Blackboard / Faculty Support

Content Editor Updates

Blackboard introduced a new Content Editor on November 5th 2020. The new editor has an updated visual look and includes new features.

Toolbar Overview

Wherever you have the option to edit text in Blackboard, you see essentially the same Content Editor.

New Blackboard Content Editor Toolbar
The toolbar is fully responsive and will adapt to the screen size. Functions included in the toolbar are:

Buttons for Formatting Text

Formatting button for bold italics underline and strikethrough
Formatting button for text alignment
Formatting button indentation superscript and subscript
  • Make text bold, italic, underlined or strikethrough.
  • Align text to the left, center, right and justified.
  • Indent text and Superscript or Subscript formatting options.
  • Insert bulleted or numbered lists.

Buttons for Adding Links and Content

Add hyperlink buttonAdd content button

Source code button to display HTML code of the page

Math and science editor button

Insert symbols or special characters and emjois buttons

  • Insert links to files or to web pages.  When pasting links to websites such as YouTube, the videos are automatically embedded for inline playback.
  • Upload images, audio or video files. More details on adding this type of content.
  • Embed content from some third party tools using the embed code from the tools share options.
  • Open a pop up Mathematical and Scientific Editor for writing equations etc.
  • Insert symbols or emojis

Using appropriate formatting can make content more engaging and/or easier to read.  For instance: the use of relevant images to break up pages of text; the use of bulleted lists to present information more clearly. It is also important for Assistive Technologies. The New Accessibility Checker will highlight areas of formatting which could be improved for this reason.

New Features

Accessibility Checker

Accessibility checker tool icon
Before submitting your changes click on the Accessibility Checker. This will show any issues with, for example, images without alternative text, colored text contrast ratio, and the lack of formatting such as lists and headings, which are used by assistive technology.

The checker uses WCAG 2.0 guidelines.

Paste Content into Content editor with or without Formatting

As before you can paste directly from a webpage or document into the Content Editor using Ctrl+V. Now you will be asked if you would like to keep or remove the formatting:
Option to keep or remove formatting when pasting into content editor

  • Even when Remove Formatting is selected some formatting (headings, bold, italics) and links remain.
  • Under most circumstances, it is recommended that the Remove Formatting option is selected. This prevents incompatible code from websites and documents (like MS Word) from conflicting with pages in Blackboard.

Code Sample Tool

Code Sample tool icon
The new Code Sample tool allows code snippets to be displayed and properly formatted inline without being processed as actual code and removed for security reasons. There is an extensive list of program languages that this tool can display:

Language choices in code sample editor

Select the language you want, type or paste the script into the Code Sample tool and it will display formatted inline.
Code sample in editor


Expand the toolbar

Expand the toolbar

  • If you can see only one row of the toolbar, instead of the full three rows, click on the ellipsis on the right to expand it.

Edit in full screen mode

Open full screen mode

  • The toolbar at the top of the editing area may scroll off screen as you move lower on the page. Click the full screen button to open an editing mode that keeps the toolbar at the top of the page. Exit the full screen editing mode when you are ready to save and submit your work, as these buttons may not be visible while in full screen mode.

Avoid excessive formatting

Use the Styles dropdown to apply formatting

  • Please avoid excessive formatting – e.g. the use of multiple fonts and variously colored fonts – as this can be distracting for users and cause accessibility issues. To keep your documents usable and accessible, rely on the Styles dropdown menu to create headings.
  • In general we recommend you do not specify the font of text entered into Blackboard. The default styles applied by Blackboard should be responsive and accessible.

Remove unwanted formatting

Remove formatting from content

  • When you copy and paste content from Word or from another web page,  you will often bring in a lot of unnecessary formatting code. Even if it initially looks OK on the editing screen, when you view the item later it will often display incorrectly.
  • The toolbar has a tool for removing such formatting.

Inserting Mathematical and Scientific symbols

Launch the math editor

  • The Mathematics uses WIRIS MathType. For details please see using the (math editor image) Math Editor (Blackboard Help page).
  • The editor also allows you to insert symbols useful for Chemistry – see the Chemistry page on the MathType web site.
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