Making Text Look Normal in Blackboard

man typing on laptopHave you ever pasted text into Blackboard and found that it just doesn’t look right? It might be that the font has changed, weird symbols have replaced some letters, background colors have suddenly appeared, or your spacing and lists are all wrong. It can be maddening when all you want to do is paste a simple string of text, but Blackboard can’t manage to display it properly. This is very common if you’re trying to paste text from Word, Google Docs, or a website. Heck, it even happens sometimes when you paste text from Blackboard into Blackboard.

Why is this happening?

There’s actually a simple reason this is happening, and it’s not that there’s something wrong with your computer. Most of the time, the text that you see on a web page or in a digital file isn’t just text. It’s actually a representation of one coding language or another that your browser or application interprets and displays as text. Google Docs, for example, probably uses a slightly different language than Blackboard’s text editor. And when you copy text from one source into another (such as from a Google Doc into Blackboard), some translation has to take place. But as tends to happen with translation, details don’t always carry over perfectly. That’s why your fonts might change, or why your formatting might look great in Word, but wonky in Blackboard.

How can we avoid this?

The good news is, there’s a way to avoid bad translations in the text editor. All you have to do is paste as “plain text.” Unlike formatted text, plain text really is just text. There’s no special code underneath. So when you copy plain text from one place and paste it into another, it won’t transform into something strange and unsightly. All you have to do is copy your text as you would normally, and then paste it by pressing the following keys at once: Cmd + Shift + V (Mac) or Ctrl + Shift + V (PC). That’s it. What you’ll get is simple, format-less text that you can then add to with bold, italics, headers, or lists.

Have any questions about how to do this, or how else to format your text in Blackboard? Let us know in the comments.

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