Apply a template to your Canvas course

Before you start building out your content in Canvas, you may wish to apply a template to your course. A template is a Canvas course that you can copy and import into other courses. Templates can consist of any combination of settings, instructional content, and branding elements. There are several ways to create, distribute, and apply templates in Canvas. This document covers templates distributed via the Canvas templating service at Indiana University, which allows campuses, schools, and departments to publish templates for their faculty. For information on other templating methods, see Options for templating Canvas courses.


When you apply a template to your Canvas course, the settings and navigation in your course will be replaced with those in the template. Apply the template before you start creating or importing course content. If you apply it afterward:

  • You may overwrite your course syllabus or other content in your course. If you already created content in your course site, consider making a copy of the course before applying the template.
  • If you made customizations to the settings or navigation of the course, you may need to reset them.
  • If your course uses an eText, you will need to re-add the IU eTexts (Unizin Engage) tool to your course navigation. For help with course navigation, see How do I manage Course Navigation links?

To apply a template to your Canvas course:

  1. Navigate to your course and select Settings.
  2. In the settings sidebar at the right or bottom, select Apply Course Template to see a list of academic units with published templates. The location of your course in the Canvas academic hierarchy will determine which templates are available to you. Templates published by IU are visible in all courses, regardless of course location. You may also see templates created and vetted by your campus, school (units ending in “-GRP”), or department.
  3. To see the templates published by an academic unit, select its name or abbreviation.
  4. Review the information provided for each template. Some templates may be previewed by selecting the template name, though not all templates have previews.

    Templates designated as defaults (indicated by a “Yes” in the "Default" column) are applied automatically when new courses are created, but they can also be applied manually. For more information about default templates, see The Canvas academic hierarchy and templating logic.

  5. To apply one of the listed templates to your course, select Apply Template. An informational pop-up will appear. Select Apply to continue applying the template.
  6. The template will be copied to your course immediately, but it may take a few minutes to fully import the template. To check the import status, open the Settings tool. Then, in the sidebar, select Import Course Content, and review the status of the first item under "Current Jobs".

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Last modified on 2024-03-14 11:47:00.