New Canvas Integrations – Google Apps and Office 365

Do you like storing and managing files in the cloud? Good news! Using Canvas with Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive just got a whole lot easier, thanks to integrations we’ve just implemented. These integrations bring added functionality and awesome new features to Canvas for files you store in Google Drive and OneDrive. Read about what’s new below.

Google Drive and OneDrive? The Cloud?

Briefly, a blurb about these great applications:

Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are both great online file storage applications. You’re probably very familiar with the desktop versions of these files that come with Microsoft Office 365: Word Docs, Excel sheets, and Powerpoint presentations. What you might not know is that you can create, edit, and store these files online–in the cloud, as they say. You don’t even need to store a copy on your computer. It can live entirely online!

Both Microsoft and Google have their own versions of these files: Google has Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and Microsoft has Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files. They both have their own online storage spaces, too: Google stores their online files in Google Drive, and Microsoft stores their online files in OneDrive. If you have a Google account or a Microsoft account, you’ve probably got tons of free online storage space you aren’t even using.

Read on to find out how you can easily access and use your Google Drive and OneDrive files in Canvas!

Course Navigation

Google Drive and Office 365 links may show up in your course navigation menu. Here, users will be able to access documents from their Google Drive account or from their Microsoft OneDrive account, respectively. You can hide these links in the course settings.


This is what you’ll see in these links once you log in to your Google account and OK the authentication


File Upload

Now it’s even easier to submit assignments from your Google Drive or OneDrive account. For any assignments set to accept file uploads, students will see the following options after hitting “submit assignment.”

Note that you can still restrict file upload types by specifying acceptable file extensions. Only want a Word Doc? Restrict file types to .doc and .docx!


The default option is still uploading a file from your computer, but students now have the option to upload a file directly from their Google Drive or OneDrive accounts.


This is what it looks like when students go to submit a Google Sheet for a file upload assignment.

Cloud Assignments

As an instructor, you can now also assign things from the cloud! Instead of uploading a PDF or Word document that students download, edit, and resubmit, you can link to a file in your Google Drive or OneDrive. When students open it, it will create a copy unique to them in their own account, which they can then edit. On a Google Drive file, students can even submit it without leaving the page and returning to Canvas!

Read more about cloud assignments in the Canvas Release Notes for the Google Apps and Office 365 integrations.


This is what a Google Doc assignment might look like to a student. Note the submit button in the left-hand corner! (Image borrowed from the Canvas Release Notes)

The slideshow below shows how you would select “external tool” as the submission type, select which one you want, and then what a student would see when they click on the assignment.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Note: Speedgrader should work find with both file upload and cloud assignments. Rubrics can be added to Google Drive cloud assignments and all file upload assignments, but might not work with OneDrive cloud assignments.


While Collaborations used to only support Google Docs, they now support Google Sheets and Slides, and OneDrive Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files! Collaborations are a great way to get groups of students to work together without them having to share emails and email around a million different versions of the same file; it’s all organized in Canvas and updates are made in real-time, to the same document.


Link directly to documents in Google Drive or OneDrive from your modules! Just like you can already link directly to external links and course files.


It’s as easy as clicking “external tool” and then selecting the one you want


Compare this to adding generic external URLS — you have to go into the document, generate a shareable link, and then copy and paste it in. So many steps!


When you’re done, you’ll have a direct link to a file in your Google Drive or OneDrive account that looks like any other external link — except it’s even faster and easier!


Rich Content Editor

Access documents in your Google Drive or OneDrive anywhere you use the rich content editor! Links to these and other LTIs are hidden under the carrot button, as shown below. You can link to them in the text or embed the file right into the page, all WITHOUT having to take the extra step to upload them into your course files first.

Note that for Google Drive files, you can link to them OR embed them. For OneDrive files, you can only link to them.


Click the carrot to directly access documents in your Google Drive or OneDrive account without first having to add them to your course files.


This is what it might look like to link to or embed files from Google Drive or OneDrive in a Canvas page.

Check Out the Canvas Release Notes for more!

For more info, check out the Canvas Release Notes for both the Google Apps and Office 365 integrations!

We’re excited to enable these amazing new features. Please let us know what you think or if you have any questions about using them this quarter.

-Your eLearning Team


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