Blackboard 9.1 Feature Spotlight: Paste from Word

Filed in How-to, Interesting Technologies by on February 16, 2012

So you’ve toiled on a lengthy piece of text, and now you’d like to make this available to your students as a new announcement, content item, or threaded discussion in your Blackboard 9.1 site.  And let’s say you’ve really outdone yourself this time, too.  Using Microsoft Word, your page looks like a veritable Mona Lisa of formatting.  You finally got the margins where you want them, and your multi-tiered lists show your students exactly what they should be working on.

With your assignment all set, you just have to copy and paste it into your Blackboard 9 course site, and…

 

Uh oh.

Uh oh.

Sometimes, copy and paste doesn’t “cut” it when it comes to Blackboard.  Why?  Blackboard software interprets HTML in order to properly format its text.  When you directly copy and paste from Microsoft Word into another application, it’s trying to take the Microsoft formatting HTML straight from the source right with the text.  And Microsoft Word sure does like to create bloated code.

Messy HTML from Microsoft Word

Here’s a screenshot that shows some Microsoft Word HTML.  Not too pretty, huh?

This clunky code doesn’t translate well into Blackboard’s enhanced text editor—sometimes, you’ll end up with bulleted points sticking off the edge while you’re trying to edit them, or your margins won’t quite be where you wanted them.

So how can we fix this?

Well, Blackboard 9.1 introduces a fantastic new “Mashup” feature that specializes in importing media directly into your course site.  In addition to things like YouTube clips, the “Paste from Word” feature allows you to bypass this entirely!

Here’s how you do it: on any text editor in Blackboard 9.1, just click on the “Mashup” button as shown below.  The dropdown menu should mention “Paste from Word.”

It's the far-right button on the bottom row.

Click on that, and you’ll see another pop-up. In this one, you’ll want to paste whatever parts of your Word Document that you need for your content area.  Then, you just have to click on the “Submit” button!

The "Paste from Word" tool in action.

Let’s look at that weird code from before, but this time, using “Paste from Word”:

Cleaner HTML that's easier for both you and Blackboard 9.1 to read!

And of course, it looks just like it should on the actual page!

The final appearance of your text.

Don’t hesitate to try this feature in Blackboard 9.1 if you use Microsoft Word a lot!

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