Adding Google Drive Files / Documents to Canvas

Use Google Apps and Google Drive to create, store, share, and add files/documents in your Canvas course that students can access.

Why? Files/documents can be created using Google Apps (Docs, Slides, and Sheets), edited, stored in Google Drive. (LTU has unlimited storage)
Google Apps / Drive is integrated right from within Canvas. Files and documents can be available and shared in Canvas. Does not count against your Canvas storage quota.

How? Create using Google Apps or Word, PDF, or PowerPoint and upload to Google Docs. Edit/revise the original document in Word, PowerPoint or PDF, right-click the document name in Google, select Manage Versions, Upload New Version
and the links within Canvas course remain the same and display the updated version 


Adding a Canvas  Module
Log into Canvas, access Modules. Create a Module heading called "Google Drive Documents" that will ‘link to’ the files in the Google folder


Add links to Canvas using + (Item)
Select Add External Tool, Google Drive, select Google folder and highlight file, and click Submit, Add Item

  • Upload a Word document to a Google Drive folder for the Canvas course that you can then link in Canvas
  • Keep it in Word Format (filename.docx)
  • Make sure you can revise in Word, upload the replaced (filename_revised_docx) to the Google Drive folder and not break link in Canvas


  1. Upload the original Word document into the Google Drive folder that you are using for Canvas Course 
    • Do not convert to Google Doc format (since you want to keep it as a Word document)
    • Add the link from Google using the Rich Text Editor, select External Tools icon (the upside down ^)
    • Select Google Apps, find document from Google Drive (example below) - link adds to Canvas -- Using Canvas Course Copy Word.docx


  1. When you make your revisions in Word, save the revised file (e.g., new file =Using Canvas Course Copy Word_Revised.docx . Now, you going to upload this revised file to the Google Drive folder.
    • Open Google Drive folder
    • Find the Word document and right-click file name for menu options
    • Click "Manage Versions"
    • Select Upload New Version
    • Select the "revised" document from your computer (Using Canvas Course Copy Word_Revised.docx 

Even though the Word document maintains the original name, you can always see all the version information in Google Drive by right-clicking the document name and selecting version AND the link in Canvas does not break - the original name remains but the document is the revised one 

When users click the link in Canvas (Using Canvas Course Copy Word.docx) they see Using Canvas Course Copy Word_Revised.docx  document

Within the Rich Content Editor (RCE)

To find the Google Drive access it is the 9th icon from the left, the one that is a down arrow. Click that and then a dropdown menu will show, within it is Google Apps (Google Drive).


Once you click on the button you will get a pop-up window as shown below. If you have not authorized Canvas to access your Google Drive account it will ask you to do so here. If you have allowed Canvas to authorized your Google Drive it will display you folders first and then your unfoldered files.


With this you can only link or embed files NOT folders.

If you wish to link a folder you will need to go to Google Drive site change the permission of the folder you wish to share to Anyone at LTU with this link can view, get the shareable link and paste into a page, assignment, discussion, anywhere there is the Rich Content Editor. If you want to embed the folder see the next accordion tab below this one.

Within Modules

  • click the '+' in the Module you want you the file to be added too.
  • Then from the drop-down select External Tool and look for Google Drive.
  • Click that and it'll bring up the same image as above but instead of Embed and Link at the bottom it'll say Submit
  • Choose your file and click submit.

Adding a folder will be in a similar way but instead of External Tool you'll use External URL and go to Google Drive site change the permission of the folder you wish to share to Anyone at LTU with this link can view, get the shareable link and paste into the sectioned for URL.

Creating the folder in Google Drive
Once  folder is created in Google Drive, files added to folder, and permissions are set, now ready to incorporate and link the Google Drive Folder in Canvas.

Google Drive URL:
To embed this Drive folder within Canvas, you will need to extract the folder extension.

  • Open the folder that you want to use in Canvas
  • You will see the “ address” of the folder in the menu area

Highlight and copy to clipboard the text following /folders/172OPjI-zwa3fWL6nexsP-4i6Gj-hqsii


Method 1: HTML Code

List view

< iframe width="700" height="500" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe >
This will show a list of files and folders within the folder you selected.


Grid view

< iframe width="700" height="500" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe >
Just make sure the folder is accessible to view, so check your folder permission within Google Drive, see above to view steps on how to do this.


To show a grid view (preview thumbnails of the files and folders), you simply alter the URL and change #list with #grid.

