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Canvas@Illinois, Enable the New DesignPLUS Sidebar

This article describes how to enable the new DesignPLUS Sidebar in Canvas and Canvas Catalog/Open Canvas.


The DesignPLUS Sidebar has recently been updated with a new interface, streamlined workflow, and additional functionality. The New DesignPLUS Sidebar can be enabled in Canvas@Illinois ( as well as Canvas Catalog/Open Canvas ( To access the new sidebar, you need to use a keyboard shortcut to change versions. 

How to Enable the New DesignPLUS Sidebar

To change your version of the DesignPLUS sidebar, you will need to do the following:

  1. In Canvas, ensure you are in edit mode on a page, assignment or discussion. 
  2. If the legacy DesignPLUS Sidebar is not open by default, you'll need to enable it with a keyboard shortcut:
    • Windows: Alt + Shift + D
    • Mac: Option + Shift + D
  3. With the legacy DesignPLUS Sidebar open, you'll use a similar keyboard shortcut to change versions but use "V" (for "version"):
    • Windows: Alt + Shift + V
    • Mac: Option + Shift + V
  4. You'll see a pop up message asking you to confirm if you want to reload the page with the new sidebar. Select OK and the page will reload.
    Pop up message asking if user wants to reload the page with the new sidebar with red arrow pointing toward the OK button
  5. Once the page reloads, you'll need to enable the new sidebar with the original keyboard shortcut:
    • Windows: Alt + Shift + D
    • Mac: Option + Shift + D
  6. Select the rocket ship icon in the top right corner of your screen to expand the sidebar.
    DesignPLUS rocket ship icon
  7. You'll now see the new sidebar and can start building your content!
    Canvas page with a red arrow pointing to the New DesignPLUS Sidebar

Need to Switch Back to the Legacy Sidebar?

If you need or want to switch back to the legacy sidebar, you can! Because we currently allow for version switching, you'll just need to use the "version" shortcut again (Alt/Option + Shift + V). That will prompt a refresh of the page. You may need to enter the regular shortcut again (Alt/Option + Shift + D), and you'll be good to go!

Accessibility of the New DesignPLUS Sidebar

For users building content, some accessibility issues were identified in certain components of the New DesignPLUS Sidebar. For additional information, please see the Canvas@Illinois, New DesignPLUS Sidebar Alternative Access Plan Knowledgebase article.

KeywordsCanvas, DesignPLUS, sidebar, canvas catalog, new sidebar, new DesignPLUS sidebar   Doc ID135680
OwnerRachel M.GroupUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Created2024-02-23 15:01:49Updated2024-04-11 16:14:57
SitesUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
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