Get Started with the New Rich Content Editor

The Rich Content Editor (RCE) is the interface that allows you to add text, multimedia, links and more when creating various pages on Canvas (including Assignment instructions, the Syllabus page, Discussion Boards, etc.) In January 2021, Canvas updated to a new version of the RCE. This resource provides an orientation to the new RCE’s layout and the location of commonly used features. It also identifies some steps you can take within the RCE to make your Canvas course accessible to all your students.  

The new Rich Content Editor provides access to the same tools as before, but it now provides a text menu option in addition to a revised version of the icon toolbar.

New Rich Content Editor

Creating External and Course Links 

You can insert a link into the page by navigating to “Insert” dropdown menu and selecting “Link”  [1] or by selecting the chain icon on the toolbar [2]. You will be prompted to insert “External Links” or “Course Links.” 

Selecting “Course Links,” brings up the new version of the insert menu that was always previously viewable on the right-hand side of your screen and allows you to select the location in your Canvas course (the page, assignment, or module, etc.) that you would like to link to.

Insert link from menuinsert link from chain icon

Add menu

Creating Document Links

If you need to create a link to a document, you can do so by navigating to the “Document” option in the “Insert” dropdown menu [1] or the document icon [2]. From either of those locations, you can select:

  • Upload Document” if the document is not yet saved in Canvas (Note: When uploading files directly in the RCE, you can no longer select the folder where you would like the file to upload. If you want to organize your files, you must first go to the Files area of Canvas to upload the document to the correct place.)
  • Course Documents” to choose a file that has already been uploaded to the course Files
  • User Documents” to choose a file that you have uploaded to your personal Files area in Canvas 

Insert document from menu.Insert document from document icon.

Editing Links 

To edit a link, click on the link to highlight it and then navigate to insert link in the dropdown menu [1] or the chain icon [2] and select to edit or remove the link. If you want to edit a course link you will have to select “remove link” and then add the correct link. 

Edit link from insert menuEdit link from chain icon

Accessing Panopto and Other Tools

You can embed Panopto videos into the Rich Content Editor by clicking directly on the Panopto icon in the toolbar [1]. 

Insert Panopto video from Panopto icon

You can access all the available third-party tools (Panopto, YouTube, Twitter, Google Charts, etc.) by navigating to the “Tools” dropdown menu and the “Apps” option [1] or by selecting the “plug-in” icon on the toolbar [2].

Access apps through Tools menuAccess apps from plug icon

Please note: 

  • If you select the dual-sided arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, you’ll end up in fullscreen mode. Select “esc” (escape) on your keyboard to return to standard view. 
  • If you run into any trouble accessing the New Rich Content Editor, you can begin troubleshooting by verifying that you are using a supported browser

Further information on the New Rich Content Editor can be found in the New Rich Content Editor Chapter on the Instructure website. 

Creating Accessible Content 

When using the Rich Content Editor, there are a few steps you can take to create more accessible content. While these steps may be necessary to provide particular students with the accommodations they need — with support from the Disability Services Office or Connors Family Learning Center for those students and instructors — they can also make it easier for all students to access learning materials.

  • Headings: Using the headings under the format menu of the content editor allows those who are engaging with a content through a screen reader to recognize hierarchical organization of content and quickly browse through section headers.
  • Descriptive links: Creating hyperlinks that briefly describe the linked material makes it easier for those who use screen readers to scan links. You can find more information on writing descriptive link text from Michigan Tech University.
  • Alt text for images: Those who use screen readers also benefit from alternative text, or “alt text” associated with pictures. Alt text provides a brief description of the image that makes it possible for all students to engage with visual content. You can find more information about including alt text in the Rich Content Editor from Canvas and guidance on writing alt text from Penn State.
  • Video captioning: Captions can make audio and video content more accessible to students who have hearing impairments and students who speak English as a second language, and having a choice between listening to audio or reading captions can be convenient for anyone. Canvas allows users to caption videos created in Canvas and caption external (e.g. YouTube) videos.