Issue: Canvas - Can't upload file


  • When trying to upload a file to Canvas into Files, as part of a discussion post, or to an assignment, the file fails to upload.


  • Oregon State University
  • Student and Instructor
  • Canvas


There are several file limits set in Canvas. If the file size exceeds the established limits, the file upload will fail.

Course Files Storage Limit

In each Canvas course, there is a Course Files area. Instructors and TAs can access the Course Files area from the course menu. The default course files limit is 500 MB . However, OSU has increased that limit to 1 GB. This limit applies to any files uploaded to the Files section of the course or added to course content through the Rich Content Editor. If a user attempts to upload a file that will exceed the Course Files storage limit, the file upload will fail.

When a Canvas course is copied into a second Canvas course, the copied course files do not count against the second course's files storage limit. Only new or updated files will count against the second course's files storage limit. 

User Files Storage Limit

Each user has a User Files area that can be access through the Account button in the main Canvas menu. While it is possible for faculty to see Course Files from their User Files screen, Course Files do not count toward their User Files storage limit.

The default User File Limit in Canvas is 50 MB. However, OSU has increased that limit to 1 GB. This limit applies to any files uploaded to the Files area listed in the user's Canvas account. Canvas discussion post file attachments also count against the User File Limit and have a file size limit of 500 MB. If a user attempts to upload a file or attach a file to a discussion post that will exceed the User Files storage limit, the file upload will fail.

Assignment Submission Limit

Canvas assignment submissions are limited to 5 GB. However, if Turnitin is enabled, the assignment submission limit is reduced significantly to a file size of 40 MB. Student submissions to course assignments do not count against their User File storage limit. If a user attempts to submit a file that exceeds the submission limit, the submission will fail.

Compressing Files to Reduce File Size

Large files can be difficult for people to view online or download, especially if they have an older computer or a poor internet connection. Compressing files can sometimes dramatically reduce the file size without impacting the quality of the document or images inside the document.

Consider using built-in features of document creation software e.g., Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Office, to compress images/files to reduce the size of the file. The Optimize feature of Adobe Acrobat generally does an excellent job of reducing PDF file size while retaining quality resolution on embedded images. If Turnitin is enabled on an assignment, check that the file size is not greater than 40MB.

For other issues, students should contact the course instructor for assistance.


Article ID: 90270
Wed 10/23/19 2:12 PM
Fri 2/16/24 12:04 PM