Canvas @ YaleInstructor Guides FAQWhat is the "Hidden Files" folder in my Files area?

What is the "Hidden Files" folder in my Files area?

The Hidden Files folder is a folder pre-created for you in your Canvas course site's Files area.  The Hidden Files folder has the default visibility permission (only available to students with link) which prevents students from seeing the folder or the files contained within the folder when they navigation to the Files area in your course.

The Hidden Files folder can be used to store sensitive files that you do not want students to be able to access.  However, anywhere in your course where you see the Content Selector Panel, you can insert links to files contained within your Hidden Files folder and students will be able to use these links to view and access your file.

NOTE:  Anyone with the role of Instructor, Guest Instructor, TA, and Course Designer in your Canvas course site will be able to see the Hidden Files folder and its contents.

Who has access to my course site's Hidden Files folder?

Users enrolled in your course who can access:

Any user enrolled in your Canvas course site with one of the following roles will be able to view and access the Hidden Files folder and its contents:

  • Instructor
  • Guest Instructor
  • Teacher
  • TA
  • Grader
  • ULA
  • Librarian
  • Accessibility Support
  • Course Designer

Users enrolled in your course who cannot access:

Any user enrolled in your Canvas course site with one of the following roles will NOT be able to view and access the Hidden Files folder and its contents:

  • Student
  • Guest Student
  • Shopper
  • Auditor
  • Viewer
  • Observer

What types of files should go in the Hidden Files folder?

By default, the Files area is available to students and files that you upload to the Files area are Published and visible to students.  The Hidden Files folder, however, has special visibility permissions set on it so that files stored within this folder are not visible to students by default.  This permission, only available to student with link, prevents the students from seeing the Hidden Files folder (and contents of the Hidden Files folder) when the student navigates directly to the Files area of your course.

Types of files you might store in your Hidden Files folder include (but are not limited to):

  • Homework assignment files
  • Images/charts/graphs used in graded activities
  • Homework/Quiz answer keys
  • Old lecture notes

NOTE:  Not all files belong in the Files area of your course.  For example, audio and video files should go in your course site's Media Library tool and copyrighted materials should go in Course Reserves.  Check out our help article on Best Practices for File Storage.


How to I add/upload files to my Hidden Files folder?

You can upload files to your Hidden Files folder the same way that you normally upload files to the Files area.

Uploading directly to the Files

Before you begin these steps, make sure that you first go to the Files area and open the Hidden Files folder.


Uploading through the Content Selector Panel

When you are creating content in your Canvas course, you can upload content to your Files area right through the Content Selector Panel.



Can I delete the Hidden Files folder?

You can delete the Hidden Files folder, but we recommend that you leave it so that you always have a place to keep sensitive files you do not want students to access.