A&S Learning Design & Technology Knowledge Base

Sharing Microsoft OneDrive Files Without Breaking Links

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Files shared from OneDrive to a Canvas course generate course-specific copies that are not linked to your original file and will not sync to the original file. These copies will not update if you make changes to your original document.

If you want to share a OneDrive file but retain the links to your original document, such that updates will continue to sync, use the External URL feature in Modules OR the External Link function in any Rich Content Editor in Canvas to share your files.

Using External URL in MODULES

In your OneDrive File

  1. Open the Share settings in your file (File → Share → Share with People → Shareable Link).
A screenshot of the OneDrive File options with the option for Share highlighted.
Screenshot of Share options with Share with People selected.
  1. Set to People in University of Virginia with the link (1) and disallow editing (2) if you want students to VIEW your documents but not edit. You can also block download (3) if preferred (may not fully stop students from downloading/copy-pasting content). Select Apply (4) → Copy Link.
Screenshot of Link Settings options with a 1 next to People in University of Virginia with the link, a 2 next to Allow editing, a 3 next to Block download, and a 4 above the Apply button.

In Canvas

  1. Create your module by clicking the + Module icon
  2. Select the Add Item button and choose External URL (learn more about External URLs in Canvas Modules)
A checkmark is in a green circle and is next to a plus sumbol that has a red circle around it.
  1. Paste your OneDrive file link into the "URL" (1) text field and enter a page name (2). Select the checkbox next to Load in a new tab (3). Adjust indentation as needed (4).
Screenshot of Add Item to Week 1 page in Canvas, where the number 1 is next to the URL field, 2 is next to Page Name, 3 is next to Load in a new tab, and 4 is next to the Indentation field.
  1. Select Add Item. Publish when ready.

Suggestion: In Canvas, add a Text Header above your link and be sure to give it a meaningful title. Both of those actions provide context for students.

  1. Open the Rich Content Editor (available on a Page, Discussion, etc).
Screenshot of the rich content editor in Canvas.
  1. Click the link icon and select External Links (Learn more about External Links in Canvas).
A screenshot showing chain link icon selected. Underneath it a dropdown menu displays the text "External Links", which is highlighted in dark blue, followed by "Course Links".
  1. Paste your link from OneDrive into the Link field and enter the text that will appear in place of the URL.  It will appear as a link, which by default, will open in a new tab.


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