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The Canvas dashboard is the first screen a user sees when logging into Canvas. It is a quick way to access active enrollments, visit the gradebook, and view upcoming events and to do's. This page is a guide through the dashboard and customization of it for students.

Canvas Student Overview Video

200 - Canvas Overview for Students from Canvas LMS on Vimeo.

Using the Dashboard

Dashboard Modes: 

The dashboard can be viewed in two modes: card view and recent activity.

To switch between these modes:

  1. Select the settings icon in the upper right hand corner of the dashboard page, as shown.
    switch between dashboard views by clicking the settings icon

Other Dashboard Features:

The card view displays a card for each of the courses for which you are actively enrolled.

Viewing Past & Upcoming Courses

Past and upcoming courses can be found under Courses→ All Courses link. You can also use the star icons under this menu to adjust which courses appear in your dashboard


Each course card displays the name of the course and up to four icons, representing announcements, assignments, files, and discussions.

dashboard card view with icons in each course card

The recent activity view is a stream of upcoming due dates, events, assignment notifications, discussions, and other relevant items.

Viewing All Courses

When in the recent activity stream mode, you can access your courses under "Courses"→ All Courses.

Recent activity view of the Canvas dashboard with multiple announcement, assignment, and discussion notifications

In both modes, the right-hand side of the screen (or if your browser resolution is smaller, along the bottom of the window) will display a to-do list, upcoming events, recent feedback, and a link to the Gradebook.

Links display screen


Customizing the Dashboard

Colors & Nickname

In the card view mode, you can customize your Canvas dashboard by altering the color of the cards and giving your courses nicknames. Changes made to the color of a course card will be reflected in the calendar tab. Both these customizations will only be visible to you and will not alter how other users' cards appear.

To make these changes:

  1. Select the three-dot symbol on the course card. 
  2. Type a nickname into the text field and/or choose from the color options available (or type in a hex code for any other color).
  3. Click "Apply". 

    course card settings with options to give the course a nickname or custom color

Course Appearance on Dashboard

To customize which courses are present on the dashboard and make it easier to keep past and present courses separate, find the "During Course Dates" section of this page.