Add rich-content editor to Conversations

As a user, I would like to be able to use the rich-content editor to compose messages in the Conversations inbox. This would enable me to create Conversations that are on par, formatting- and content-wise, with Announcements. (Students seem to read Conversations messages more diligently than Announcements.)


transferred from the old Community

Originally posted by: Mia Nolan

Special thanks for contributions by: Stefanie Sanders

Community Contributor

This would be a really useful feature, even if it were minimal. In particular, it would be helpful to be able to add hyperlinks to various parts of the course from within an email.

New Member

We ran our summer pilot semester and just got the survey results in. 74 faculty and 343 students responded the survey. Many students mentioned lacking inbox features. They are hoping to use inbox as emails, but are finding it insufficient, especially without formatting capabilities. 

Please add rich content editor in. 

Community Contributor

Yes, if it is possible to enhance Conversations with implementing the full RTE, then including a tool to link to an external site or items within the course would be significant. It is an essential part of class communication to students who often check their email inbox outside of Canvas.  

Community Contributor

 @stevensons ‌,  @jfahs ‌

I just created a feature idea for this exact thing:  I'm hoping Canvas can work it in if/when they work on adding the RCE to conversation message creation.

Community Contributor

GREAT!!! I just went in and up-voted it.

New Member

The Canvas Inbox/Conversations is very deficient, as compared to BlackBoard.  While messaging students in the course, the inability to be able to BOLD important key words and embed URLs and hyperlinks, is a serious and obvious flaw.  Please, please add Rich Text capabilities to the Inbox Communications tool.

I miss BlackBoard !!!

New Member

Yes, yes, yes!   Glad to see I'm not the only one that faces weekly struggles with beefing up message formatting in the Inbox in Canvas.  During our training, our institution strongly encouraged (no, insisted) that we use the Inbox in Canvas for messaging out to our students.  I comply, but my regular correspondence with students is embarrassingly flat and basic without even a simple pallet of tools to clarify and enhance our correspondence.  Thank goodness for the dash - which I use instead of the missing bulleted list feature.  But that's about as fancy as I can get in this woefully lacking method of correspondence with our students.

Thanks, and hope to see changes in the near future!

Nicholas Johnson

Adjunct Instructor, Anthropology

Ivy Tech Community College

Community Champion

I teach math, and many of the Conversations messages I have with students are about...math.

Not having the RCE in Conversations (or having some other way to get LaTeX in there, I suppose) really limits some of my explanations since it's hard to talk about how you should, say, simplify a fraction with a bunch of exponents without proper equation tools. A mess of a bunch of nested () and liberal use of the / and ^ symbols is just not as comprehensible to students. (I "cheat" and use the Unicode symbols for superscripts and subscripts most of the time, but there's no similar workaround for fractions. Also, my students generally aren't going to learn about a bunch of random Unicode symbols and how to get them into their messages before sending me questions, so it only helps with my outgoing messages rather than all of them.)

I often end up having to open up another program entirely to write even short replies and then including those replies as attachments for this reason.

New Member

Yes, please...!!!

Student's are under an immense amout of pressure and educators have to battle to get their attention. If I sent out an email with a block of unformatted text, the student glosses right over it. That wastes my time and theirs. If we can send out an email with bolding, headings, and highlighting - not to mention in-text pictures, I can attract their attention and effectively get out a lot of information in a short amount of time. The fact that canvas does not allow editing in emails seems counter-intuitive to the platform's mission. 

Community Contributor

As a question - does this include the Message Students Who from the Gradebook? That would be a fantastic addition as well!

Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.


This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

Not applicable

I can't believe that this is still an ongoing issue.
Three and a half years. And it's been on the 'Radar' for two years now. 
Can you not overhaul this?
It's the 21st century. To be forced to use a deficient system that clings to intentionally hobbled (archaic) functionality feels ridiculous and painful.

Rich text tools are deeply known and have been since the 90s (last century). This is incredibly familiar technology. 

There is a human toll to keep in mind, namely wasted time, missed communications and the frustrations arising from both plus having to compensate through workarounds.

Incidentally, I've worked in software dev environments that try to maintain legacy systems, and it sucks; and the maintenance headaches grow the longer that you hang onto them. One implication of this trend is the following: the longer that you don't fix this, the less likely that you're ever going to. (It will be four years in March.)

Please unify all text composition experiences. Make them all good ones. 

Thank you.

New Member

It seems very silly that I have to add an attachment to the email to show a simple example of proper formatting for students' papers. This needs to be fixed - at least italics, bold, and underline as a bare minimum.

Please resolve this - every other email that I use has these functions. I can even use them on my iphone email apps. 


TL Robinson

New Member

Yeah, I don't think we need the full features of the Announcement WYSIWIG, but at least bold, italics, lists, and hyperlinks. That's just basic functionality of email. It's really annoying to paste in giant URLs every time I want to point a student to a specific webpage. 

New Member

We don't recommend the inbox to our users, and this is one of the reasons why. Try telling someone in 2019 that they can't hyperlink or bold text in a message.

Community Member

Having a rich text editor in the Inbox (Conversations) would be great. My university is in the process of transitioning to Canvas and the lack of rich text editor is something that has already come up a few times. I hope this happens soon.

New Member

I've been using Canvas for a couple of weeks and one of the first things I tried was to send a message to my students. I was surprised that I could not use any standard formatting in the message which was disappointing considering that formatting can be used in most other sections of Canvas.

New Member

I agree with William. This is a glaring oversight on what is otherwise an attractive product.

New Member

Good email etiquette and writing REQUIRES the ability to make the most important information easily and quickly accessible! We need, at minimum!, the ability to have different font styles (bold, italics, etc.), font colors, font sizes, and bullets! There are more options for my writing in this comment box than there are in Canvas emails! 

I use Canvas to convey important dates, information, and requirements to a group of about 50 tutors. They get my emails along with tons of other campus emails... thus, the information that's important needs to be super easy to glance at. 

Please add the rich content editing options to Canvas emails!!!!

New Member

I agree and I also think its silly that we have to vote in order for them to make the product work like it should to begin with.  Just make it more funcitional.  I waste so much time trying to get it to do things it should already do!