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Community Member

Best advice when using Cidi Tools?

Hey All,

I'm just starting to dive into Cidi Labs Design Tools for Canvas (formerly Kennethware) and I've found the tutorial videos provided on their website and Youtube. Does anyone have any best practices, advice, or warnings to share? I want to get up and running fast, so this info would be greatly helpful!



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18 Replies
Community Member

Thanks, Adam! As soon as I get access to a sandbox area, I will be in touch!

Community Member

Hi Jennifer,

Sorry for not seeing this thread sooner. We just set up your sandbox account. Check out to find user guides and other resources. Feel free to ask us questions there too. Have fun digging into Design Tools!

Community Member

Thanks, Mike! I'm looking forward to it!



One of the things that I have found most helpful is to always launch the tools when editing a page that is using them. That way I am less likely to accidentally get outside of the div tags of the various sections. That little tip will save you lots of time troubleshooting with the html code to fix it.

I also love the "Jump to" icons at the top of the tools. When you click inside any item in the page you are editing when the tools are on, the "Jump to" menu at the top changes to show what elements apply to that item. Clicking on an icon  will get you to that portion of the tools very quickly. In the example below I added a table and clicked inside the table, so I got the table design option at the end of the "Jump to" bar. I can click on that table icon to get me to the table styles section of the tools. LOVE IT!


Good luck!


Community Member

Great! That's exactly the kind of tips and tricks info I'm looking for! Thanks, Elisa!

Community Member

Hi  @jen ,

I am investigating this option as well and have lots of questions.  I've spoken to Mike and Kenneth.  I think it is the type of product that fills a big void in Canvas, but I do have some questions around the complexity, i.e. trying to teach it to 5,000 teachers and the reliability should Canvas underlying architecture take a left turn.  Would the CSS, JS, APIs and such be adjusted quickly?  What would happen to all the courses built with Design Tools?  These might well be easily answered questions, but these are just the initial thoughts I've had about it.   I'd love to touchbase with you as we are in a decision mode as well.  I am - 55,000 student K12 institution in Maryland.

Hi  @joseph_allen ,

Just some bits that might be of interest:

  1. Complexity: In my development version I have implemented functionality where a basic set of tools is initially loaded for users and then they have the ability to go in and add more advanced functionality as they grow more comfortable with the tools. I need to update some documentation and then we will be turning on an option to switch to a beta version of the tools if you want to check it out.
  2. Left Turns: Canvas has been known to toss an occasional wrench into the tools like draft state, the new UI and recent changes to the rich content editor. Fortunately, Cidi Labs and USU have a good relationship with Canvas where we have worked with them to make sure these changes don't break the functionality.
  3. Adjustments to CSS, JS, APIs: Canvas is really good about providing release notes and letting us see what they have coming in the beta environment. As they announce changes that might impact Design Tools or content created by them, I go into beta and make sure that everything is still working and make any changes needed before those changes go into production. The SaaS offering through Cidi Labs also makes it so anything I fix is immediately available to all Design Tools users. If I ever miss anything or you find a bug, let us know and I will jump in and fix it.
  4. Existing Courses: In general, Design Tools is there to help you write HTML. Even complex interactions like accordions and tab panels are created as basic headings followed by content which are rearranged using JavaScript to build out the advanced functionality. So, even if Canvas took away all JavaScript and CSS, you would still have properly structured HTML content.

Hopefully that helps with some of your questions. As a random side note, I have also been working on some really fun things with the module builder that should be coming out in the next month or two.

Thanks Kenneth.  Yes, your replies are very helpful.  

Learner II


Only new to cidi labs in the past few weeks - our school / tech people have set up an institution template page for home pages so that even the most 'nervous' (for want of a better word) can feel comfortable in designing the pages from there. Plus also adds consistency and professionalism to faculty and course pages.  @david_summervi1 ‌