Community Member

New Rich Content Editor is TERRIBLE

Can't find any other way to provide feedback. Whoever designed this should be fired. I can't see that there is any new functionality, but I have found that functionality that was in the old RCE has been removed. Not sure why anyone thought a change was necessary. It's definitely BROKEN now. Canvas should revert to the old editor.

Here are some complaints based on recent attempts to use.

1) The old indent button could be clicked multiple times. Each time it would add an additional indent. The new RCE severely restricts indenting capability and in my opinion is useless. The only way I have found to control indents is to work in raw HTML.

2). In the past I have used Canvas files to store images and content. I used a folder hierarchy to store and find stuff. The new document and image embed features make no use of this. They only provide a single flat list. I have hundreds of images/documents. The new functionality makes it really difficult to access stored content.

3) I tried formatting a page today that had several indented blocks each with different formatting. I quickly gave up doing in the RCE. Next I tried an HTML editor. I got what I wanted but when I pasted it into the new RCE, the HTML was reformatted destroying the markup. My final solution was to do it in Word and embed the Word document - a less than idea presentation from the students' perspective.

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Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there, @WBaker99 ...

Sorry to see that you are experiencing some issues with the New RCE.  We just enabled the New RCE at our Technical College this past Friday, so as a Canvas administrator, I'll be interested in hearing if any of our instructors will have issues with it as they work in their courses.  I don't know that I have answers for you on all of your concerns, but I'll try and help out where I can.

1) Unfortunately, I was unable to replicate this in my own sandbox course.  Check out this screenshot from my course:


I have circled the button I clicked (Increase indent).  For the first paragraph, I was able to click on the button five times to indent the paragraph further to the right.  For the second paragraph, I clicked on the same button to indent it three times.  None of these required me to go to the HTML side of the page.  Might you have had some rogue HTML code already in the content of your page that was, in some way, interfering with your indents?

3) I'm not exactly sure what kind of HTML elements you were wanting to include on your course page, but not all HTML elements are usable in Canvas.  This was also true with the old RCE.  There is a Canvas HTML Editor Allowlist PDF that details all of the allowed HTML tags in the RCE.  If you are using HTML tags that aren't on this list, there's a chance they will be stripped out of your page.  Also, this might not be totally related, but have you tried an online HTML editor that cleans up your HTML code?  A while back, I wrote a blog about this called HTML Cleanup which may be of help to you.

I hope these resources will be of some help to you.  Sing out if you have any other questions about this...thanks!  Take care, stay safe, and be well.

Thanks chofer for the reply. 

1) I found the new functionality (a button and dropdown combination) confusing. Your post helped me figured it out. My initial expectation was that the dropdown would provide all options - both indent and outdent, which it doesn't. Not sure how this is an improvement over the previous editor's two buttons where functionality was obvious.

3) It wasn't that I was using disallowed items. I was trying to put paragraphs within a single <li>...</li> element and Canvas was changing the <p> to <li> which changed everything. 

As a user, I don't see why someone decided to rework this feature. How is it better? All I can see are issues that make it harder to use the most egregious is having to click twice to do what was a one click operation previously. What are the supposed improvements?

Community Member

I'm going to agree. It is incredibly "click-y" and a lot of things seem to be grouped behind multiple "clicks".

Inserting an equation was already obnoxious without having a keyboard shortcut and now it's TWO clicks for every single equation. Since I'm in math, this has made typesetting very tedious -- frankly, for any new courses I am going to go back to typesetting everything externally and uploading the files for the students to download. I'd prefer to have them just able to scroll down but my tendonitis can't take the constant switching between mouse and keyboard.

I feel that the lack of keyboard functionality is a serious issue.

I was working on this problem, and I've written a Chrome browser extension to add a keyboard shortcut to insert equations. It also includes superscript and subscript shortcuts for when the full equation editor isn't needed.

Here's the post where I lay out how to copy in and install the extension. It's a lot of steps right now; if I can get this submitted to the Chrome Store, it would be a lot easier, but that's an involved process, I think.

Re: Math Editor keyboard shortcut? Save me from carpal tunnel... 

Community Member

I agree as well, the ability to link to modules, pages, files, etc. is much more difficult and NOT intuitive at all. It doesn't make any immediate sense to click an icon that looks like a document in order to insert a link to a module, quiz, etc. Also, instead of just inserting the link as it used to do in the text selected, it replaces the text selected with the link! No. Why would I want my "submit your assignment here" ("here" = where the link is) to say "submit your assignment W25: Exercitationes 1-25.docx impossibly long title"???

The ease of linking to the different parts of the course with the previous format was one of the best things about Canvas.

Also, regarding your point about the indents, where did the DECREASE indent button go??


Community Contributor

Oh my gosh, I turned on the new RCE at the beginning of the fall semester. It is SO MUCH BETTER! I love it. I would never go back.

For folks who are frustrated, seeing the new RCE for the first time is like walking into your favorite grocery store when the store has been remodeled and sections have been relocated. Yes, it is disconcerting at first, but everything and more is still there. You just need to find your way around it. 

Be open-minded.

SusanNiemeyer I guess I don't see why you think it is better. Using your analogy, the previous editor had everything in a single isle. I could easily find what I needed and put it in my cart. The new editor has spread things out, forcing one to click at least twice to do what was possible with a single click before. For example before there were two buttons for indent/outdent. Now there is one button and a dropdown. To get outdent you have to click on the dropdown then the outdent button. How is that an improvement. In addition those features are all on one menu bar. I have to use full screen just to see them. In my usual mode of having 2 windows per screen, I have to click on a vertical ellipsis to even see the indent functionality. The previous editor had buttons over two bars so everything fit easily on a single screen. 

