Canvas @ YaleInstructor Guides Files ManagementHow do I prevent a file from being downloaded using Google Drive (EliApps) or Box?

How do I prevent a file from being downloaded using Google Drive (EliApps) or Box?

The methods described in this article to prevent file downloads are not fool-proof.  Users may still be able to use 3rd party tools to access, print, screenshot, and/or download your file.

In Canvas, all files stored in the Files area of the course are able to be downloaded by users enrolled in your course.  If you have a file that you want to prevent users from downloading, you will need to store your files in a third party tool like Google Drive or Box and implement the security features available in your chosen tool to prevent downloads.  Click on the tool you would like to use below for additional instructions.

Google Drive (EliApps)

EliApps (Google Apps for Education) is a files storage solutions that is available to Yale EliApps account holders.  If you do not have an EliApps account, you can request a no-email EliApps account on ITS's Get Help page.  You can also use a personal Google account if desired.

Access your Google (EliApps) Drive & Upload File

  1. Log into EliApps Google Drive or your personal Google Drive account.
  2. Once you are logged into Google Drive, upload your file.
    1. OPTIONAL:  Create a folder to hold your protected file
    2. Then, upload your file by clicking on the New Button or by dragging and dropping files onto the page.

Modify your files settings in Google Drive (EliApps)

  1. Once your file is uploaded, right click on your file and select Share [1].
  1. In the pop-up you will see 2 boxes.  In the upper box, click the Settings (gear) icon [2].
  1. Deselect the option for Viewers and Commenters can see the option to download, print, and copy [3].
  2. Click the back arrow [4] to go back a level.
  1. Back on the main settings area, in the bottom box, select the link that says Change link to Yale University [5].
  1. Change who has access to the link by clicking on the drop down with user options [6]. Select the appropriate option for you (see note below):
    1. Restricted - limited to people you specifically add by including their email address in the list of users who can access the file.
    2. Yale University - limited to anyone with a Yale NetID EliApps account.
    3. Anyone with the link - anyone who has access to the link will be able to open the file.

NOTE:  If you have any users in your course who are non-Yale users (they do not have a Yale NetID) OR users that you suspect are not EliApps account holders, you will need to select the Anyone with link option or use the Restricted option and add their email address to the list of people who can access.

  1. Change the level of access for the link by clicking on the drop down with access type and select Viewer [7].
  2. Once you have the settings set up appropriately, click the Copy Link button [8].
  3. Click the Done button [9] to save and close the sharing options.
Box @ Yale

Box @ Yale is a file storage solution that is available to all faculty, staff, and students.  If you are sharing HIPAA protected content, you may need to use the Secure Box @ Yale solution instead.  For more information about Box @ Yale and Secure Box @ Yale, please check out the Box @ Yale ITS help articles.

Access your Box drive & Upload File

  1. Log into Box @ Yale
  2. Once you are logged into Box, you upload your file.  
    1. OPTIONAL:  Create a folder to hold your protected file
    2. Then, upload your file via the Upload button - or by dragging and dropping files onto the page.

Modify your file's settings in Box

  1. Once your file is uploaded, hover your mouse over the file to see some additional options.
  2. Click the Share button [1].
  1. In the pop-up, move the Share Link toggle [2] to the on position.
  2. Just under the link, click the view permissions drop down menu [3] and select Can view only [4].
  3. Once you have that set, click the Link Settings button [5].
Adjust the settings to turn on the Share Link and set so that users can only view
  1. In the link settings pop-up make sure that the option for Allow Download [6] is un-selected.
  2. Click the Save button [7].

TIP:  You can further protect also have the ability to automatically disable your link on a specific date via the Link Expiration option.  To set, select the Disable Shared Link on option and then use the calendar to set the date when the link should expire.

For the Shared Link Settings, turn off the ability to download and then save your changes.

NOTE:  If you have any users in your course who are non-Yale users (they do not have a Yale NetID), you will also need to modify who has access to the link [8].  Below are brief descriptions of your options:

  • People in your company - anyone at Yale who has a NetID and has access to the link can click on it and they will need to use their NetID to log into Box to view the file.  This option will work for Yale users but will not work for non-Yale users.
  • Invited people only - only people that you have specifically granted access (in the Invite People box) will be able to access the file.  These users will need to have a Box account, but it does not need to be a Yale Box account.  This option will work for both Yale and non-Yale users, but the non-Yale users will need to create a personal Box account before they can access the file.
  • People with the link - anyone who has access to the link can click on it and view it - these people will not need a NetID to log into Box to view your file.  (With this option, you can password-protect the file with a custom password through the Share Link Settings for additional protection.)  This option will work for both Yale and non-Yale users.
You may need to change who has access to your file if you have non-NetID users in your course.
  1. Once you are back on the main pop-up, click the Copy button [9] to copy the URL for your file.
  2. Click the X [10] to close the original pop-up.
Copy the URL link and close the pop-up

Once you have your file link, you can add that link anywhere in your course where you can add content via the Rich Content Editor (e.g. Syllabus, Assignments, Pages, Discussions, Quizzes, or Announcements) or you can add it as an external URL link in a Module.  

  1. Log into Canvas and go to your course site.
  2. Navigate to the tool/activity where you want to place your file link.
  3. Open the tool/activity in edit view so you can see the Rich Content Editor.
Rich content editor
  1. In the Rich Content Editor, type in the text [1] that you want users to click on to open your file.
  2. Highlight your typed link text [1].
  3. In the toolbar, click the hyperlink button [2].
  1. In the pop-up, paste the protected share link URL that you got from Google Drive/Box into the URL box [3] and then click Insert Link [4].
  1. When you are returned to the Rich Content Editor, you should see that your text is now a hyperlink (blue font).  Save/Save and Publish your tool/activity.