Using annotations/drawing in pdf within Canvas App not updated between two devices

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Hi There, 

I just try to find a way to make annotations within pdfs available for students without extra costs. 

Within the Canvas iOS app I provide a pdf within a page to the students. When I open the PDF within the App it is possible to annotate and draw in the PDF (see attachement). 

I am using the app on my iPhone and on my iPad, unfortunately the annotations aren't synchronised between the two devices. Is there a way do this?

And also I would like to find out if the annotations are saved forever in my app? I already logged out from the app and emptied my Apple cache and it is still there. I have to play it safe before offering the possiblity to students. 

Thanks a lot.

Best regards, Simone

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Coach Emeritus


Thanks for the question. It sounds like there are two scenarios here: 

1) You want to annotate on a file in your course and share it with students

There is no way to do this automatically through the app. You would need to access the file in the app, annotate it in the app, then save it to another place on your device and re-upload it to your course. 

2) You want to give students the ability to annotate on a PDF and share it with you. 

This is possible in two ways.

a. Prefered method: You link to a PDF within the assignment details of an assignment described here:

b. The student accesses the file from the files or modules section, annotates in the app, then exports the file to their device. 


The apps are not synchronized because annotations are saved locally on a device when annotating a file. The one exception is when grading through SpeedGrader on the Canvas Teacher app. This will sync annotations but doesn't sound like your specific use case. 

I hope this helps. Thanks. 

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