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 [email protected]. 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”. 
  • You cannot send a single message to users in multiple courses in Canvas. 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. The Sent filter displays all your sent messages, both to individual users or multiple users. Sent messages also includes messages sent from the Gradebook.
  • Emails notification are from “Your Name” <[email protected]> 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 Video Guides

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