Canvas and launch in new window

Howdy all - it's been a long time, so I hope everyone I've worked with before is well, and those I may just be meeting, "Hello!"

My workplace is transitioning to the Canvas LMS and I'm at an absolute brick wall getting the LMS and SCORM file to behave correctly. Is there anyone else using Canvas and Lectora and have tips/tricks/gotcha's that have come up in the process? If you're familiar with how Canvas works, help with the below question would be great.

When I publish the SCORM file to Canvas as a graded assignment, opening the assignment page does not launch the course in a new window, as would be expected when using "The published course will be opened in a separate window than the LMS." Instead, the course is being embedded on the page (this is also the case if I use the "launch in new tab" option within Canvas itself.

I have gone through a TON of variations using the SCORM publishing options, both on the SCORM settings and HTML settings and there has been no change in the behavior. I had done some initial testing on 9/18, which I seem to recall worked as desired in Canvas - landing on the assignment page automatically opened the course in a separate window.

I'm thoroughly stumped - I'm using 18.2.1 (I haven't been able to get the .2 update installed through my IT yet, and am yet to get the 19 upgrade).

Any other help or even eyes on the course would be immensely helpful.

Discussion (12)

Hi Jason @JasonADal

That should be a configuration option on the LMS, unless I'm misunderstanding!

See if this link helps you:

Let us know

- Joe

Do you have a course in the LMS that functions as expected?

Agreeing with @wheels, launching the course in its own window is the responsibility of the LMS, not the authoring tool.

Try changing the window properties on your Launch Course button, set no location and a specific size for the window. That should keep it out of a browser tab.

In SL is that the way you are doing it? They have an action to launch the player in a new window?

@wheels @carlfink - Normally, I would agree 100% that the opening in a separate window is a setting within the LMS. However, in this case, Storyline SCORM files uploaded to Canvas open in a separate window without changing any settings in Canvas. In Storyline, selecting "Launch player in new window" creates the desired outcome. The only setting for "opening in a new window" in Canvas is to set up a "Launch in new tab" button on the page that "houses" the SCORM file.

@wheels - I have previously used that to open the course in a separate TAB, but it does not open in a new WINDOW, which is how the Storyline courses work. Does that make sense?

@cainam - See above re: the Storyline courses. They open in a separate window just fine and I would swear that it worked near the end of last week and have tickets in to both Canvas and the organization that admins our Canvas settings.

This is the main reason I'd hoped someone with Canvas experience would chime in, so hopefully someone has experience beyond my own. If I just tried adding a "launch course" button set to open the next chapter in a new window, but it still opens in a tab rather than a separate window the same way the Storyline courses open.

I may just have to settle for the new tab instead of new window, which our users have previously come to expect, and I may have been delusional on Thursday when I would have sworn the courses opened in a new window as desired.

If there are still questions about what my expectations are, I can quickly put together a video that better explains it.


Do you know if Canvas has a user base for their product? (just thinking you might have more luck checking from that side of things).

@cainam - Canvas does have a similar community, and I'm checking there as well. I tried to see if maybe an new release was pushed over the weekend, but couldn't find anything either.

@wheels - I'm not sure what you mean by "no location" on the button. If I use "Next", there are no options. If I point at a specific page on the Go To, I get the options, but have to choose either existing or new window on the main ribbon, but can change the window size. Change the window size still results with opening in a new tab.

The way Storyline works is that there is a setting in the "Player" options called "Browser Settings". There, you can select an option to "Launch player in new window (creates launch page)", then choose things like hiding browser controls and allowing the user to resize. When we've published through Storyline, the only option selected is the "Launch player" and that works, creating a new window when the Storyline course opens.

In the end, I may just have to settle for the new tab unless/until I put together some javascript that forces it into a separate window instead of tab. Canvas really isn't very good when it comes to SCORM on the whole, in my opinion, so in the end, it shouldn't surprise me that this is problematic.

Hi Jason,

That's interesting. Appreciate the information. So you could create a launch page also by having a first page that has an On Show action.

Pretty much like the "launch course" button, I'm surprised that doesn't work. Can you try the settings on the attached image?


I don't know Canvas LMS.

... but there can hardly be a setting to open the course in a new window from inside the course, be it Lectora or Storyline. The course needs to be opened before any action can be executed.

The "Open in new tab" setting should be the way to go. Mobile devices, i.e. the respective browsers, don't provide a "New window" and the default setting for most desktop browsers is also "Open in new tab instead of new window". You can create a launch page in the course as Joe mentions, but ,opening "On: Show" is likely to activate the popup blocker of the browser. You may put a button to click on the launch page, but it will most likely also open the course in a new tab.

@wheels - Thanks for the suggestions on that. For now, I have to put that process on the side, as I've been "reassigned" to update one of our Storyline courses. Plus, I got word that it's not likely that the courses I developed in Lectora will end up in Canvas anyway. Things are a bit chaotic with my group right now, so that could all change in 20 minutes ;)

@timk - That's a really interesting point about the new window I hadn't thought of. With Canvas, there's a mobile app for students and with our transition, I'm not sure how many will jump on the app bandwagon. I may test it out and bring it to the team as a possible suggestion to just use the LMS "open in new tab" depending on the app behavior. (On an aside, how are you? It's been way too long since I've delved into things beyond that audio player bit I ran into.)

Since september the University i work for too has switched to Canvas. And as @Jason states, the support of Scorm on Instructure's Canvas is poor at least. Out of the box it even doesnot has Scorm enabled, you have to specifically tell your IT to enable the Scorm LTI. I cannot yet test your scenario mainly because the Scorm LTI is not enabled on our Canvas. I will however when we have the Scorm LTI enabled. Furthermore Canvas has limited options in there RichText editor. All script tags, CSS and a lot more get automatically sanitized and removed, so a lot of the nitty-gritty stuff we love aint possible. That said, it has good things... it has standard support for Bootstrap and Flexboxes and more.

Mobile it works really swell out of the box due to Bootstrap.

@JasonAdal lets connect directly to share tips and tricks on Canvas. A lot to discover there for me too...

Contact me directly at

kind regards,


PS. As i use Rise360 and Storyline360 too now for courses...quite interested in your findings on that in Canvas. The mobile app seems not to like Rise...

PPS. As i atm cannot use Scorm for courses i publish as HTML ( both from Lectora and Rise360 ), those courses i upload into the files onto Canvas. In a separate page i add code for that page in an iframe. That works for me now..i am gonna check whether i can force it into a new window...

Untill now all courses i made with both Storyline and/or Lectora didnot need grading. So they got embedded in pages and worked well. Now however we are going to make games and grading is needed. So the score of the game ( Scorm or xAPi ) needs to be passed to the LMS ( Canvas ) grading systems. As Instructure has their own plugin ( LTI ) for that it should pass that easily. It doesnot however and no support whatsoever on the Canvas community either. Anyone has had succes in passing scores ( either Storyline or Lectora ) to the grades in Canvas ?

Kind regards,