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Auto-save on Canvas when editing

Prof. Giron
New Member Registered

I have a question regarding auto-save on Canvas when editing: 

Do we have the option of an auto-save when editing a page, or assignment?

I looked on Settings - Feature options - no options available... 👀

Any idea on how to go about this will help when editing and my computer clashes then I have to start all over... 🙄

Screen Shot 2021 11 30 at 10.14.02 PM

Thank you in advance!


Prof. Giron

Topic starter Posted : November 30, 2021 10:28 pm
Topic Tags
Vivie Sinou
Reputable Member Admin

Hi, Guillermo:

Unfortunately, content that cannot be saved as a draft in Canvas assignments or discussions. It is best to draft these outside of Canvas, and have a 'master' copy to ensure you don't lose it with computer crashes or internet connection issues, or when navigating away in error. 

There is a new 'auto-save' feature with the New Rich Content Editor, and it's available to everyone in Delta's Canvas by default (you had to enable it during the 'beta' phase, as in your screenshot). The auto-save feature is available ONLY in assignments and discussions. 

I'll explain how it works, but it's best for critical assignments to compose them offline first. 

Auto-Save in the new Rich Content Editor

When a user enters content in a Rich Content Editor window, the editor automatically saves the content for up to one hour. If the user navigates away from the page or another situation occurs where the user revisits the page within one hour, Canvas will notify the user if any saved content is different from the existing content. The user can preview the autosaved content and select the Yes button to load the autosaved content. Selecting the No button will discard the autosaved content.

Storage Details

Saved content is stored in each browser’s local storage, which means Canvas can only recover autosaved content using the same browser on the same computer an hour within the last edit.

Additionally, each browser includes a limit for how much information can be saved in local storage, which does NOT guarantee that the Rich Content Editor will always be able to save a user’s content.

In the same behavior of clearing a browser cache, users who are able to manage their local storage may want to check and clear their local storage space when using Canvas. Additionally, when manual save functionality is supported, such as in pages, users should frequently save their content; content that cannot be saved as a draft in Canvas, such as assignment and discussion replies, may need to be drafted outside of Canvas to ensure content is not lost.


New Rich Content Editor: Auto Save (2020-03-21 Release) from Instructure Canvas Community on Vimeo.


This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Vivie Sinou
Posted : November 30, 2021 11:02 pm
Vivie Sinou
Reputable Member Admin

p.s. I just tested the auto-save in one of my assignments. I made a change, navigated away and refreshed. It prompted me if I wanted to load the auto-saved content. 

This sort of thing always makes me nervous though. Networks are so flaky. 

Posted : November 30, 2021 11:10 pm
Deanna de Azevedo
Estimable Member Moderator

Hi Guillermo,

I have had “good” and “bad” experiences with AUTO-SAVE on Canvas, the “bad” when what pops up is an empty RICH CONTENT EDITOR despite my efforts! In Canvas’ defense, however, this typically happens when I am editing multiple pages simultaneously.

When I am creating “longer” content with Canvas, I will, as Vivie suggested, draft outside of Canvas. I have found that drafting in MS Word and then COPY + PASTE to Canvas will preserve most of the formatting including headers… and if memory serves… lists. If images are part of your content, don’t COPY + PASTE those. You’ll need need to UPLOAD image files to Canvas and insert into the RICH CONTENT EDITOR. Don’t forget to add ALT TEXT for your images.


  • I often use CANVAS PAGES to draft content, regardless of the final destination (e.g., quizzes, assignments, announcements).
  • I frequently click SAVE when working in Canvas, and then go back into the content to continue editing.
    • Heads up: Don’t SAVE AND RETURN in Canvas ANNOUNCEMENTS unless you have set a DELAY. Canvas pushes announcements out immediately unless a delay is set.
  • If content requires HEAVY FORMATTING, I often COPY HTML CODE and PASTE to a TEXT EDITOR while working… this in addition to SAVING frequently.
    • To grab CODE, click the <> symbol on bottom right of Rich Content Editor, select all, then paste to a TEXT EDITOR. (TEXT EDIT is the name of the editor on APPLE MAC; not sure name on WINDOWS PC.) 
    • Of course, always be careful when going into the CODE. Canvas prevents most serious coding errors, but you don’t want to undo your hard work! 🙂


Hope this helps!


Posted : December 1, 2021 8:21 am

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