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External Links in PDFs Not Functioning


I have a bunch of PDF files that external have links in them for students to access while taking their course. The PDFs are in Canvas as "Files." The external links do not work, the learners have to copy/paste the urls (it's like the file is in a "viewer" in which the links don't function). I created a page and then added a link to the PDF file on the page, when the PDF opens, the external links do work (these were migrated courses from Blackboard, and the external links in the PDFs work fine in Blackboard), however, we don't want the students to have to download the PDFs or open in a new tab/window, we like they way adding them as "files" looks. Any idea why these links wouldn't be working on way, but they do work in the actual PDF?

Thank you!


4 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @dgeromet ‌

I just tested this in one of my sandboxes by creating a simple PDF file with just a web link, and after uploading to Canvas the link worked just fine in both teacher and student view.

It could be that the PDFs were corrupted in migration or somehow converted to an image file. Short of submitting a support ticket, I might suggest talking to the folks in the‌ group where there is considerable experience working with migrations from Bb.

I hope this helps,


Hi Kelley,


Thank you for your response. I created a link to one of the PDFs manually and it performed the same way, but the external links function properly in the same PDF when I just create a link on a page to it, so I don’t think it is a corruption issue. I will keep looking. ☺



Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there,  @dgeromet ...

I have been reviewing older questions here in the Canvas Community, and I stumbled upon your question.  I wanted to check in with you because there hasn't been any new activity in this thread since January 22, 2018.  Did the response you received from  @kmeeusen  help to answer your question?  Are there any outstanding questions you have as it relates to your initial question?  If you feel that Kelley's response has helped to answer your question, please go ahead and mark his reply as "Correct".  However, if you are still looking for some help with this question, please come back to this thread to post an update so that someone from the Community might be able to assist you.  For now, I am going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered" because there hasn't been any new activity for almost four months, but that won't keep you or others from posting additional questions and/or comments below that are related to this topic.  I hope that is alright with you, Della.  Looking forward to hearing back from you soon!


This is an issue we have just discovered.  If I embed a PDF using the technique described in this document, embedding a pdf, the links in the PDF no longer work.  If I embed a Word document using the same technique, the links do work.  The links in the PDF work fine if you open the PDF on the web.