Link, Link. Who’s Got the (properly formatted) Link?

Links are how your students navigate your course content. While it might seem like a picayune matter, knowing how to set links up properly will have a pretty big impact on how quickly and easily students can start interacting with all the great content in your course (and it’ll increase your Canvas Ninja factor considerably!).

NOTE: This episode was updated in January ’22 to reflect the new rich content editor.

[Here’s a resource with examples of good and bad descriptive link text.]
Posted in Articles, Byte-Sized Canvas, Course Design Showcase, Rubric Section A, Uncategorized.

Passionate about teaching and learning, Helen enjoys showing instructors how to apply best pedagogical practices in Canvas to create dynamic courses that keep their students engaged.


  1. Thanks, Helen! I hadn’t thought about distinguishing between internal/external links when using “open in a new window,” but that makes good sense. Ctrl+K works in some other programs, like Outlook, too.

    I’m told there are accessibility considerations when using “open in a new window” — apparently it’s harder to get back to the original page from a new window with a screen reader — any insight on that?

    • Hi, Liz. I LOVE the Cmd(Ctrl)+K trick. It’s such a time-saver!

      As for the accessibility question about things opening in a new window, that’s what my bevy of accessibility experts have recommended as the way to go. But there always seems to be debate about “best practice” with accessibility so I’m not surprised you’ve heard other opinions. Part of the issue is that screen readers don’t all behave exactly the same so it’s challenging to come up with a single set of rules for setting up pages, links, etc. =-/

      In any case, my suggestion to set external links to open in a new window was based on what I’ve been told. But you’d certainly want to follow your school’s protocol if it differs from mine.


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