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Community Member

Hyperlinks to images, for avatars?

Hi all,

We're new to Canvas.

We have external encrypted links for our student's images. 

Is there a way to use hyperlinks to images instead of uploading images of students into Canvas?

Thanks all

Matthew Kaiser

Systems Developer

IT Department

Midwestern University - Downer's Grove Campus

5 Replies

Hi Welcome to the Community!

So for context, are you talking about students profile pictures? Or is this in a specific part of a course? Students would need to upload their own Avatars per user, unfortunately (see the How do I add a profile picture in my user account as a student? guide for how they can accomplish that)

As far putting their picture in a course via a link, pretty much anything is possible. You can hyperlink, insert, do whatever works best for building out your content. Maybe let us know a little more about why you're trying to achieve what you're trying to achieve and we can do our best to help answer it. Smiley Happy 

Thanks for coming around! Hope this bit helps and hope to hear from ya soon. 


Can we use FTP or SCP transfer a folder of images and code something to link the images to the students user accounts?

Matthew Kaiser – IT Department

Ext. 6138


That's a great question! Let me share this with our‌ group to see if anyone has encountered this. I personally don't have experience here, but I'd be super interested to hear if someone has done this before. Smiley Happy 


I'm not sure enough particulars were supplied to be definitive, but I think the answer is yes.  

They need to be hosted on a site that supports hotlinking of images and can be accessed with a static URL. If the links are encrypted, then you would need to call some place that would decrypt them, redirect, and return that information to Canvas. This process could involve generating access tokens and other things needed to get access to protected information.

See the Edit a user API call and supply the user.avatar.url field. I haven't researched it fully with testing, but take a look at the user.avatar.token field as well.

On a related note, depending on the size of your images, you may want to create and use thumbnails of 128x128 pixels to reduce the download time.

You can use scp or ftp or sftp or whatever to move the images to where they're stored, but you cannot upload them into Canvas directly using one of these programs. Storing them is separate from referencing them in Canvas.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi there

I wanted to check in with you because I noticed that there hasn't been any new activity in this thread since then end of September 2017.  While I don't have any feedback for you myself, I wanted to see if you've had a chance to review all the responses you've received thus far?  Did any of the above replies help to answer your question?  If that is the case, please go ahead and mark one of the above replies as "Correct".  But, if you are still looking for some help from members of the Canvas Community, please post a message below so that we can continue to assist you with this issue.  For now, I am going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered" because there hasn't been activity in this thread for quite some time.  However, this won't prevent you or others from posting additional questions and/or comments below that are related to your topic.  I hope that's alright with you, Matthew.  Looking forward to hearing back from you soon!

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