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Each course can have its own glossary of terms. Each entry consists of a term and an accompanying definition. You and your institution control if the glossary tool is available.

About Creating a Glossary

If you plan to build a large glossary, you can upload a file containing all, or most of the terms, and then update the glossary by manually adding more terms. This is the most efficient way to create a large glossary for a course.

Manually adding individual glossary terms is especially useful for a short glossary consisting of a few terms or for updating terms in an existing glossary.

Use the check spelling function to make sure there are no misspellings in your terms and definitions.

About Uploading a Glossary File

To create a glossary file for uploading, type the terms and definitions in spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft® Excel®. Files must have one term and one definition per line, with the term in one column and the definition in the next column. Save the file as CSV (comma separated values).

Alternatively, you may use a simple text editor to create your glossary file. With one entry per line, separate the term from the definition by a comma or by a tab. Next, save the file in CSV format or TXT format.

After you create your glossary file, upload it using the glossary tool. You have the option to either update an existing glossary or replace it altogether. After the glossary has been uploaded, you can make further updates by adding terms manually or uploading another file.

If duplicate terms are in the uploaded file, they will replace those in the existing glossary.

Glossary File Format

Within the CSV file, each entry is separated by a hard return and the term and the definition are separated by a comma. For example:

"Apple","A red fruit."

"Onion", "A vegetable."

Although it is not always necessary to enclose the term and the definition in quotation marks, Blackboard strongly recommends this practice to avoid processing errors.


"Apple","A delicious fruit, usually <b>red</b> in color. Apples are grown all over the world and are an important religious and mythical symbol to several cultures. The Pacific Northwest region of the United States, particularly Washington state, is famous for its apples.<br><br> However, most refined apple lovers agree that the best apples come from the Hudson River valley area of New York. Perhaps this is why New York City is nicknamed, ""The Big Apple."""

"Onion","Onions are a tasty vegetable with green stalks and a white, yellow, or red bulb. For the best-tasting Onions, visit the \"Onion Capital of the World\" Pine Island, New York."

Quotation marks that appear in a definition or a term must be escaped. This means that the quotation mark must be identified as part of the definition or the mark will be read as the end of the definition. Quotation marks may be escaped using a backslash (\") or another set of quotation marks ("").

Batch Files

Batch files are TXT files that hold large quantities of information to upload to the system. Each batch utility contains specific instructions on creating the batch file. The following batch file standards are universal.

  • Each file must be one of the supported file types: CSV or TXT.

    Microsoft Excel versions 2003 and later automatically insert double quotes in each field if the worksheet is saved as a CSV file.

  • Each file must be in DOS format. Files in MAC or UNIX format must be converted to DOS.
  • Each field must be enclosed in double quotation marks. For example: "ENG_201"
  • If quotation marks appear in a field, use an escape character to indicate that the next character does not mark the end of the field. The escape character is a backslash (\). For example: "\"ENG_201\""
  • Each field must be separated with one of the following delimiters: comma, colon, or tab. When selecting AUTO, only one type of delimiter may be used in each batch file. For example: "ENG_201","English Literature" or " "ENG_201":"English Literature"
  • Each record must be on a separate line. For example:

    "ENG_201","English Literature"

    "ENG_201","English Literature"

  • Do not include blank lines between records. The blank line will be processed and return an error.
  • Blackboard recommends that each batch file not exceed 500 records because of timeout restrictions associated with most browsers.

How to Upload a Glossary File

  1. Access the glossary using the default Tools link on the course menu.


    On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and select Glossary.

  2. On the Glossary page, click Upload Glossary from the Upload/Download drop-down list.
  3. On the Upload Glossary page, browse to locate the file.
  4. Select one of the Save Current Terms options.
    • Add the Terms in this File to the Glossary: Select this option to supplement the existing glossary with a list of new terms. If a term appears in both the existing glossary and the file, the definition in the file will replace the definition in the existing glossary. If the same term appears two or more times in the file, the last definition for the term will appear in the glossary.
    • Delete all Glossary Terms and Replace with the Terms in this File: Select this option to delete the existing glossary and replace it with the terms in the upload file.
  5. Click Submit.

Temporarily change Edit Mode to OFF and view the glossary to make sure the terms are correct before making it available to students.

How to Create a Glossary Term

  1. Access the glossary using the default Tools link on the course menu.


    On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and select Glossary.

  2. On the Glossary page, click Create Term.
  3. On the Create Term page, type the Term.
  4. Type the Definition in the box.

    Use the spell checker function in the content editor to make sure no misspellings exist in your definition.

  5. Click Submit.

How to Download a Glossary

Downloading a glossary creates a comma separated values data file (CSV) of the glossary. Each entry is separated by a hard return and within each entry the term and the definition are separated by a comma.

Downloading a glossary is useful for adding terms to another course. You can edit the glossary offline and then upload it to another course.

  1. On the Glossary page, click Download Glossary from the Upload/Download drop-down list.

  2. On the Download Glossary page, click Download.

  3. On the pop-up window, select Save As and click OK to save the glossary file to your computer.

  4. The glossary may be edited in a spreadsheet program such as Excel or in a text editor such as Notepad and then uploaded to the glossary. Make sure to keep the formatting of the file intact to ensure a smooth upload.

How to Add a Glossary Link to the Course Menu

If you want students to access the glossary often, you can add a link to the course menu for one-click access to the tool. You can customize the name of the link.

  1. Change Edit Mode to ON and point to the plus sign above the course menu. The Add Menu Item drop-down list appears.
  2. Select Tool Link.
  3. Type a Name for the link.
  4. From the Type drop-down list, select Glossary.
  5. Select the Available to Users check box.
  6. Click Submit.


The new tool link appears last in the course menu list. Press and drag the arrows icon to move the link into a new position. Access the link's contextual menu to rename, delete, or hide the link from students.