Working with Files
Your instructors post course materials to Blackboard as electronic files. They can post files of almost any type, including files created in Word, WordPerfect, PowerPoint, Excel, or Adobe Acrobat.
1. To open a document, locate the file you wish to open and click on the blue underlined link, which is usually the name of the document.
2. The document should open automatically. If not, you will be prompted to open or save the file. Clicking Open allows the document to be viewed directly in your browser.
You must have either the program the document was created in (e.g. Microsoft Word) installed on your computer or the compatible viewer to view the document in your browser. If the file is Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, and you do not own MS Office, you can download a free viewer from Microsoft Office Online File Converters and Viewers that will allow you to open, print, and download documents, but not edit. Because Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 use the same document type files, the 2007 File Converters and Viewers are still compatible with Office 2010.
It is a good idea to install the most recent versions of Flash, Quicktime, Windows Media Player, and Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF and any media files your instructor may have made available. For a full list of important plug-ins, players, and viewers you might want to have installed on your computer, visit Downloads and Plugins.
It is often more convenient to have your documents open in a new window. This allows you to more easily close windows and facilitates your navigation in Blackboard.
1. Right click on the link to the document.
2. Select the Open in New Window option.
3. The document will then open in a new browser window.
You can save a file your instructor has posted in Blackboard two ways. In a Loyola computing lab, make sure to save your files to a location other than the lab computer’s hard drive, e.g., a USB flash drive, because all files will be deleted when you log out.
1. Click the link to the file and choose Save or right-click on the file link and click Save Target As…
2. When the Save As dialog box appears, use the Save in drop down arrow and browse to a place you wish to save the file. For instance, to save the file to your USB flash drive, choose Removable Disk. The flash drive often does not show up the first time you try to save; if this happens, try saving again, and you should see your drive.
3. Click Save.
4. If you are using Microsoft Office 2010, and posting documents as attachments to make your documents easily accessible to more students and instructors you can click Save As… and save as an earlier version of Word, Excel, or Powerpoint.
You can print out PowerPoint presentations in a number of layouts; these directions help you print out a layout in notes view.
1. Save the PowerPoint file to the desktop, as described in "Saving a File" above.
2. Open the file from the desktop by double-clicking it.
3. Choose File > Print from the PowerPoint menu bar.
4. Under Settings, choose 3 slides. This layout creates space for notes next to each slide.
6. Click the large square Print button.
Why can’t I open the linked files?
Remember that you must have the right helper application installed on the computer you are using to access Blackboard (Word, Adobe Reader, PowerPoint) to open and read the files your instructor has posted on Blackboard. If you are certain you have the correct application, make sure your browser is updated. Visit Downloads and Plugins for the list of the latest browsers, plugins and viewers you will need to access your documents. If you are using a Blackboard-supported browser and are still experiencing trouble, try saving the file to your computer and opening it from your application.
If the file has been created in Office 2007 and saved with a 4-digit extension (the letters at the end of the file name, after the dot), you will need to either ask the creator of the file to save it in an earlier version of Office, or you will need to download the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Windows or the Microsoft File Format Converter for Mac. See the Loyola Tech Tip "How to Open Microsoft 2007 Files" for more information.
Why does it sometimes take a long time to download files from Blackboard?
There are many factors that affect the time it takes to download files from Blackboard, including varying Internet speeds (home and on campus, dependent on traffic), the health and well-being of the Blackboard servers, and the size of the document you are trying to download. A typical Word document is 120KB and takes just a few seconds with a DSL connection. However, a 10MB audio file would take more than a minute with the same connection.
I’m a Mac user. Why can’t my instructor and classmates read the files I’ve uploaded?
The Mac OS does not always automatically add extensions to MS Office files when they are saved (for example, .doc for Word, .ppt for PowerPoint). You will need to make sure that the "Append File Extension" box is checked when you save Word and PowerPoint files. See the Loyola Tech Tip "Sharing Files between Mac and PC" for further instructions.
How do I upload files to Blackboard?
Go to Submitting an Assignment to learn how to submit work via the assignment tool.
NOTE: There are some characters that are not allowed in filenames on Blackboard, and using them will result in your instructor not being able to view your file. Here is a list of allowed characters for filenames: A-Z, a-z,1-9, "-" dash and "_" underscore (leave out the quotes).