Canvas DocViewer

What is DocViewer?

An example of DocViewer in SpeedGrader.

The Canvas DocViewer automatically converts common documents types into web-viewable and interactive learning experiences.  As of Tuesday, June 20th, this feature will replace the Box previewer and Crocodoc annotation tools in Canvas and provides improved performance.

DocViewer Features

Annotations

While the submission details page and SpeedGrader both allow users to create general comments about a submission, annotations allow users to create and highlight specific comments within a submission.

Both assignment graders and students can add annotations to a supported assignment file; however, annotations are not supported in anonymous peer reviews.

Annotation Types & Comments

The DocViewer toolbar displays the number of pages for a document, zoom in and out of the file, and use one of six annotation types for commenting: Point, Highlight, Freetext, Strikeout, Free Draw, and Area Annotation types.

Selection

The

The Selection option appears as a black arrow with a white background in the toolbar when no annotation options have been selected. This option is not an annotation type; rather, it is meant to indicate whether or not an annotation type has been selected. When one has been selected, the arrow turns white and the background turns black:

When an annotation tool is selected, the

The same behavior occurs for annotation tools in the toolbar: when selected, their icon turns white and the background turns black; when not selected, their icon turns black and their background turns white.

Point Annotation

The Point Annotation option appears as a black balloon-shaped icon with a white background.

The Point Annotation option appears as a black balloon-shaped icon with a white background when it has been selected (these colors are reversed when it is not selected).

After you select the Point Annotation option, you can click anywhere on the document preview to add a point, which appears in blue. After you add the point, a dotted line appears leading from the point to the right margin where a comment bubble appears with the message “Leave a Comment” in its center. To make a comment, type into the comment bubble and press the Enter or Return key on your keyboard.

An example of a Point Annotation comment that shows the blue point indicating the content being commented upon and the comment associated with the point in the right margin.

To delete a Point Annotation, click on the trashcan icon that appears in the upper-right corner of the comment and then click on OK in the window that appears near the top of the screen that displays this message: “Are you sure you want to delete this annotation?”

An example of the process for deleting a Point Annotation.

All users can reply to any comments in the document by clicking the comment and then on the Reply button for the comment. However, comments and annotations can only be deleted by the user who created the comment or annotation.

An example of a student's reply to an instructor's Point Annotation comment.

Highlight Annotation

The Highlight Annotation icon appears as a black highlighter icon with a white background when selected.

The Highlight Annotation icon appears as a black highlighter icon with a white background when selected (these colors are reversed when it is not selected).

After you select the Highlight Annotation option, you can click to the left of the first word or piece of content you want to highlight and then drag your cursor until you have included all content for the comment (highlighted content appears in yellow).

An example of a Highlight Annotation.

To delete a Highlight Annotation, click on the highlighted content and then click on OK in the window that appears near the top of the screen that displays this message: “Are you sure you want to delete this annotation?” Alternatively, you can click on the highlighted content and  then click on the Backspace (PC) or Delete (Mac) key on your keyboard, which will produce the window with the OK button.

An example of how to delete a Highlight Annotation.

Please note that the Highlight Annotation option does not require a comment, but you can leave a comment by clicking on the content to which the Highlight Annotation has been applied and then clicking on the circular button appears in the right margin that has a black document icon with a white background. To make a comment, click on this circular button. Also, please note that the option to have a Highlight Annotation with a comment replaces the functionality that was offered by the “Text Comment” option in Crocodoc.

An example of a Highlight Annotation after content has been selected in a document for commenting and the circular button appears in the right margin.

After you click on the circular button,  a dotted line appears leading from the highlighted content to the right margin where a comment bubble appears with the message “Leave a Comment” in its center. To make a comment, type into the comment bubble and press Enter or Return.

A Highlight Annotation comment appears in the right margin of DocViewer.

To delete a Highlight Annotation with a comment, click on the trashcan icon that appears in the upper-right corner of the comment and then click on OK in the window that appears near the top of the screen that displays this message: “Are you sure you want to delete this annotation?”

An example of how to delete a Highlight Annotation with a comment.

All users can reply to any comments in the document by clicking the comment and then on the Reply button for the comment. However, comments and annotations can only be deleted by the user who created the comment or annotation.

An example of student's reply to a Highlight Annotation comment.

Freetext Annotation

The Freetext Annotation icon appears as a black upper-case

The Freetext Annotation icon appears as a black upper-case “I” enclosed within a square with a black trim and white background when selected (these colors are reversed when it is not selected).

After you select the Freetext Annotation option, you can click anywhere on the document previewer where you would like to add a free text comment. After you click on the preview, a blue-trimmed square appears where you clicked, and your name appears beneath the square.

After you click on a document preview when the Freetext Annotation has been selected, a blue-trimmed square appears, and your name appears beneath it.

To add a free text comment, begin typing in the blue-trimmed square. When you have finished typing, press the Enter or Return key on your keyboard to save the comment.

An example of a saved free text comment.

