DesignPlus written in blue font with cidilabs written underneath it. There is a green paintbrush in a hexagon shape on the upper left corner.


DesignPLUS was developed to make creating and styling course content easier within Canvas. The improved ISU Course Template was designed using these tools.


  • Style content with predefined themes
  • Use the heading hierarchy in the Canvas Rich Content Editor to add blocks of text and visual interest to the page.
  • A syllabus page that contains required (not editable) and recommended (editable) syllabus statements. Required statements are automatically updated when the Syllabus page is edited.
  • Easily upload, crop, resize, and embed images.
  • Search and for royalty-free images

Getting Started

Instructor Resources

Design Tools

You can launch the Design Tools from content pages, assignments, discussions, announcements, or the course syllabus.

To launch the Design Tools, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Canvas course.
  2. Navigate to the content you wish to edit.
  3. Click Edit.
  4. On the Edit page, use the keyboard shortcuts Alt+Shift+D (Windows) or Option+Shift+D (Mac) to access the tools.

Note: Once launched, users can set the tool launch automatically in the tool settings.

Visit the Quick Start and subsequent modules in the DesignPLUS User Guide to get started. Cidi Labs has additional help resources, including vendor-led training, Cidi Labs webinars, and a Cidi Labs YouTube channel.

Upload/Embed Image Tool

Use the Upload/Embed Image Too to upload, crop, resize, and embed images in Canvas course pages, assignments, discussions, announcements, or the course syllabus.

The tools include easy access to royalty-free images from Unsplash and Pexels.

The Upload/Embed Image tool is a rich content editor LTI Tool.

  1. Select edit on a Page, Assignment, Discussion, or Classic Quiz in Canvas.
  2. Place your cursor where you want to insert the image.
  3. On the content editor menu, click the Upload/Embed Image icon. You will locate it the first time you access it in the external tools list.

Read more about the Upload and Embed Image Tool on the DesignPLUS User Guide for step-by-step directions on choosing and editing an image.

Online Documentation

Vendor-led Training

Sign up for vendor-led training from the Cidi Labs training calendar.


All faculty and staff members with an Iowa State Net-ID added to Canvas as a Teacher, Co-Teacher, TA, or Designer have access through ISU’s enterprise license. 


Need support? Have a suggestion? Found a bug? Just want to say “Hi”? Please contact Cidi Labs Support.