How do I re-enable inline annotation tools in SpeedGrader?

Quick Links: | Environment | Solution | Root Cause |

Instructors using Canvas's SpeedGrader experience the inline annotation tools being unexpectedly disabled. This issue occurs when the "Peer Reviews Appear Anonymously" setting is enabled, preventing the use of annotation tools in the DocViewer. The symptom is the absence of annotation tools within Canvas's SpeedGrader for specific assignments.

Canvas DocViewer with missing annotation tools.


  • Canvas Learning Management System
  • SpeedGrader feature
  • Assignments with "Peer Reviews Appear Anonymously" setting enabled


If you need to re-enable the inline annotation tools, follow these steps to resolve the issue:

  1. Identify the Affected Assignments

    Determine if any assignments have the "Peer Reviews Appear Anonymously" setting enabled. To do this:

    • Go to your Canvas course and navigate to the affected assignment.
    • Open the assignment
    • Select Edit in the assignment menu.
  2. Disable Anonymity Settings for Affected Assignments

    To re-enable the inline annotation tools, you need to turn off the "Peer Reviews Appear Anonymously" setting for the affected assignments:

    • Save your changes.
    • Under the "Peer Reviews" section, uncheck the "Peer Reviews Appear Anonymously" option.
    • Select Edit in the assignment menu.
  3. Re-enable Inline Annotation Tools

    After disabling the anonymity settings, the inline annotation tools in SpeedGrader should be available once again. You can now provide annotations, feedback, and grading as usual.

Canvas DocViewer with restored annotation tools.

Root Cause

The "Peer Reviews Appear Anonymously" setting allows you to hide the name of the student reviewer from the student with the submission. The reviewer cannot see the name of the assigned person whose work is to be reviewed, and the student who submitted the assignment cannot view names associated with any comments. While this setting ensures anonymous feedback, Canvas's DocViewer does not support anonymous comments, so it cannot be used for annotated feedback on assignments with anonymous peer reviews.

The root cause of the disabled inline annotation tools in SpeedGrader is the "Peer Reviews Appear Anonymously" setting. When enabled, it maintains the anonymity of comments on the submission, which conflicts with Canvas's DocViewer's inability to support anonymous comments. This results in the automatic disabling of the inline annotation tools to uphold reviewer anonymity, leading to the observed issue.

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Article ID: 113610
Thu 8/3/23 3:19 PM
Thu 1/25/24 9:56 AM