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@Faculty Quick Start: Canvas Basics

Importing courses and copying content

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Canvas' Course Import Tool makes it easy to extract course content, assignments, and quizzes from previous terms and quickly import them into existing courses. The same tool is used to import course materials from different Learning Management Systems. Some limitations apply to course imports.

Note: Importing courses and course files count against course file quotas. However, copying existing Canvas courses and course files reference the original Canvas course file quota and do not count against course file quotas. Learn about copying Canvas courses and course items.

When to use the Course Import tool

Accessed from the Course Settings sidebar, use the Course Import Tool to:

  • Copy course content from term to term, including Announcements and Discussions. You can adjust the events and due dates to coordinate with your current term.
  • Select migrations content to select specific content you want copied. You can select individual Assignments, Pages, Files, and anything else from previous courses you or your colleagues have taught. The Course Import Tool supports keyboard navigation when selecting content to import.
  • Import course materials from different Learning Management Systems. The Course Import Tool does not import user content.
  • Note: Importing a course more than once may have unintended consequences. If you import content into a new course, edit the content in the new course, and later import the previous content again, the imported content will override the existing content.

Course import demonstration

Using the new "copy to" content command

Canvas now offers a feature that allows you to copy a course item directly to another course you teach, without going through the course import process!

The feature is called "Copy to" and appears in the 3-dot context menu of announcements, assignments, discussions, module items, entire modules, and quizzes.

When you plan to copy module content like embedded files and external URLs, you will need to copy the entire module that contains them.

The "Copy to" feature works in the same way for each item: view below  the reproduced Canvas guides page on copying a Module:

As an instructor, you can copy a module in a course directly into another course in which you are enrolled. You can also send a module to other instructors at your institution as well as copy individual module items to other courses. When you copy a module, any assets within that module (images, files, etc.) will be included in your module copy.


  • To share course content, you must have the Course Content - add / edit / delete permission enabled.
  • Shared content does not count against course or user quotas.
  • If you copy the same module to the same course more than once, the module you previously copied will be overwritten with the newly copied module.
Open Modules
Open Modules

In Course Navigation, click the Modules link.

Open Module Options
Open Module Options

Locate the module you wish to copy and click the Options icon [1]. Select the Copy To... option [2].

Select Course
Select Course

Enter the course code or course name in the Select a Course field [1]. Then select the course into which you want to copy the module [2].

Copy Module
Copy Module

Click the Copy button.

View Copy Notification
View Copy Notification

Canvas displays a notification when a module copies successfully [1].

When finished, click the Close icon [2] or the Close button [3].

View Copied Module
View Copied Module

The copied module displays on the Modules Index Page for the course into which it copied.