Canvas: Create and send email


This article describes how to use the Inbox (email) tool from your Canvas course site.

Related Video


115 - Conversations Overview from Instructure Community on Vimeo.



The Inbox (email) found on the Global Navigation bar, allows you to communicate with the students who are enrolled in your course. The email tool functionality is similar to most email tools you currently use. There are a few features that you should be aware of that will allow you to use it effectively.

The email tool is only available during that specific semester that your course is offered and for published courses. At the end of the semester the course is closed and the ability to email students in that course is no longer available.

This email tool sends and receives all emails that originate from the Canvas email tool and maintains a copy in the Canvas database. When a new email is created in the Canvas "Inbox", an additional email is sent to your default Canvas email address (i.e. or USNH exchange email.) The advantage to receiving this copy to your USNH email is so that you can have a dialog with your students or instructor without having to login to the Canvas course site. If you don't want to receive these emails to your USNH email, then go to the Notifications settings and turn off the option to receive "Conversations" notifications.

For information about how to change your Notification settings, read this article Canvas: Notification Preferences and Settings

Caution: Please be aware that when you are replying to a Canvas email from your USNH or another email source outside of Canvas that attached files will NOT be received by the recipient. If you or your students are sending file attachments through email, please be sure to login to Canvas and attach the file in the email through the "Inbox". See this KB article for more details: Canvas Strips Attached Files from Email (Known Issue)


To Send email:

  1. Login to Canvas
  2. Select Inbox on the Global Navigation on the left side.
  3. Select the mail icon to compose a new message.
  4. In the courses drop down menu, select the course where you would like to send the message.
  5. Add recipients to the message using the contacts icon to the right of the TO: field, or by typing the name of the student. The contacts icon allows you to filter your contact list by students, faculty, sections or groups.
  6. If you would like the recipients of your email not to see each others name, then select the "Send an individual email to each recipient".
  7. Type your subject and message.
  8. Click Send.
  9. The email is sent to the Canvas inbox, as well as a notification copy to the recipient's school default email.



  • Your course must be published in order for students to receive your email.
  • You can reply to emails directly from your outside email. If you include an attachment from the outside email, it is stripped off and the recipient will not receive the attached document.
  • You cannot email students in a concluded course. Canvas: Emailing students in a concluded Canvas course

Need additional help?

Please fill out this Canvas webform with as much detail as possible, or contact the ET&S Help Desk team on your local campus.





Article ID: 842
Fri 7/19/19 5:39 PM
Tue 4/20/21 1:38 PM
Applicable Institution(s):
Granite State College (GSC)
Keene State College (KSC)
Plymouth State University (PSU)
University of New Hampshire (UNH)