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 users to have access to, but prevented from downloading, you will need to store your files in a third-party cloud storage tool like Google Drive or Box, and implement the security features available in your chosen tool to prevent downloads.
The methods described in this article to prevent file downloads are not guaranteed to prevent users from acquiring a copy of your file. Users may still be able to use third-party tools to access, print, screenshot, and / or download your file.
Table of Contents
This article will address the following information:
Google Drive (EliApps)
EliApps (Google Apps for Education) is a files storage solution 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.
Accessing and Uploading Files on Google Drive (EliApps)
- Log into your EliApps Google Drive or your personal Google Drive account.
- Once you are logged into Google Drive, upload your file.
- OPTIONAL: First create a folder to hold your protected file.
Modifying Your File Settings in Google Drive (EliApps)
- Once your file is uploaded, right click on your file and select "Share."
- In the upper pop-up box that appears, click the Settings (gear) icon.
- Deselect the option for "Viewers and commenters can see the option to download, print, and copy."
- Click the back arrow to go back a level.
- Back on the main settings area, in the bottom pop-up box, select the link that says "Change link to Yale University."
- Change who has access to the link by clicking on the drop down with user options. Select the appropriate option for your level of access:
- Restricted - limited to people you specifically add by including their email address in the list of users who can access the file.
- Yale University - limited to anyone with a Yale NetID EliApps account.
- Anyone with the link - anyone who has access to the link will be able to view the file.
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.
- Change the level of access for the link by clicking on the drop down with access type and select "Viewer."
- Once you have the settings set up appropriately, click the "Copy Link" button.
- Click the "Done" button 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 will 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.
Accessing and Uploading Files on Box @ Yale
- Log into Box @ Yale
- Once you are logged into Box, you can upload your file via the Upload button or by dragging and dropping files onto the page.
- OPTIONAL: First create a folder to hold your protected file.
Modifying Your File Settings in Box @ Yale
- Once your file is uploaded, hover your mouse over the file to see some additional options.
- Click the "Share" button.
- In the pop-up box, move the "Share Link" toggle to the On position.
- Just under the link, click the view permissions drop down menu.
- Select "Can view only."
- Once you have that set, click the "Link Settings" button.
- In the link settings pop-up box make sure that the option for "Allow Download" is not selected.
- Click the "Save" button.
You can further protect your files by having your link disabled on a specific date via the "Link Expiration" option.
To set this, check the "Link Expiration" box and then use the calendar that opens to select the date when the link should expire.
- 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 the who has access to the link drop down menu. 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. 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.
- This option will work for both Yale and non-Yale users. You can password-protect the file with a custom password through the "Share Link Settings" for additional protection.
- People in your company - anyone at Yale who has a NetID and has access to the link can click on it. They will need to use their NetID to log into Box to view the file.
- Once you are back on the main pop-up, click the "Copy" button to copy the URL for your file.
- Click the X to close the original pop-up.
Adding your File Link to Your Canvas Course
Once you have the link to your file, you can add that link anywhere 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.
- Log into Canvas and go to your course site.
- Navigate to the tool / activity where you want to place your file link.
- Open the tool / activity in "Edit" view so you can see the Rich Content Editor.
- In the Rich Content Editor, type out the text that you want users to click on to open your file, and then highlight the text.
- In the toolbar, click the hyperlink button.
- In the pop-up, paste the protected share link URL that you got from Google Drive/Box into the "Link" box and then click "Done."
- When you are returned to the Rich Content Editor, you should see that your text is now a hyperlink (blue font).
- Click "Save and Publish" to make your tool / activity available to students.
Other useful help articles:
- How do I create a hyperlink in the Rich Content Editor as an instructor?
- How do I add an external URL as a module item?
- Adobe Acrobat Pro security features for PDF files
- Embedding Box (Cloud Storage) into a Canvas Course
For more assistance, please email [email protected]. For assistance with Box @ Yale or Google Drive (EliApps), please reach out to ITS.