Canvas: Supported Document Types


This article describes the Canvas DocViewer as well as supported document types in Canvas.


Task: This article describes supported file types in Canvas and the Canvas DocViewer.


Supported File Types

Click on the following link to see a full list of updated file types supported by Canvas:  What types of files can be previewed in Canvas?


  • HTML located within a text file (.txt) cannot be previewed or annotated in DocViewer and must be downloaded to view the content.
  • Audio located within Powerpoint files (.ppt/.pptx) cannot be previewed in DocViewer and must be downloaded to view the content.
  • In the Canvas Teacher and Canvas Student apps, OpenDocument files (.ods/.odt) cannot be previewed in DocViewer. However, if the user has a third party app installed on the device, they can use that app to view OpenDocument formats.


What is the DocViewer?

Canvas DocViewer is a tool that allows annotations on online assignment submissions in Canvas. You can use DocViewer to view files and assignments in SpeedGrader. You can view when students view annotated feedback in the assignment details section of the sidebar.

DocViewer has a 10-hour session limit that begins when you open a submission. If you start to make an annotation but do not submit it before the session expires, the annotation will not be saved. Submitted annotations are saved and are not affected by the session limit. Canvas will display a session expiration warning at 9 hours 50 minutes, followed by a 5-minute and 1-minute warning until the 10-hour limit has been reached. You can restart a DocViewer session at any time by refreshing the submission page.

File types that are not supported can still be uploaded, but there will be no preview available on the site. The file will have to be downloaded and viewed in the correct program.

For Example:  The .pages file type from a Mac will be uploaded, but will have no preview option. If downloaded and extracted on a Mac it will open in Pages, but if downloaded on Windows it will not open, as the .pages file type is not supported on Windows.

The best practice for unsupported types is to save the file initially as .doc or .pdf or another cross platform supported file type.


Users will understand the supported file types in Canvas and the Canvas DocViewer.

Need additional help?

Please use this link to the Technology Help Desk to locate your local campus contact information. 



Article ID: 927
Fri 7/19/19 5:42 PM
Wed 6/5/24 3:27 PM
Applicable Institution(s):
Keene State College (KSC)
Plymouth State University (PSU)
University of New Hampshire (UNH)