How do I add users to a course?

How do I add users to a course?

You may have already added user enrollments to your course in the Course Setup Checklist. However, you can invite users to join your course at any time if the Add People button is available in the People page.

If your institution uses SIS Imports, you do not need to add any users who are part of your institution's records for the course. They will be added to the course by your admin.

Course Invitations

When an enrollment is manually added to the course, Canvas generates a course invitation. The user must accept the course invitation to participate in the course. Until the user accepts the course invitation, the user's status will display as pending. Note that when a user receives an enrollment invitation for a custom role, the invitation displays the name of the base role.

In Canvas accounts, admins can allow Open Registration, which allows you to add users to a course even if the users do not yet have a Canvas account. The user will create an account as part of accepting the course invitation. However, if Open Registration is not enabled, you can only add users to your course who already have an account in Canvas.

If your institution is part of a trust account, searching for a user may display a search result associated with another institution. Trust accounts allow users to be added with the same credentials across multiple institutions.

Users are not sent a course invitation until the course start date. (The start date is commonly the term date, unless the term is being overridden by a specific course or section date in Course Settings.) Additionally, courses must be published for students to receive course invitations.

Multiple Sections

If you want to add the same person to different sections, you can enroll them in one section and then add them to additional sections later.

Multiple Roles

If you want to add the same person to different roles, you can enroll them as one user role and then add them again as the additional user role. Users must accept a course invitation for each enrollment role.

Please note that users invited to a course in an observer role are not sent a course invitation unless they do not already have a Canvas account. Observer enrollments without a Canvas account must create an account before they can log in to the course.

When manually adding users to a course, you can add a user into any available role, including custom roles as created by your admin. If you are not sure about what permissions are allowed for a specific role in your institution, please contact your Canvas admin.

Standard roles include Teaching Assistants (TAs), Observers, and Designers:

  • TAs provide course support and have some or all of the same permissions granted to instructors.
  • Observers can be linked to a student and view student progress in the course. Observers can include parents, guardians, and/or mentors. Learn more about the observer role in Canvas.
  • Designers can add other users to the course, access course content, create discussions, announcements, assignments, quizzes, and other content filled features. This role is appropriate for instructional designers, instructional coaches, or program managers who work with instructors to design their courses.



  • Enrollments may be added by your institution's student information system (SIS). If an enrollment includes an SIS ID, you cannot add an enrollment to the course.
  • Adding users through the Add People button is a course permission. If you cannot add a user to your course, your institution has restricted this feature.