Pasting text from Microsoft Applications (Word, Outlook, Entourage, Excel) into Blackboard

As an instructor on a Blackboard course, you may sometimes experience problems viewing text that has been pasted directly from Microsoft Word or other Office products directly into Blackboard. Microsoft Word creates all sorts of extra code that makes it nearly impossible to clean up once it has been put into Blackboard and in some cases can cause error messages. This practice can result in problems ranging from text not being viewable by students, to errors in the Discussion Board, to corruption of Test/Survey questions, to strangely formatted text/unusual symbols, etc.

The cause of this issue is hidden formatting code that is included when using the copy/paste feature from Microsoft Office products. This “bad HTML code” must be removed prior to pasting into Blackboard.

Option 1: Use the “HTML source” button
To avoid this issue, use the “Toggle HTML source” button when pasting content from Microsoft Office in the text editor in Blackboard:

Toggle to HTML Source
The “HTML source” option completely removes any problematic HTML code that may be incompatible with the Blackboard application. You will then need to toggle back to the visual editor in Blackboard (by clicking the same button highlighted above) to change the formatting and font styles.

Option 2: Paste into a text editor and then into Blackboard (For PC Users)
If you are a PC user, we would recommend that if you want to copy and paste text from Microsoft Word into Blackboard, that you copy your text, and then paste from your Microsoft application (e.g. Word, Outlook or Excel) into Notepad (available under the Accessories option in the Start Menu > All Programs> Accessories > Notepad). This action will remove the formatting codes.

Once you have pasted the text into Notepad, simply copy it again  (or push CTRL+A on the keyboard to select all) and paste into the desired Blackboard textbox editor.

Notepad strips the code and formatting so that you can then use the visual editor in Blackboard to change the formatting and font styles. Using the process of “cleaning” your clipboard text of Microsoft Word formatting takes longer but it is very helpful in preventing issues that may occur.

Option 2: Paste into a text editor and then into Blackboard (For Mac Users)
If you are a Mac user, you’ll want to use TextEdit (found in your Applications folder). To get plain text, paste your text into TextEdit and then select Format and select Make Plain Text.

Plain Text

Once you have made it plain text, simply copy it again and paste into the desired Blackboard textbox editor. You can then use the visual editor in Blackboard to change the formatting and font styles.

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One Response to Pasting text from Microsoft Applications (Word, Outlook, Entourage, Excel) into Blackboard

  1. Pingback: What’s new in Blackboard at NUIG? Part 1 | blackboardnuigalway

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