Changing Content in Canvas Files

This article provides best practices for revising files that have been uploaded to Canvas Files as part of an eCampus Center Course Design and Development project.


Uploaded content includes images, Microsoft Office documents, and PDFs. Uploaded content differs from linked content such as websites, Google Workspace documents, Panopto or YouTube videos, and third-party platforms.

If you worked directly with an eCampus Content and Accessibility specialist on uploaded content, the content as stored in Canvas Files is accessible unless otherwise noted during your course design and development work.

Managing Uploaded Content

Inevitably, a document uploaded to a course template will require an update—this includes course syllabi. In such cases, the strong recommendation is to access the document from within the Canvas course site rather than a personal or shared drive. In this way, you preserve the accessibility work performed during CDD.

The steps you will take to manage uploaded content will depend on the scope of change. See the below table to learn the best route given the scope of change required.

If the title of the document ...

Then follow these steps in Canvas ...

Will NOT change 

  1. Go to Files

    • Search for the file in need of a change

    • Click the options menu at the far right of the item (three dots stacked)

    • Select Download

    • Keep this page open in Canvas

  2. Make the desired change

    • Do NOT change the name of the file

  3. Drag and drop the updated file onto the Canvas page

    • Select replace when prompted

By keeping document titles the same, you don’t have to relink documents!

Will change

  1. Locate all places in the course where the document displays

    • Open each page in a new browser tab

  2. Open Files in a new browser tab

    • Search for the file in need of a change

    • Click the options menu at the far right of the item (three dots stacked)

    • Select Download

    • Click the options menu again

    • Select Delete

      • Click OK when prompted

  3. Make the desired changes or locate the new file that you want in the course

  4. Drag and drop the desired file onto the Canvas page

  5. Go to the browser tab(s) opened in Step 1

    • Select Edit

    • Right-click on the existing link

      • Choose Remove Link

    • Update the text to reflect the new name of the file

    • Highlight the text

    • Select Insert > Document > Course Documents

    • Locate the document uploaded in Step 4

      • Click on it

    • Scroll to the bottom of the page

    • Click Save

  6. Repeat Step 5 for all locations in the course where the changed document displays to students

Need more help? Try eCampus Center Faculty Development.
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