Adding Google Drive Files / Documents to Canvas

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


Files/documents are stored in Google.

Can be edited from Google and will update in Canvas

Add Word documents, Google Docs, PDFs

  • Create in Word and upload to Google Docs. Any editing in Word and resaved with same name/file type
  • Create in Word and save/convert to PDF. Any editing in Word, resaved to PDF and uploaded to Google Docs


Canvas - Module
In this example I’m creating a Module in Canvas that ‘house’ the Google docs files


Now adding files from Google Drive to Canvas using + (Item)

I want to:

  • 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 Toolsicon (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 right-hand side of this page.

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.

If you want to show a folder from Google Drive in your Canvas course, you can use an iframe to accomplish this. Using the iframe method will result in you going into the HTML Editor.

First, get the public URL of the folder, you will need to set your folders permissions to Anyone at Lawrence Technological Univerity with this link. To do this:

  • Right-click the folder
  • Click Share...
  • Click Advanced down at the right-hand corner
  • Where is says Who has access and below that Specific people can access, click the Change... button
  • Select the middle bubble On - Anyone at Lawrence Technological Univerity with the link Anyone at Lawrence Technological Univerity with the link can access.
  • Click Save and then Done

The folder link might look like this (not an actual link). That last bit is the folder ID: unX9VBU8x9m66rJdZv.

The iframe HTML code is:

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.

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 Pagein Canvas by:

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