Canvas - Uploading and sharing content to Canvas with Google Drive

This document describes how to upload content in Google Drive, share it, and link to it from Canvas.

Create and share a folder in Google Drive

  1. To open Google Drive with your UW-Madison account, launch Firefox or Chrome and go to https://drive.google.com/.
  2. Click Go to Drive if you're not already signed in. 
  3. Sign in with your NetID and password credentials. 
  4. If you don't have a folder already created in your Drive account, create one by clicking the + New button on the left and selecting Folder
  5. Select the folder where you will store the content you're going to embed in your Canvas course. Click the Share Embedded Content icon (a little person with a plus sign next to it) in the upper-right corner of the Drive window. A "Share with people and groups" window opens. 
  6. On the bottom under "Get link," make sure it indicates that "Anyone on the internet with this link can view." If not, click the Change link, then from the drop-down list, select Anyone with the link.

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  1. Click the Done button.

Upload content to your shared Google Drive folder and copy link

  1. Drag a file from your computer to the shared folder open in Google Drive. Your content will upload to Google Drive. A progress indicator will be visible in the lower right. After your file is done uploading, Google Drive will display an "upload complete" message.  

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  1. Double-click your uploaded content in Google Drive. You may see a message indicating the file is still processing--if so, wait until it is done.
  2. After you're able to open the content, click the three-dot menu in the upper-right side of the screen, then select Share

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  1. Click the Copy Link button to copy a link to the content.

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Add content to Canvas 

There are two options you have for adding a content link to Canvas: 

  • Option 1 - Adding a content link to a Canvas Module
  • Option 2 - Adding a content link to the Canvas rich content editor

See below for instructions for each of these options. 

Option 1 - Add a content link to a Canvas Module

  1. Open and log in to the UW-Madison instance of Canvas: https://canvas.wisc.edu and access your Canvas course. 
  2. Click Modules.
  3. Find the module where you'd like to link your Google Drive content, and select the Add Item icon (a plus sign). 

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  1. Click the Add drop-down menu and select External URL. An "Add Item" screen appears. 
  2. Paste the URL you copied from Google Drive into the URL field, add a page name in the Page Name field, then select the Load in a new tab option. 

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  1. Click the Add Item button to save your link. 
  2. Click the circle with a line through it to publish the link in your module. 

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  1. Click your link to test it. A page will load, warning the user that a new browser/tab will load with the link. 
  2. Click the link to open the content in a new window/tab.

Option 2 - Add content to the Canvas rich content editor

  1. Open and log in to the UW-Madison instance of Canvas: https://canvas.wisc.edu and access your Canvas course. 
  2. Go to any Canvas item in which you can use the Canvas rich content editor: a Page, Quiz, Discussion, or Announcement, for example. 
  3. Click the Edit button (typically in the right margin of what you're trying to edit).
  4. In the rich content editor, highlight the text that you want to use to link to your content in Google Drive, or add new text and highlight it. 
  5. Click the Link to URL icon at the top of the rich content editor (chain link icon). A "Link to Website URL" window opens. 
  6. Paste the content link URL you copied from Google Drive into the URL/link field.


  7. Click the Insert Link button.
  8. Click Save to save your text entry and your content link. When you view your new content, clicking on the linked text should open your Google Drive content in a new tab.