Need to compress your files?

You may be asked to make sure that the files you submit to Canvas are less than 500MB. The instructions below describe how to compress your PDF and PPTX (PowerPoint) files.

Compressing PDF files

You can compress PDF files using Adobe Acrobat DC, which you have access to as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud package. To learn more about accessing the Adobe Creative Cloud package, please visit the student intranet

To compress your PDF file:

  1. Open your file in Adobe Acrobat DC
  2. Select File>Save as Other>Reduced File Size PDF…
  3. Choose the Adobe Version Compatibility you prefer, bearing in mind that the ‘Retain existing’ option is the most compatible file
  4. Select OK
  5. Choose where you want to save your compressed file
  6. Rename your compressed file so that you don’t overwrite the master file
  7. Select Save
Compressing your PDFs.gif

Compressing pictures in a PowerPoint presentation

If you are working in PowerPoint, you can reduce the file size of your presentation by compressing pictures within your file. Please note, these instructions only work on the desktop version of PowerPoint. Instructions for downloading the desktop version of PowerPoint can be found on the student intranet

To compress your pictures in your PowerPoint presentation:

  1. Save your presentation and give it a new file name so that your original file is preserved
  2. Select one of the pictures in your presentation
  3. Select Format>Compress pictures
  4. Choose whether you want to apply compression only to this picture or to all of the pictures in your file
  5. Choose whether you want to delete the cropped areas of pictures
  6. Choose the resolution you require bearing in mind that you may want to present high resolution images
  7. Save your file
Compressing pictures in a PowerPoint presentation.gif

What’s the difference between Sections and Groups on Canvas?

There is a text alternative to the information presented in the video below.


Groups are like a smaller version of your course and are used as a collaborative tool where students can work together on group projects and assignments.

As an instructor, use groups to:

  • Set up student group configurations at the course level for assignments and in-class work, both graded and ungraded.
  • Facilitate semester-long projects so that students can communicate and iterate on documents together.
  • Facilitate faculty professional development and institutional committees or activities.
  • Facilitate student-run study groups within courses or at the account level.

For more information about Groups, visit the Canvas Guides group section (Links to an external site.).


Sections in Canvas are used to segment the class list for administrative purposes, typically based on teaching fellow assignment or meeting time.

Once you create sections, you can: 

  • have varied due dates for assignments by section
  • filter the Gradebook by section
  • filter the SpeedGrader™ by section when grading student work
  • view section assignments for students on the People page
  • post announcements to individual sections
  • create calendar events unique to each group

The Canvas Guides (Links to an external site.) have answers to frequently asked questions about sections.