Adding Inline Content to Canvas Courses


Canvas allows instructors to display their content inline. Using the Preview Inline display option allows for maximum flexibility for students to view, minimize, or download course content without leaving the Canvas page or being pushed to download external files. Displaying content on Canvas pages creates a more accessible learning environment than uploading files directly into modules as stand-alone items.  

The following content can be displayed “inline” on Canvas pages. Media and images are displayed inline in Canvas by default when uploaded. Additional steps are required to display documents inline.  

  • Media (e.g., audio or video files) 

  • Documents (e.g., Word Documents, PDFs, PowerPoint files)  

  • Images (e.g., JPEG, PNG, GIF files) 


Canvas in your web browser

Note: Documents set to Preview Inline will not display within the Canvas page on the mobile app, but will allow students to view documents without requiring them to exit the course or download files.


  1. Login to Canvas at 

  1. Via the Courses tab on the left global navigation menu, navigate to the course where you would like to add your content  

  1. Navigate to the page in the course where you would like to add your content 

  1. Select the Edit button to open the Rich Text Editor 

  1. Select Insert 

  1. Select Document

  1. Determine Document Source 

  • For new documents, select Upload Document 

  1. For documents previously uploaded to Canvas, select Course Documents or User Documents depending on the location of your file  

  1. After your document displays in the Rich Text Editor, select the document link and open Link Options 

  1. Under Display Options select, Preview Inline 

  • Note: Preview Inline Display includes an option to Expand Preview by Default which will default to the expanded inline display when a student views the page. The student can expand or minimize the content as desired. Students can see content without downloading it, but the option to download the content remains. You can choose to Expand Preview by Default depending on your preference 

  1. Select Done

  1. Select Save

  • Note: If you are using the Expand preview by Default option, you will not see the preview from the Rich Text Editor, but you will be able to see it when the page is saved.  

  1. Review your content to ensure it is displaying as you intended

Outcome: Your document will be displayed inline on your Canvas page.  

Get Help from Canvas

  • Live chat with Canvas support (Faculty) 

  • Get 24-hours/7-days a week Canvas support  

    • Dial the Canvas Support Hotline number located under "Get Help" in the Canvas Global Navigation Menu 

    • Contact OIT at 740-593-1222 for questions related to logging in, test courses/manually created courses, or third-party tools (Panopto, VoiceThread, Inclusive Access, etc.) 

Get Help from OIT

Additional resources

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Article ID: 862
Tue 4/23/24 3:25 PM
Tue 5/21/24 10:44 AM

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Canvas is an online Learning Management System designed to facilitate communication and the sharing of course content between instructors, teaching assistants, students, and guests.