In summary, yes most of what was in the previous editor is still there, but the new one is just harder to use. I guess I don't see that it is an improvement. Why do you think it is an improvement? 

Community Champion

@SusanNiemeyer, what a spot-on analogy! In my role as a Canvas admin, I've been loving the new RCE since its enablement this month.

Community Contributor

The old RCE consisted of two lines of icons, which to me, just looked cluttered. For example, before, we had five separate icons related to alignment. Now, we have one icon with a handy dropdown menu right next to it. (Just click on the downward arrow next to it.)

Having dropdown menus for EDIT, VIEW, INSERT, FORMAT, TOOLS, and TABLE neatly categories all of the different functions. It also allows for many more possibilities such as different fonts, an unlimited choice of colors, different numbering schemes for outlines, and so on.

Creating a table is also much simpler with the new RCE. 

So, I like it. I think it's an improvement. 

Community Contributor

One feature of the new RCE that is wonderful is the ability to switch to a full screen while editing. I don't think that was possible with the old RCE. I always felt constrained by the small box we were given. 

Having the full screen accessible will create a wonderful large white board while doing Zoom classes. I'll be able to screen share my Canvas page, create content, and save it. How cool is that? 

Community Participant

The html editor is awful!! When I open it and scroll to the spot I want to make a change in, as soon as I click inside the editor, the page moves to a totally different (and seemingly random) place in the page. I then need to scroll again to the correct place. The shortcuts for copy and paste on my pc (ctrl-c, ctrl-v) DO NOT work at all, find (ctrl-f) also does not work. I can't believe this version was functionally or quality tested before being released to the public! The only improvement is the formatting (indentation, various colors for tags, etc.) but I'd rather have unformatted code that is more easily editable than try to work with this silliness.

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Community Contributor

I am totally with the pro-new RCE camp and agree with SusanNiemeyer and RobDitto on this one.

Some of the enhancements the new RCE does better than the old:

  1. Can upload images directly from local drive (previous an image had to be uploaded to the file area)
  2. The search (on 3 letters) facility alone is worth the upgrade. Searching for file uploads previously on a large Canvas site was, frankly, torture. If there was more than a page or two of images, you would be expected to "load more images" several times. Reordering A-Z/Z-A and by date only enhances that. This was something previously our teachers used to criticise Canvas for.
  3. If I'm not mistaken, linking to unpublished pages were not visible in the classic RCE. Now it is.
  4. Embedding third party content in pages with a lot of content was extremely onerous on the classic RCE. To place the embed code into the page, I would have to first add a place holder on the RCE, then go into the HTML page, find the placeholder and add it. Now all I need do is point my mouse/ cursor at the point I want the third party application to go, select the cloud icon, place the embed code in and voila! It pops in as sweet as a nut!
  5. SusanNiemayer is correct, a full screen HTML page could not be enabled on the classic RCE, 
  6. Now you can link to internal pages as if they were external pages, forcing them to open in a new tab. For me this is beautiful because if the internet bandwidth gets compromised, the student has to click the back button and wait for a not inconsiderable time lag. Now all the student needs do is close the tab.
  7. The colour palette is a leap forward too. Previously, you had to add the names of the primary colours to fill the table with the colour or go out of the Canvas site altogether, and get the hex color code. Not a problem with the new RCE!

I would say there is one point that Canvas developers missed off the new RCE: the ability to link to a new page/assignment/Discussion/Quiz. I have queried this with our CSM and it is not on the immediate horizon for inclusion. I hope Instructure can see otherwise on that one?

Here is a link to a tool I created in Sway that might help those pondering the enhancements. It also includes the Canvas video guide.


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Community Contributor

Just curious if the moderators continue to survey and appraise our comments. It seems interest has waned somewhat since Canvas moved off the old community platform? 

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Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

@de_millington The Question Forum is designed as a member-to-member space for Canvas users to help one another out. Our Community Team, coaches, and advocates are always around to read and moderate content as needed.

In terms of interest waning, the exact opposite is the case: our traffic increased exponentially upon the migration and remains at a very high level—a level that the old, now-defunct software platform would not have been able to support. 

The dedicated place for members to talk about the platform itself is the Community Users group. So that this thread doesn't branch off further from its original topic, would you please post any additional questions you have about the platform in that group?

Community Contributor

@Stef_retired . Considering the new RCE has, apparently according to the sentiments in the thread here above, divided opinions in the Community and, moreover, that moderation, as you say, is busier than ever, I'm, therefore, surprised that no one has so much as viewed or commented on the free tool I posted to promote the use of and help users get orientated with the new RCE. Rightly or wrongly, this is my perception, that when I posted comments back in 2016-18, responses would come within hours rather than days or weeks. Perhaps, as you say, the stimulus within the Community is so great now that moderators are struggling to meet demand. That is understandable and to be regretted. 

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@de_millington  That's one way to look at it, I imagine, but moderators don't have any role in driving responses to posts. We're delighted that you chose to share the tool you created with other members, yet it might garner more attention as a standalone post, perhaps in the form of a blog post, than as a reply to someone else's. Just a thought.

Community Contributor

@Stef_retired I didn't realise a lowly  Explorer could blog, otherwise I would have given it a go.Thanks for that tip, I'll look further into it...

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