Academic Technology - Florida State College at Jacksonville

Academic Technology

PowerPoints in Canvas : Best Storage Methods

EdTech, Faculty Content, LMS, SoftwareThomas Lewis

Now that you’ve added all of your course content to Canvas, you may realize that PowerPoint files can often use up a big portion of each Canvas course’s size limit of 500 MB. Depending on the kind of PowerPoint that is being used, there may be other storage options to consider, which don’t take reduce your storage quota and may even provide a better experience for your students.

PowerPoint Exported as a PDF

One of the best ways to share your PowerPoint presentation content with your students in Canvas is to export the presentation as a PDF. Since a PDF version will be a much smaller file size, doing this will minimize the storage space you’re using within your course and allow students to view or download the file easier. A PDF version of a PowerPoint shows the content to students page-by-page, rather than slide-by-slide.

It is important to remember that audio and video won’t play on the PDF, so if your presentation includes those features, you may want to consider an option below or provide a link for the student so they can view the audio/video another way.

Advantages to Exporting as a PDF

  • Compact file size that makes the file more accessible for the student

  • Easy to read document with a page-by-page layout

  • File be stored in OneDrive or stored in your local Canvas files

  • The student receives the option to download the PDF or preview the file within Canvas without having to download anything (good for those with slower internet speeds)

Disadvantages to Exporting as a PDF

  • Will not play audio or video from the presentation

  • Loses the presentation effect that PowerPoint presents (looks more like a document)


 PowerPoint as a Video File

When you want to include transitions, animations and GIF’s in your PowerPoint presentation, you should consider exporting your PowerPoint as a video file. This works great as a self-paced tool, as all of the slides are on a set timer when the video is rendered. The video can be exported to the one of the two video file formats, mp4 or mov.

Advantages to exporting PowerPoints as a video file

  • Your students do not need a copy of Microsoft PowerPoint to view your presentation

  • Video content is easy to access and understand—even for users who may have no knowledge or understanding of PowerPoint

  • Your students will not have to download the file to view it (they would instead stream the video)

  • The video can be stored in Canvas Studio instead of within the course files – which does not count against your course’s storage quota

Disadvantages to exporting PowerPoints as a video file

  • Each slide in your PowerPoint has to be pre-set, whether by setting your slide transition time to a uniform amount or setting rehearsal timings

  • Any videos or sound clips that are embedded in your PowerPoint will not be included in the video file


PowerPoint in OneDrive

At FSCJ, faculty have a wonderful Cloud Storage option called Microsoft OneDrive. You can upload all of your PowerPoints to OneDrive regardless of their file sizes, because each user has 1 TB of storage within their OneDrive (that’s room for a whole lot of PowerPoints!)  Once the presentations are uploaded to your OneDrive, you may add a link to the file in OneDrive within your Canvas content areas.

Advantages to using OneDrive to store your PowerPoint presentations

  • All audio and video content is able to be played as intended

  • All transitions, animations and GIF’s are still active

  • The presentation can be linked with the Office365 tool directly into Canvas

  • Does not contribute to your Canvas Course capacity

  • Practically an unlimited amount of available storage space (1 TB)

  • When a file is updated in OneDrive, it will update within any linked content as well

Disadvantages to using OneDrive to store your PowerPoint presentations

  • Possible download issues for students with slower internet if the PowerPoint is large


Adding PowerPoint files in Canvas

Although this isn’t our most recommend practice, simple PowerPoints can be small in size and therefore do not cause any download concerns or impact Canvas course capacity by much. If this is the case, you can opt to upload a PowerPoint presentation in the Files section of your Course. By doing this you can upload the file to any content area of your course without have to export it as a different type or use an external tool such as Studio or OneDrive.

Advantages to Storing PowerPoints in Canvas

  • No external tools needed

  • The student can still download the presentation

  • You can directly link the presentation from the Files tab in Canvas

Disadvantages to Storing PowerPoints in Canvas

  • Larger files can quickly reduce a course’s storage capacity of 500MB