can also be done in Office 2010 or Office for Macs. The integration is just not as tight as it is in Office 2013.

Connecting Your Microsoft Account with Office 2013

First you must login to your Microsoft account in Office so it is easy to save documents to OneDrive. In any Office 2013 program click the File tab to display the Backstage. On the left navigation click Account. In the middle pane click Login to login to your Microsoft account. Once logged in your avatar will display in the upper right corner of the Office programs. Once you have connected your Microsoft account in first Office program, you will not have to repeat this step in all the other Office programs. Now you will be able to open and save documents in OneDrive directly in the all the Office programs.

Steps to Save and Embed Documents in Canvas

Create a document and go to File > Save As. Select the OneDrive option. Note: If your institution is an Office365 subscriber, you may need to use the Add a Place option. Check with your IT people to see what is required.


Next go to OneDrive in the web browser and login. Locate the file and check the box next to the document. Click Embed.


A pop-up window will appear. click Generate HTML. A preview will display with box of the code. Copy the code and click Done.


In Canvas create a page or edit a page. On the rich content editor toolbar click HTML editor and paste the code in the location you want. The width and height values can be changed to make the preview window larger if desired. Click Save when done.


Students will see the preview window and there are options in lower right for printing and downloading.


When you need to update the document just open it in the Office MS program it was created in and make the desired changes. Save to the OneDrive. If you don't change name of the file name, the embedded document will be updated on the Canvas page. You can tell when documents are synced with OneDrive in the Office programs by the green circle icon over the Save icon.


Community Member

Hi Susan. We were playing with OneDrive and Canvas over the last two days and made a discovery. OneDrive and OneDrive for Business (which is likely the OneDrive at your institution) are different. In OneDrive the embed links work fine. However, the embed link from a file in OneDrive for Business may not allow an outside user to see the file. Please have someone who does not have shared access to your OneDrive for Business folder to try and view the file within Canvas. This is because OneDrive for Business does not allow sharing with an anonymous user. You can share a file but need to share it with each individual user.

We did however find a work around, in case you still want to use the OneDrive for Business, as opposed to the personal one. You generate the embed code but then open the file and generate a shared link and paste that link in the proper place of the embed code.

I hope this makes sense...

Community Coach
Community Coach

I'm also curious as to if anyone has tried the "OneDrive for Business" LTI app?  More info can be found over here in the Edu App Center.  It looks like it is still in "beta", and I've not tried testing this myself...just wondering if anyone else has used the app.

Lamplighter II

Good to know! Thanks I am using my personal OneDrive space because our institution does not subscribe to Office 365. I am assuming Microsoft bundles OneDrive for business with that but I am not sure. I have all the files that I want to use publicly in my public folder. I would assume OneDrive for business would have this as well.

Community Member

That's why I brought up the distinction. The OneDrive for Business (the one bundled with Office365) seems to be running on Sharepoint and it operates differently.

Surveyor II

I use 365 for Business a lot and am very happy to see the integration with Canvas!  Regarding the embed, couldn't one grab generic embed code and wrap it around the View Link that's available in all 365 apps?  When I share a link with View Only, then anyone can view the item without logging into their school 365 account.  I haven't tried it, but I have used generic embed html to embed forms in Canvas pages for awhile now.

Community Member

Hi Gayle. We tested wrapping the embed code around the view link. It seems to work. It just adds an extra step.

Lamplighter II

On OneDrive for business do all users have a public folder? I am wondering if the documents are saved in the public folder if that would eliminate the extra step to make it available. I save all the documents I plan to share in this folder.

Surveyor II

At this point in time, OneDrive folders are only sharable via adding names of people or email addresses.  One can set the sharing to be View or Edit.  The documents themselves can be shared using a link, but not the folders as a whole container.  A little cumbersome given one can share GoogleDrive folders with links... MS is still playing a little catch-up.

There isn't a default Public folder in OneDrive for Business (not that I've found anyway...).  Susan Nugent just posted that there is a Public folder... is this in OneDrive (Personal) or OneDrive for Business?  I don't see Public, Pictures, Music like your screenshot shows.  I do see Documents though.


I also just found using Word 365 that one does have Embed as an option when you Share:


I don't see this for OneNote notes, but do see if for Excel and Word.

Lamplighter II

Hi Gayle

If it is there, it will be in the main directory when you first login to OneDrive.


Surveyor II

Hi Susan,

Interesting… I don’t see the same folders (sorted A-Z):


Hi Chris,

We've tried it.  It basically adds a tab to assignments that lets users pull files from their OneDrive for submission.  It works but b/c of how the OneDrive for Business API is (apparently from what I've been told), it doesn't let users tie their account to their profile like Google does.  The user just authenticates when they go to submit or if they are already authenticated in another tab from that session, it will pull in the authentication.  Down side is that if you are in a situation where multiple users are using a computer (computer labs), if a user closes a browser window without logging out and the next person logs into Canvas and opens OneDrive, they could pull the files from the user that was previously logged in and closed their window without logging out or quitting.  Not Canvas' fault that it works this way, but a definite down side.

Community Member
It is best to use Office 2013, but this can also be done in Office 2010 or Office for Macs. The integration is just not as tight as it is in Office 2013.

Hence the problem I usually have with most Microsoft integrations. Even when they try to make it work across platforms, it's just not the same and never seems to work as well. With Google being a web service, I don't have to worry about OS or software versions, it just works.

Thanks for the post, this will be helpful information for our schools who have adopted Office 365 campus wide.

Surveyor II

I think we are talking about two different OneDrive instances.  Personal OneDrive looks like the image Susan posted. OneDrive for Business doesn't have the Public folder like Personal OneDrive has available.  Here is the OneDrive for Business interface:


I am able to Share folders and documents out to people, but there is no Public container... maybe that's our Business account though?  The two account can be confusing and each offers different and unique options.

Lamplighter II

Agreed! It appears to hopeful that Microsoft will get their act together with the development of apps for iOS and Android but  I don't put too much stock in it anymore. I did a workshop on OneDrive and did a collaboration in Word with one of the attendees. Google has them beat in this category hands down. GoogleDoc collaborations are sooo much better.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi​...  I think I'm missing something in your steps.  Even though I'm an admin for our Canvas instance, I logged in to my OneDrive student account (which I hardly ever use since I'm an employee) to test this in Canvas.  I created a Word document with a few website links.  Next, I generated the embed code, and then I clicked on the ​Share button to get the link.  Then, I replaced the link in the embed code with the link from the ​Share​ screen.  After I pasted in the new embed code into a Canvas page, it came up blank.  Smiley Sad

EDIT: Got it to work now!  I had replaced the entire link...which is not what I should have done.  I needed to leave in this part of the end of the original URL in the embed code: &action=embedview&wdStartOn=1.  It works correctly now.

Community Member

There has been a lot of changes in OneDrive the past years, so I think this link will work as an update..... Just tried it in Canvas. Worked fine!

How To: Publicly Embed OneDrive For Business Documents –