Files FAQs

Files FAQs

The following are some of the questions we frequently get asked about Files. For a full list of FAQs from Canvas, check out these Canvas Guides from Instructure: Files.

Files FAQ

How do I add a file to my course?

You can add a file to your course by uploading a file. In Course Navigation, click the Files link.
Click the Upload button. Click the title of the file you want to upload and click the Open button. Some web browsers contain a unique feature that allows the user to add to files by simply dragging and dropping the files from a file window directly into the Canvas file repository. Click the title of the file you wish to add and drag the file to your open browser. Your file will automatically upload. You can also import files using the course import tool in Course Settings.

How do I rename folders and files?

To rename a file or folder in Canvas, select the main folder that the file or folder is in. In the example here, it is the My Files folder [1].

In the right pane, select the file or folder you want to rename [2].

Select the Other Options [] menu [3] for the item to open the option drop-down menu.

Select Rename [4] from the Options menu.

Canvas folder or file rename process


Type the new name in the Folder Name field and either select the check mark [5] or use the Enter key to complete the folder rename.

Follow these same steps for renaming files.


Canvas rename file folder
Is the Files tool a good place to have students in my course access course files?

Not really.  A best practice is to use the Files tool only for your use to add files to Modules, Assignments, etc. It is a best practice to remove the Files tool from the Course Navigation Menu. Having students access files has allowed them to see files, like exams, that the instructor didn’t intend for them to see.

Can I create nested folders in the Files tool?

Yes, once a folder is created, click on it to open it and then click on the + Folder button. This will allow for nesting of folders.

Can I make the Files tool private?

Yes, the Files tool is intended to be a place where files are stored and linked to from other tools in Canvas.  To make it private, go to Settings>Navigation (tab at the top of the page) and then drag the files tool below the line that reads: “Drag items here to hide them from students.” There have been cases of students having access to Files and the instructor had an exam in the Files tool and students were able to see the exam. It is a best practice to remove the link to Files from the students’ view on the Course Navigation Menu. 

How do I reload a file that I’ve updated and not break the links?

When updating a file, keep the same file name and upload it to Files. You should be asked if you want to replace the current file. Say “Yes” and this process will keep the links working. 

Can I upload my course files all at one time to Canvas?

This is possible in the Files tool.  Zip your files into a compressed folder. Then upload the zip file to the Files tool.  Once it is there, unzip it and the folder structure and files will be in Canvas, ready to be linked to from Pages, Modules, Assignments, Quizzes, etc. 

Can files be uploaded from the Modules tool?

Yes - in fact, this works really well.  When adding an Item to a Module select Add File. Then click on [New File]. Once [New File] is selected, the Choose File button will allow the user to add a file from their computer. Select the file, and then click on the blue Add Item button. 


For further assistance, UO Online & Canvas Support is available.

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