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Blackboard Help

Content Editor

The content editor is a platform-independent WYSIWYG editor based on TinyMCE and licensed as Open Source under LGPL from Moxiecode Systems AB. The content editor has a large number of new and enhanced features and serves as a replacement for the old text editor.

The content editor allows users to create professional, vibrant content wherever they can create blocks of text. To learn more, see Content Editor.

Summary of features in the content editor:

  • Supported on nearly every major web browser currently available.
  • Lightweight editing engine is much smaller and faster to load than most other web-based HTML editors.
  • Users can switch at will between a compact single-line action bar containing only the basic formatting functions, or an expanded action bar containing every available function.
  • List numbering and bullet choices.
  • Symbols, block quotes, horizontal rules, and emoticons.
  • HTML and CSS (cascading style sheet) editing capabilities.
  • Advanced table creation and editing controls.
  • Advanced presentation and formatting controls for added objects.
  • Expanded support for different file formats, including graphic images, media, mashup objects, and more.
  • A single powerful but easy-to-use visual mathematics editor, the WIRIS Formula Editor, replacing both WebEQ and MathML.
  • Multi-language support both within the content editor itself, as well as the ability to load custom spell check dictionaries based on the myspell/hunspell dictionary format.

Your institution is responsible for licensing for any uploaded dictionaries.

Content Editor Feature Availability

To set the availability of the spell check and math editor features, on the Administrator Panel in the Tools and Utilities section, click Tools. The Tools page appears.

Both Math Editor and Spell Check availability can be set as follows:

  • System Tool: Always On or Always Off
  • Course Tool: Always On, Always Off, Default On, or Default Off
  • Organization Tool: Always On, Always Off, Default On, or Default Off

The Math Editor and Spell Check features are not available to guest users or observers.

Configuring the Math Editor Image Service

The WIRIS Formula Editor is a fully-featured mathematics editor which can enable users to compose formulas using a simple visual editing tool, and then embed these equations in the content as high-quality, compact .png images.

To configure the Math Editor Image Service, on the Administrator Panel in the Tools and Utilities section, click Math Editor Image Service.

The Math Editor Image Service page appears.

  • Service Protocol: Select HTTP (unsecured) or HTTPS (secured).
  • Host: Host name (should be the same as the server on which Blackboard Learn is installed).
  • Image Service Port: The port number used (80 is the default).
  • Service Path: The directory location on the host where math image files are rendered.
  • Codebase Path: The directory location on the host where the math image service applet files are installed.

To learn more about taccessibility and he Math Editor, created by WIRIS, visit Accessibility in the WIRIS Editor.

Add and Manage Spell Check Dictionaries

Spell check is available in most areas where users can add blocks of text. It includes a full English and Spanish dictionary.

Find a Dictionary

Blackboard Learn supports any dictionary that is formatted in the myspell or hunspell format. This gives you the option to choose from several different dictionaries in almost every language. A web search for myspell or hunspell will help you discover what options are available. For example, visit

A number of dictionaries with appropriate creative commons licensing work with the content editor spell check function. However, you may need to change the file extension to ZIP, open the package, and remove any hyphenation and thesaurus files included in the package. These files prevent the dictionary from loading into Blackboard. With only the spell check dictionaries in the ZIP file, upload the ZIP into Blackboard.

Add a Dictionary

To add or manage spell check dictionaries, access the Administrator Panel. In the Tools and Utilities section, click Spell Check Dictionaries. The Spell Check Dictionaries page shows the installed dictionaries and their currently configured availability in the system.

To add a spell check dictionary, click Add Dictionary on the action bar.

On the Add Dictionary page:

  1. Select Dictionary File: Use Browse My Computer or Browse Content Collection to locate the dictionary file you want to add. Valid dictionary formats include myspell and hunspell.
  2. Edit Properties: Type a Display Name for the dictionary, which will appear in the Spell Check drop-down list in the content editor when users click to select a different dictionary. Optionally, provide a dictionary Description.
  3. System Availability: Select Yes or No to determine whether the added dictionary will be available in the system.
  4. System Default: Select Yes to make the newly added dictionary the system default, or No to set it as just a choice.
  5. Click Submit to add the dictionary or Cancel to abort.

To manage an installed spell check dictionary, access a dictionary's contextual menu, and click Manage. On the Edit Dictionary page, you can change the installed dictionary file, as well as change any of the installation settings—properties, availability, and system default.

To delete an installed spell check dictionary, access a dictionary's contextual menu and click Delete.

Add New Fonts to the Content Editor

You can add new font faces to the content editor expanding the ways text appears to users in a course. For example, you can add a special font face called Open Dyslexic to help students read more accurately. You can also add Greek and Hebrew fonts available from so students can type with special characters in these languages. Adding font faces to the content editor provides new ways to format text anywhere in Blackboard Learn where the content editor appears.

A little planning and preparation ahead of time will ensure students and teachers can see and use new fonts in the content editor after you add them. All end users must have the fonts installed on their local computers. In some cases, users need to set the default font in their browsers to see new fonts. Before you add new fonts:

  • Provide a way for users to download the fonts. You can provide links to download sites on the Internet or make the files available through the Content Collection.
  • Provide clear instructions for Mac and PC users on how to install new fonts on their computers.
  • Provide clear instructions for setting default fonts in Blackboard supported browsers.

Once you have all your resources in place, you are ready to add fonts to the content editor. This is done by copying and editing a language pack. Language packs control all the text that appears in the Blackboard user interface. For instructions on how to add new font face options to a language pack, see Adding a New Font Face to the Content Editor.

After the new language pack has been edited and added back to Blackboard, you need to make it available in the system so students and teachers can select it for use in their courses. If you are not setting your edited language pack as the system default, provide your end users with instructions on how to set their course language pack preferences.

Adding new font faces to the Blackboard Learn content editor enhances the teaching and learning experience. New fonts stimulate creativity, provide ways to use other languages, and help your users read more accurately.

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