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How do I upload a document in the Rich Content Editor as an instructor?

How do I upload a document in the Rich Content Editor as an instructor?

You can upload files from your computer to link in the Rich Content Editor. Files uploaded in the Rich Content Editor are added to your course files.

Several features in Canvas support the Rich Content Editor, including Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, Pages, Quizzes, and Syllabus.

By default, embedded document links display an icon that allows users to preview the document in the Rich Content Editor. You can disable the in-line preview or open the in-line preview automatically.


  • If you are using Usage Rights, you must set the file usage rights before the file will be accessible to students.
  • When a document is uploaded to the Rich Content Editor, the file is saved to the Uploaded Media folder in Course Files and defaults to the same visibility status as the folder.

Open Rich Content Editor

Open Rich Content Editor

Open the Rich Content Editor when creating or editing an announcement, assignment, discussion, page, quiz, or syllabus.

Note: The Rich Content Editor supports keyboard shortcuts. To view the Keyboard Shortcuts menu, click the Keyboard icon or press ALT+F8 (PC keyboard) or ALT+FN+F8 (Mac keyboard).

Open Document Upload Tool

Open Document Upload Tool

To upload a document from the toolbar, click the Document icon [1].

You can also upload a document from the document options menu. To view additional document options, click the Document Options arrow [2]. Then select the Upload Document option [3].

To view the Document icon, you may have to click the Options icon [4].

Open Document Upload Tool from Menubar

Open Document Upload Tool from Menubar

You can also upload a document using the menubar in the Rich Content Editor. The menubar displays the title of Rich Content Editor tools and may be preferable for those using keyboard navigation.

To upload a document using the menubar, click the Insert menu [1], select the Document option [2], and select the Upload Document option [3].

Upload Document from Computer

Click or drag and drop a media file to the media uploader to upload a file from your computer.  

Select File

Select File

Select the document file [1] and click the Open button [2].

View Selected File

The uploader displays the document file name [1]. To remove the file, click the Delete icon [3].

Manage Usage Rights

Manage Usage Rights

If required by your institution, you will need to select usage right settings for your document.

In the Usage Right drop-down menu [1], select one of the five usage right options:

  • I hold the copyright: original content created by you
  • I have obtained permission to use the file: authorized permission by the author
  • The material is in the public domain: explicitly assigned to public domain, cannot be copyrighted, or is no longer protected by copyright
  • The material is subject to an exception - e.g. fair use, the right to quote, or others under applicable copyright laws: excerpt or summary used for commentary, news reporting, research, or analysis in education
  • The material is licensed under Creative Commons: this option also requires setting a specific Creative Commons license

If known, enter the copyright holder information in the Copyright Holder field [2].

Note: If you are an instructor and are not sure which usage right applies to your document, please consult your institutional admin for guidance.

Embed Document

Submit Upload

To embed your selected document, click the Submit button.

Note: The file will flash before it embeds in the Rich Content Editor.

View Document Link

View Embedded Document Link

View a link to your uploaded file in the Rich Content Editor [1].

To manage options for the link, click the link title and click the Link Options link [2].

View Link Options

You can edit the link text in the Text field [1] or link URL in the Link field [2].

To disable in-line preview, click the Disable in-line preview checkbox [3]. To automatically open in-line preview, click the Automatically open an in-line preview checkbox [4].

To save link options, click the Done button [5].


  • Inline preview is not supported in the Canvas beta environment.
  • Inline previews do not display in Edit mode.

Save Changes

Save Changes

Click the Save button.


  • The assignment, discussion, pages, and quizzes details pages display a Save & Publish button.
  • The Syllabus page displays an Update Syllabus button.
  • Discussion replies display a Post Reply button.

View Content

View the content created in the Rich Content Editor.

To open the inline preview, click the Preview icon [1].

To download the linked document, click the Download icon [2].

If you have a suggestion to improve this guide, or if you want to recommend corrections, please share your feedback

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