New Rich Content Editor

The New Rich Content Editor will be available as an opt-in feature in courses starting on November 2, 2020 and enabled across all courses on the University of Pennsylvania Canvas instance on January 4, 2021.

For instructions on how to enable the New Rich Content Editor, see Enabling the New Rich Content Editor.

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What is the New Rich Content Editor (RCE)?

The New Rich Content Editor (RCE) is an update to the existing text editor that provides a condensed, more intuitive toolbar that is grouped by common icons and interactions. The New RCE is used in the following Canvas features: 

  • Announcements
  • Assignments
  • Discussions
  • Pages
  • Quizzes
  • Syllabus

New Rich Content Editor Features


The following enhancements are included with this feature update:

  • The Rich Content Editor expands to the full width of the browser.
  • The toolbar includes a condensed, more intuitive look.
  • Toolbar menus are grouped by common icons and interactions.
  • The content sidebar only displays when linking to other parts of Canvas, accessing Canvas files, or accessing uploaded media.
  • Image and media additions include drag and drop; images include an Unsplash search and content auto-scaling.
  • The Keyboard shortcut, Accessibility Checker, and HTML Editor icons have moved to the bottom of the editor next to the word count. 

The New Rich Content Editor interface consists of three sections: the menubar [1], the toolbar [2], and the content area [3]. 

Location of the menubar, toolbar, and content area within the New Rich Content Editor.

Use the menubar and toolbar to add, edit, and format content. Options in the toolbar include: format text [1]; insert links, images, media, and documents [2]; open external tools [3]; format paragraphs [4]; clear formatting [5]; add tables [6]; and insert an equation [7]. When content in a browser window is long enough to require a scroll bar, the toolbar is fixed at the top of the browser window. These toolbar options as well as additional options are available from the menubar. 

Location of shortcut icons for adding, editing, and formatting content in the toolbar within the New Rich Content Editor.

If the browser isn’t expanded to fit the full width of the toolbar, the toolbar displays an Options menu that includes the remaining toolbar items.

Location of the Options menu that includes hidden shortcut icons due to window size.

Use the content area to add and preview content. 

Location of the content area

The editor status bar provides easy access to keyboard shortcuts [1]; the accessibility checker [2]; content word count; and the HTML editor. Additionally, the Rich Content Editor window can be resized using the Move handle below the window [5].

Location of shortcut icons in the status bar within the New Rich Content Editor.

Formatting Content

The text and paragraph formatting tools are located in the first section of the toolbar. Options in the toolbar include: font size and paragraph formatting [1]; font formatting [2]; and page formatting [3].

Location of formatting shortcut icons in the toolbar within the New Rich Content Editor.

Inserting Content

To insert content, use the Insert dropdown from the menu bar [1] or select an icon from the toolbar [2]. 

Screenshot highlighting the Insert menu bar option and insert content icons in the toolbar.

When inserting content, the sidebar tray displays links to content items in a course, group, or user files. From the sidebar tray, you can insert links, files, and media. Click the item name to insert the item at the cursor location in the content area or as a link for highlighted text.  

Insert content sidebar tray for links and files

More information for Instructors:

More information for Students:

Using External Tools

You can use the New Rich Content Editor to embed content and links from external apps that have been set up in your course. Selected external tool icons like Panopto will display next to the Apps icon in the editor toolbar.

You can view a list of external tools from the menubar or toolbar. From the menubar, click the Tools link [1], navigate to the Apps option, then select the View All option. Alternatively, you can view your apps from the toolbar by clicking the App icon [4].

Screenshot highlighting the location of the Apps option from the menubar and Apps icon from the toolbar.

Embedding and linking options vary depending on the app you’re using. For specific instructions for embedding and linking to external app content, please refer to the app vendor’s user guides.

Enabling the New Rich Content Editor

If you would like to enable the new RCE in your course, you must enable the RCE Enhancements feature option in course Settings and click the Feature Options tab.

Feature Options tab found in course Settings.

Enable the RCE Enhancements by clicking the toggle button. Once enabled, the toggle should turn green and display a checkmark.

Toggle to enable "RCE Enhancements", i.e. New Rich Content Editor

From the Feature Options tab, consider enabling the RCE Auto-Save feature. With this feature enabled, the editor autosaves any content that hasn’t yet been submitted for up to one hour.

Toggle to enable "RCE Auto-Save"

New Rich Content Editor Resources & FAQ