To delete a free text comment, click on the perimeter of the comment so that the trim turns blue, click on the Backspace (PC) or Delete (Mac) key on your keyboard, and then click on OK in the window that appears near the top of the screen that displays this message: “Are you sure you want to delete this annotation?”

An example of how to delete a FreeText Annotation.

Strikeout Annotation

The Strikeout Annotation option appears as a black upper-case

The Strikeout Annotation option appears as a black upper-case “S” with a horizontal line through its center when selected (these colors are reversed when it is not selected).

After you select the Strikeout Annotation option, you can click to the left of the first word or piece of content you want to strikeout and then drag your cursor until you have included all content you want to include. As you drag your cursor, a red line appears through the content you are striking out.

An example of the Strikeout Annotation option being applied to text.

Please note that red is the default color when using the Strikeout Annotation option. You can change this option’s color by selecting a different color from the menu that appears in the upper-left corner of the DocViewer after you select the Strikeout Annotation option.

An example of green being selected as the Strikeout Annotation color.

To delete a Strikeout Annotation, click on the content to which the Strikeout Annotation has been applied, click on the Backspace (PC) or Delete (Mac) key on your keyboard, and then click on OK in the window that appears near the top of the screen that displays this message: “Are you sure you want to delete this annotation?”

An example of how to delete a Strikeout Annotation.

Please note that the Strikeout Annotation option does not require a comment, but you can leave a comment by clicking on the content to which the Strikeout Annotation has been applied and then clicking on the circular button appears in the right margin that has a black document icon with a white background. To make a comment, click on this circular button.

An example of a comment being applied to text to which the Strikeout Annotation option has also been applied.

After you click on the circular button, a dotted line appears leading from the content to the right margin where a comment bubble appears with the message “Leave a Comment” in its center. To make a comment, type into the comment bubble and press Enter or Return.

An example of a comment for a saved Strikeout Annotation. 

To delete a Strikeout Annotation with a comment, click on the trashcan icon that appears in the upper-right corner of the comment and then click on OK in the window that appears near the top of the screen that displays this message: “Are you sure you want to delete this annotation?”

An example of how to delete a Strikeout Annotation with a comment.

All users can reply to any comments in the document by clicking the comment and then on the Reply button for the comment. However, comments and annotations can only be deleted by the user who created the comment or annotation.

An example of a student replying to a comment associated with a Strikeout Annotation.

Free Draw Annotation

The Free Draw annotation icon appears as a black paintbrush with a white background when selected.

The Free Draw Annotation icon appears as a black paintbrush with a white background when selected (these colors are reversed when it is not selected).

After you select the Free Draw Annotation option, you can click anywhere on the document preview where you want to draw and then draw your cursor to begin drawing. When finished, you can unclick to save the drawing.

An example of a saved Free Draw Annotation.

Please note that blue is the default color when using the Free Draw Annotation option. You can change this option’s color by selecting a different color from the menu that appears in the upper-left corner of the DocViewer after you select the Free Draw Annotation option.

An example of purple selected as the Free Draw Annotation color.

To delete a Free Draw Annotation, click on the perimeter of the drawing so that the trim turns blue, click on the Backspace (PC) or Delete (Mac) key on your keyboard, and then click on OK in the window that appears near the top of the screen that displays this message: “Are you sure you want to delete this annotation?”

An example of how to delete a Free Draw Annotation.

Please note that the Free Draw Annotation option does not require a comment, but you can leave a comment by clicking on the content to which the Free Draw Annotation has been applied and the clicking on the circular button appears in the right margin that has a black document icon with a white background. To make a comment, click on this circular button.

An example of a comment being applied to a Free Draw Annotation.

After you click on the circular button,  a dotted line appears leading from the content to the right margin where a comment bubble appears with the message “Leave a Comment” in its center. To make a comment, type into the comment bubble and press Enter or Return.

An example of a saved comment that has been applied to a Free Draw Annotation.

To delete a Free Draw Annotation with a comment, click on the trashcan icon that appears in the upper-right corner of the comment and then click on OK in the window that appears near the top of the screen that displays this message: “Are you sure you want to delete this annotation?”

An example of how to delete a Free Draw Annotation with a comment.

All users can reply to any comments in the document by clicking the comment and then on the Reply button for the comment. However, comments and annotations can only be deleted by the user who created the comment or annotation.

An example of a student's response to a comment associated with a Free Draw Annotation.

Area Annotation

The Area Annotation icon appears as a black-trimmed square with points on each corner over a white background when selected.

The Area Annotation icon appears as a black-trimmed square with points on each corner over a white background when selected (these colors are reversed when it is not selected).

After you select the Area Annotation option, you can click anywhere on the document preview where you want to add the a comment. Your cursor will turn into a black cross-shape that you can use to define the area upon which you will comment, and you can drag your cursor to increase or decrease the size of the defined area. When you have finished defining the area, unclick to save the outline of the area. After you unclick, a dotted line appears leading from the point to the right margin where a comment bubble appears with the message “Leave a Comment” in its center. To make a comment, type into the comment bubble and press the Enter or Return key on your keyboard.

