Messages and Inbox

Use the Inbox to send a message to all users in a course, all users in a specific role, or all users in a group. When an instructor creates and sends a Canvas Inbox message, an email notification is sent to the default email specified in the recipient’s notification settings. All Canvas notifications are sent from The recipient can see the entire message content and reply directly from that email, or click a link to go back into Canvas to see and respond to the message. Once the recipient replies, a conversation thread will be created in the Canvas Inbox.  


  • Once your course has concluded, you cannot send a message to all users.  
  • Users display in the Inbox once they have an active enrollment in the course, and users cannot access a course unless it is published. 
  • Emails sent through the Canvas Inbox will appear in your Sent message area. However, when you send a message through the Canvas Inbox, by default, you will not receive a notification email. To enable notifications, edit your Notification preferences and make sure “Conversations Created By Me” is checked for “right away”. 
  • Currently you cannot send a single message to users in multiple courses. You would need to send one message for each course.  

How does Canvas differ from Blackboard? 

  • As in Blackboard, using Announcements is the still best way to send a message to the whole class. 
  • There is a ‘sent’ folder in Canvas. 
  • Emails notification are from “Your Name” <> and replies go back to Canvas Inbox. 

How to use – Canvas instructions 

Canvas offers an in-depth guide on Messages

104 – Inbox Overview from Instructure Canvas Community on Vimeo.

Best Practices and Accessibility 

  • Consider using Announcements for communicating to the whole class. 
  • Messages should conform to the same accessibility standards as all other class content.  Use the rich-text editor to check your message for accessibility, and check any attached documents using MS Word’s accessibility checker.