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Community Team
Community Team

Canvas Release: Direct Share (2020-01-18)

This document introduces the Direct Share feature as noted in Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18) 


This feature was enforced for all Canvas institutions in Canvas Release Notes (2020-07-18)  


For additional feature updates, please refer to the direct share release notes entries.

Direct Share allows users to copy individual course items to another course and share individual items with other users. This change allows content to be shared directly in Canvas without having to use a secondary repository like Commons. 



Account Management


Users who want to share content directly must have the Course Content - add / edit / delete permission. 


At the account level, account admins have this permission by default. 


At the course level, TA, Teacher, and Designer-based roles have this permission by default.



Users with permission can manage content with the Content Shares API.


Course-Level Features


In Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, and Pages, instructors can copy content to another course and share individual content items with another user. 


Send to and Copy to options in assignments


The menu for individual content items also include the Send To and Copy To links.


Send to and Copy to links in an individual assignment


Note: If the content being shared or copied includes other content in the course (such as a quiz that includes a file), only the direct content item selected for sharing/copying will be included. The additional files must be shared/copied individually.


Send Content

The Send To option is used to send content to another user.


Users can search for other users via email address. Content can only be sent to users with instructor-based roles who can manage course content. Users can be identified by typing at least the first three letters of a user’s name in the search field. Search results display users by name and email address. Select the name of the user when it appears.


Send To window with selected user

Send To Window with user added


The same content may be sent to more than one user by adding other users individually.


When all users have been added and the content has been sent, the window confirms the content has been shared successfully.


Send To Window Confirmation


Copy Content

The Copy To option is used to copy content to another course. Instructors can only copy content to their own courses. Admins can copy content to any course in the account.


To copy content, locate the course where the content should be copied by typing at least the first three letters of a course name in the search field. Search results display courses by name. Select the name of the course when it appears.


Copy To window with course name selected


The content can be placed within a specific module in the course, if applicable. This menu is optional. 


Copy To window with selected course and Module window


To use the module option, type at least the first three letters of the module in the search field. Search results display modules by name. Select the name of the module when it appears.


When all fields have been completed and the content has been copied, the window confirms the content copy process has started successfully. The content may take a few minutes to display in the selected course.


Copy To Window Confirmation


User-Level Features

Any user who receives shared content from another user is notified about the content In the User Navigation Menu. Shared content is indicated in the user’s Account icon and also in the Shared Content link.


User Navigation Menu with Shared Content Link


Shared Content Page

Shared content items are listed in the page in reverse chronological order. Additionally, pagination is supported after a user has received 10 content shares.


Each content item displays the title of the content, the type of content, the user who sent the content, and the date and time received.


Shared Content Page with shared content


Users can manage the content item within the page by clicking the Actions menu. Options include previewing the item, importing the item, or removing the item.


  • Preview: The user can preview the content item directly from the page. The content loads in the same window and the user can close the window after the content is reviewed.
  • Import: The user can import the content into a course using the same functionality as copying content to another course.
  • Remove: The user can remove the content from the page and take no action. A separate window will display to confirm the removal.


Shared Content page with action items


Content items are considered read once the user has selected an action for each content item. However, content items can be manually marked as read or unread by clicking the dot next to the item. Unread content items are displayed in the account’s primary color.


Community Resources

Future Enhancements

This document outlines existing functionality included in the initial release of this feature. The direct share functionality may continue to receive additional feature enhancements over future releases as indicated in Release Notes. Please follow the release notes for future functionality updates, which will be indicated by the direct_share tag.


Customer Feedback

Community feedback for this feature is welcome per Canvas Community Feedback Guidelines, which outlines general feedback, broken functionality, and feature enhancements.


Feature enhancements should include the direct_share tag. Before submitting a new idea, please review all existing Direct Share feature ideas.


Feature Documentation

Documentation for this feature is available in the Canvas Guides.

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37 Replies
Community Champion

I'm so excited about this feature! For teacher's who want to duplicate content between courses, it's a real time-saver. I have some questions about sharing and notification settings, specifically when some one shares/copies between their own courses.

  1. When I copied an assignment from one of my courses to another, the due date and publish state carried over from the original course. If that assignment comes over published, will students receive a notification (if they have due date notifications on)?
  2. With copied announcements, I see the copied announcement has the unread blue dot next to it and that the Posted On date/time is empty. I opened my announcement, selected edit, made a small change and saved the announcement. The Posted On date/time field remained blank. I also noticed that the image icon next to the announcement just displays the letter "U", unlike my other announcements which show my profile picture; my name also doesn't appear anywhere in the announcement header. The only way I could populate the Posted/On field was to enter a delay posting on date (this change still didn't show me as the author). So, if an announcement is copied, will students be able to see it even though the posted on field is empty? Will they receive a notification when the announcement is copied or do we need to enter a delay post date/time to force a notification? 
Community Team
Community Team

Hi, Audra,

No behavior has changed with course copies related to this feature. Copied announcements does require a modification to the announcement, or you can copy the content and post a new one.

Notifications aren't sent to students with copied content. Smiley Happy



Community Champion

If teachers share an Assignment or Page, are all included assets (particularly Files like PDFs or Images) duplicated and shared as well?

Community Champion

I tried sharing material between two teachers in beta. The material never arrived in the receiving user account. Is there a time expectation or any way to check for errors in the transfer?

Community Champion

 @bbennett2 ‌, I tested in our beta instance and the materials appeared more or less right away.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @bbennett2 ...

Yes, in my own testing...if you share a content item (I shared a "page") with another instructor that includes things like embedded images and linked PDF files, those assets will be copied into the instructor's course when he/she decides to import it into his/her course.  The images and PDFs are placed in course "Files" ... because that is where they were stored in the originating course.  Hope this helps.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Posting this here so that it is not missed.  Please see the comments from  @bbennett2 ‌ and  @kblack ‌ regarding the Send To... dialog box that are a part of the Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18).

New Member

When doing testing, we shared an assignment with another user and then tested importing the shared assignment into a course. 

  • If imported into the course and selected a module, the assignment would appear in the module list, but it did not appear on the "Assignments" area. 
  • If we imported the shared assignment into a course and did not select a module, the assignment did not appear in "Assignments" area or anywhere else.  
Community Champion

Timberley, my experience while testing has been that the copied assignment shows up in the Imported Assignments group. Is your institution using grading periods? If so have you checked that the grading period filter isn't hiding the assignment? If that's not the issue, you should report the issue to Canvas Support.