Preventing and Fixing Accessibility Issues in Your Canvas Course

Preventing and Fixing Accessibility Issues in Your Canvas Course

This guide will walk you through addressing possible accessibility issues in your Canvas course.

Student Support

Accommodation Instructions

Your course should include information about disability services and how students with disabilities may receive accommodations.

Tech Support

Your course should include information on technical support and where/how students can get assistance.


Check the accessibility of all tools and software used in the course. Inform students of system requirements, privacy policies, and accessibility.


Use styles and hierarchical orders to support screen readers. Do not use tables for layout purposes.


You should not use color or font size alone to distinguish text or convey importance. Use headers. See How do I add and modify text in the Rich Content Editor?  


Minimize your use of tables, but when you do use them, set a caption and header row or column in the table properties. Tables should be used to display data only, not for formatting purposes!  Do not set the width of a table or table cell to a fixed value, use percentages instead - this allows the table to be responsive to different screen sizes.  Reduce the number of columns for readability on mobile devices.  See How do I insert a table using the Rich Content Editor?

Don’t Copy & Paste

Don’t copy from other courses or websites or documents into Canvas.  If you do, the text will copy over just fine (although it may mess up the text styles and fonts), but images will not copy over like they would when copying and pasting into a Word document.  Images have to be downloaded from the other site (right click on the image and choose ‘save image as’), and then you can upload and insert the image into Canvas, entering alt text when doing so.  When copying content from another Canvas course, use the course import tool to ensure all images and links are fixed.  Use the link validator to check for any broken images or links.



Caption videos and provide transcripts for podcasts.


When inserting an image, always remember to set the alt text with a description of what is in the image for screen readers.  See: How do I embed images from Canvas into the Rich Content Editor?

Web Pages

Check that all your links are up to date and have descriptive text. Check Canvas content with the Canvas accessibility checker.

Files & Documents

All files and documents should be checked for accessibility.

Alternative Formats

A separate accessible version of content should be made available when there is no other way to make it accessible.

Canvas Tools


Use the modules page as the primary place where you build and organize your course.  Think of it as the table of contents or outline or to-do list for your course.  If you have a reading or assignment or discussion for a particular week or unit, add it to the module for that week or unit.  This way, everything associated with that week or unit will be more visible to you and your students.  You can see in a glance if something is not available or unpublished that shouldn’t be, or if a requirement was not set, and so forth.  See How do I add a module?  and How do I add assignment types, pages, and files as module items?

Assignments & Quizzes

All assignments and online activities should have clear expectations to help students understand how to do them and why they are doing them.

Link Validator

Use the Link Validator tool in Canvas to ensure your course does not have any broken links.

Student View

Check the course in student view for broken or inaccessible functionality.

Mobile Compatibility

Check the course for usability in the Canvas Student app.

PopeTech Accessibility Guide

The PopeTech Accessibility Guide is a simple, easy-to-use tool that is integrated into the Canvas interface. It allows you to do real-time checks on your content and fix accessibility errors to ensure that your instructional material is accessible for all users. Learn more about this tool and how to use it on our PopeTech Accessibility Guide page.