An example of a saved comment for an Area Annotation.

Please note that blue is the default color when using the Area Annotation option. You can change this option’s color by selecting a different color from the menu that appears in the upper-left corner of the DocViewer after you select the Area Annotation option.

An example of orange having been selected for an Area Annotation.

To delete an Area Annotation, click on the trashcan icon that appears in the upper-right corner of the comment and then click on OK in the window that appears near the top of the screen that displays this message: “Are you sure you want to delete this annotation?” Alternatively, you can click on defined area for the Area Annotation on the preview and then click on the Backspace (PC) or Delete (Mac) key on your keyboard, which will produce the window with the OK button.

An example of how to delete an Area Annotation.

All users can reply to any comments in the document by clicking the comment and then on the Reply button for the comment. However, comments and annotations can only be deleted by the user who created the comment or annotation.

An example of a student's response to a comment associated with an Area Annotation.

Other Previewing Features

Zoom

The Zoom function for DocViewer appears with a plus on to the right for increasing the size of the preview and a minus on the left for decreasing the size of the preview.

The Zoom function for DocViewer appears with a plus on to the right for increasing the size of the preview and a minus on the left for decreasing the size of the preview. To increase or decrease the size of the preview, click on the plus or minus, respectively.

Page Navigation

The DocViewer Page Navigation feature displays the number of the current page being previewed for the document (number is black with a white background) and the total number of pages for the document (appears in white with a black background).

The DocViewer Page Navigation feature displays the number of the current page being previewed for the document (number is black with a white background) and the total number of pages for the document (appears in white with a black background). The page number changes as you scroll through the document. To navigate to a specific page in the document, type the page number in the box next to “Page” in the DocViewer menu.

Supported File Types

Supported Document Types

  • Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX, DOCM, DOT, DOTX, DOTM)
  • Microsoft Excel (XLS, XLSX, XLSM, XLSB, XLS2003)—DocViewer only converts the defined print area of the spreadsheet
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX, PPS, PPSX)
  • Microsoft Project (MPP)
  • Portable Document File (PDF, XPS)
  • Data (VTX, TXT, CSV)
  • Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • OpenOffice (ODT, OTT, ODS)
  • Markup Language (HTM, HTML, MHT)
  • Mail Message (MSG, EML, EMLX)
  • eBook (EPUB)

Supported Image Types

  • JPG, JPEG
  • PNG
  • GIF
  • BMP
  • TIF, TIFF
  • AutoCAD (DWG, DXF)
  • Visio (VDX, VDW, VSD, VSDX, VSS, VST, VSX)

Coming Soon

The following features will not be available with the June 20th release of DocViewer, but they will be coming soon:

  • Persistent Tool Selection: Currently, tool selection is not persistent, which means you will need to re-click a tool option when you intend to make consecutive annotations with the same tool (for example: after using the Highlight Annotation tool once, you will need to click on this tool again if you want to use it for your next annotation).
  • Downloadable Annotated PDFs: DocViewer does not yet offer the option to download annotated PDFs of students’ submissions.
  • Colors for Free Text Comments: There is not an option to change the color of free text comments currently.

Please follow Canvas at Penn to receive updates when these features are added to DocViewer.

Additional Information

Please note the following about DocViewer:

  • No Session Limitations in SpeedGrader: DocViewer does not include any session limitations in SpeedGrader. An assignment does not have to be annotated within a specific time frame and will not display a timeout warning message.
  • Deleting Highlight, Free Draw, and Strikeout Annotations: The process for deleting Highlight, Free Draw, and Strikeout Annotations in DocViewer differs from how these types of annotations were deleted in Crocodoc. To delete a Highlight, Free Draw, or Strikeout Annotation, please click on the annotation and then click on the Backspace (PC) or Delete (Mac) key on your keyboard. A window will appear near the top-center of the DocViewer display with this message: “Are you sure you want to delete this annotation?” Click OK to delete the annotation or Cancel to cancel the deletion. For more information, please see the Highlight Annotation, Free Draw Annotation, and Strikeout Annotation sections on this page.
  • Highlight Annotations with Comments Replaces the “Text Comment” Option:  The option to have a Highlight Annotation with a comment replaces the functionality that was offered by the “Text Comment” option in Crocodoc.  For more information, please see the Highlight Annotation section on this page.
  • Names with Freetext Annotations: The Freetext Annotation tool includes the name of the person who entered the annotation.
  • Not Supported: .pages: DocViewer does not support .pages. The “Supported File Types” list will be updated if .pages are supported in the future.
  • n>1,000 Class Size: The issue affecting SpeedGrader submissions of classes larger than 1,000 students will not be resolved by the switch from Crocodoc to DocViewer, as this issue stems from SpeedGrader and not the document previewer associated with it.  

How to Find Help with DocViewer

For more information, please consult the Canvas DocViewer Release Notes.

If you have any questions or need help with DocViewer, please email canvas@pobox.upenn.edu.