Getting Started with the Semester

Adding your syllabus

Adding the course syllabus to the Canvas Syllabus tool makes it much easier for students to find – especially since the Syllabus tool is the default home page for the course!


If you are not using a separate course home page, and your syllabus is a Word doc or PDF, please be mobile-friendly and also add some basic course information directly into the top of the Syllabus tool. You’ll want to include:

  1. The full course name and number, as the course name abbreviations aren’t always clear.
  2. Course meeting time(s) and location, so students know where they are going and when they need to be there. If it is an online course, let them know if there is any sort of live videoconference orientation.
  3. Your name and contact information in case they have questions before the first day of class.
  4. Textbook information or a note that the course is using an eText through IU eTexts.
  5. Anything else students need to do prior to the first class meeting.

Before adding your syllabus to Canvas, please take time to check it for accessibility. There is a short Canvas course titled Creating an Accessible Syllabus using Microsoft Word that will walk you through the process.

To add your information, and link your full syllabus document (normally in PDF or Word format):

  1. Go to the Syllabus tool, click the “Edit” button at the top right, and click in the text box that appears.
  2. If needed, add the information listed above.
  3. To add a link to your syllabus document, see the Canvas Guide How do I upload a PDF to a page? and scroll down to “Insert PDF Link”. Note that these instructions are the same for all file types, not just PDFs.
  4. If your syllabus file does not have a clear and meaningful name, you can change the linked text to be clearer.
    1. Click anywhere in the linked text and click Link Options when it appears above your cursor.
    2. Change the text in the Text field to something meaningful such as “X123, Creating Cat Memes, Spring 2021 Syllabus” and click “Done”
  5. Finally, you can set the link to automatically show a preview of the syllabus file so that students can view the syllabus without having to download it. To do this,
    1. Click anywhere in the linked text and click Link Options when it appears above your cursor.
    2. Check the box next to “Automatically open an in-line preview.” and click “Done.”
  6. Click “Update Syllabus.”

Now, after refreshing the page, you will see your basic information, followed by a preview of your full syllabus. The preview will take a few moments to appear the first time you load it.

Questions? Talk to your campus teaching and learning center!

Click “Next” below at the bottom right to continue.


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