To quickly get the iframe code you can use this link:
Jacob Standish on the Canvas Community page created this page,,  (Links to an external site.)to help faculty get the iframe code.

Once you have you code all set you will then copy and paste it into a Page in Canvas by:

  • Clicking Edit
  • Clicking HTML Editor
  • Pasting the iframe code into the text box
  • Save

Method 2: Design Tools

Add Drive Folder to Canvas Course

  • Log into a Canvas Course and select Modules, create +New (Module), type in a name. Going to add a page in this module by clicking on the + to the right of the module
  • Click down arrow and select Page from the list. Highlight/select New Page and type in a name to the right of Page Name. Click Add Item
  • Once page opens, select +Edit. Need to add the HTML link to the Google folder in Edit mode.

Canvas Course

    • Select+Edit
    • Open Design Tools(Rocket Ship appears at top right)
  • Click “Add Advanced Elements” and HTML Snippets. Select Institutional Snippets, Google Drive Folder (List or Gird Views)
  • Scroll up and click on Customize Style. Select Style iframes
  • When Iframes open you will see the HTML code in the box under Source
  • Click within this box and move cursor over until you see “YOURID”. Highlight only YOURID and replace with the folder address you copies earlier (see above picture. 172OPjI-zwa3fWL6nexsP-4i6Gj-hqsii). You may or may not see immediately, but once added.

Scroll down on the page and click Save

There are two ways to turn on screen reader support:

One: Turning it on through your Google Account

  1. Go to your Google Account
  • Click on your icon and then Google Account
  • or
  • through the Google Apps icon and select Google Account
  1. Click on Data and Personalization
  2. Scroll to the bottom and select Accessibility
  3. Click the slider next to Screen Reader to turn on, it should change from white to blue
    Note: If it is blue already then it is already on

Two: When you make a Google Doc you need to turn on Docs screen reader support:

  1. Go to Google Docs and open a document. 
  2. In the Tools menu, select Accessibility settings
  3. Select Turn on screen reader support.

Don’t type fast enough, or would you just rather “talk” your thoughts through on a document? Really need to check out Google Docs “Voice Typing” add in!

Unlike commercial products that you spend $$$ for – Google Docs provide you with a way to talk your way through and create a reasonable document that transcribes your speech onto a typed document. Yes, you will still need to edit, but you would do that if (like me) you have to correct your typing errors!

What do I need to use Voice Typing?

  • Be able to access Google Apps through your LTU Google mail account
  • Have a microphone (headset or computer) that you can use

What can Voice Typing do? 

It transcribes your voice to text. To get the most out of it, speak slowly and enunciate your words. Voice Typing does recognize common punctuation such as:

  • To add a period at the end of a sentence, say PERIOD
  • To add a comma, say COMMA
  • To add an exclamation point, say EXCLAMATION POINT
  • To add (move to) a new line, say NEW LINE
  • To add (move to) a new paragraph, say NEW PARAGRAPH

Other Voice Commands you can use:

You can use commands to edit and format your document. For example, "Select paragraph," "italics," or "Go to the end of the line."

  • To select text, say SELECT [word, or phrase], or SELECT ALL, or SELECT LAST [number of words]
  • To unselect, say UNSELECT

Can I format the document using Voice Typing?

Yes, you can apply headings, add highlighting, add columns.

For a more detailed listing and instructions, here is the link to Google Docs Help webpage

Oh, yes, I used Voice Typing for this document (except for adding the link to the webpage) and the instructional steps below!

Get Started

  • From Google Apps, select Google Docs
  • Start a new document
  • Select Tools, Voice Typing from the Menu bar
  • Allow Google Docs to use your microphone and then select “click to speak”

Try it out!!



Any edits that you do in Google will flow to the Canvas module

*Optional: Copying the Canvas Course Module to Other Sections/Courses

  • Open the course you want to add the page to
  • Select Settings from Navigation
  • Select Import Content
  • Select Copy a Canvas Course from Select
  • Type in or select the course, select Specific Content to the right of Content
  • Select Import. When completed, click on the Select Content
  • Expand the Modules, select the specific Module want to import
  • Click Select Content

Wrapping Up! Things that you need to remember / communicate

    • Make sure you Publish both the module and the item
  • Permissions only allow for Anyone at Lawrence Tech with link can view, so If students cannot see the files
  • They must be LOGGED INTO THEIR LTU ACCOUNT in the browser they are using! 
  • If using Firefox, open a new tab, log into their LTU email account in Firefox and then should be able to view files

If using Chrome, log into their LTU email account in Chrome