Google Drive and Canvas

The Google Drive integration brings your files directly into your Canvas workflows, including organizing your Google Drive files, creating and grading assignments, and initiating collaborations using your Google Drive files.


  • You can only view one Google Drive account at a time in Canvas. Make sure you are logged into your TWU Webmail (Google Mail) account. 
  • If you are already logged into a Google account, Canvas will use that Google account to authorize Google Drive access. You want to authenticate using your TWU Webmail (Google Mail) account, you must log out of any other Google account and sign into your TWU Webmail (Google Mail) account.
  • The location where you access your Google account may affect your access to Canvas. If you successfully authenticate with your account at your institution, you may have to reauthenticate when you log in to Canvas at home.
  • Currently, Google Drive files cannot be accessed from course or personal files in Canvas. They can only be accessed from the Google Drive link in the Course Navigation Menu.

View and Edit Google Drive Files in Course Navigation

Files stored in Google Drive can be viewed through the Google Drive link when enabled in your Course Navigation. Files in Google Drive are your personal files and only visible to you, unless shared through other methods such as linked documents in an announcement, module, or assignment. Review How do I view my Google Drive files in Canvas as an Instructor?

Embed a File from Google Drive

You can create a document, slide presentation, or spreadsheet using Google Drive and then embed that document anywhere you can use the Rich Content Editor in Canvas. The Rich Content Editor is used in features that support the editor (Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, Pages, Quizzes, or Syllabus). When embedded, Google slide presentations default to presentation mode. For embedded files, any time you edit the Google file, it will be automatically updated in Canvas. Review How do I create a hyperlink or embed a file from Google Drive into the Rich Content Editor as an instructor?

Create a Google Drive Collaboration with Groups

You can use Google Drive to create a collaboration with a Google Document, Spreadsheet, or Presentation. You can select individual users, groups, or both as part of a collaboration. Google Docs allows you to add up to 50 users per collaboration, and all users can view and edit a document at the same time. However, a Google file may be shared with up to 200 email addresses including viewers, commenters, and editors. Review the following documents:

  1. How do I create a Google Drive collaboration as an instructor?
    • Note: From your course click Collaborations and select Google Apps to allow the use of spreadsheets and presentations.
  2. How do I delete a collaboration as an instructor?

Create and Grade an Assignment with a Google Drive File

You can create an online assignment that embeds a document directly from your Google Drive folder into Canvas. Accepted assignment types are Google Documents, Spreadsheets, and Slides. Please note that in cloud assignments, Google Slide presentations are not displayed in presentation mode.

When students open the assignment, Google Drive will create a copy of the file as the student’s submission. Students can make changes per the assignment instructions directly from the Canvas assignment page. When they are ready to submit the assignment, they can submit the assignment. The copied document is also added to the student’s Google Drive folder for the course.

You can also view each student's document copy in SpeedGrader for grading. Submitted assignments are converted to a PDF to show the assignment at the time of submission. If students made any changes to their assignment, they will have to resubmit it for the changes to be visible in SpeedGrader. Review the following documents:

  1. How do I create a cloud assignment with a Google Drive file?
    • Note: You need to build a rubric before the creation of an assignment if you are using one; the recommendation is to create a blank assignment, attach the rubric, then edit the assignment.
  2. Grade a Google Doc using SpeedGrader

There are currently a few limitations when creating assignments:

  • You cannot use Google Drive files in an external tool for group assignments.
  • If you want to use a Canvas rubric for the assignment, you must add the rubric before setting the External Tool submission type. Create the assignment with any other submission type, save the assignment, add the rubric, and then edit the assignment to select the External Tool. Review How do I add a rubric to an assignment?
  • If you want your assignment to be moderated, you must set up the moderated assignment before setting the External Tool submission type. If you need to return to the moderate page after the External Tool is added, open the assignment and add /moderate after the assignment URL. Review How do I add a moderated assignment to be graded by multiple reviewers?

Support Options

  1. Contact an Instructional Design Partner to design learning activities for students, training to use Google Drive features, or talk about effective ways to interact with students using Collaborations in your Canvas courses. 
  2. To request technical support, submit a Technology Service Desk email to start a ticket. 
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Article ID: 46025
Tue 1/9/18 1:58 PM
Tue 8/1/23 1:09 PM

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