The Create Items feature allows you to add content to your course site. AT it’s basic an Item appears much like a Microsoft Word document web page. It can include text – which can be formatted like a Microsoft word document, links to websites and other internet content, images and tables. Files can also be uploaded to an item in their original format (such as .doc or .pdf or .ppt documents) and when students click on the link created, the files are downloaded to the student’s computer (these files will open in their browser depending on the browser used and the computer setup).

Note: Because Blackboard is cross platform (works on Macs and PC’s) all files should have a three letter file extension (such as .doc or .pdf or .ppt), which designates its file type. To prevent conflicts, file names should contain no spaces or special characters except the underscore (_) and only one dot/full stop [.] before the file extension (ex: HomeWork_One.doc)

Create an Item

1. Click on a desired Content Area in your course menu (Course Documents, Assignments, etc…).

2. Click the Build Content button.


3. Click ‘Item‘ under the Create header

4. Enter a name for the document into the Name field.

5. Enter a description into the Text field or enter text content.

The Content Editor

The visual text editor presents controls for entering and formatting text, equations, and multimedia files. When it is enabled, it appears throughout the system as the default editor when adding text through a text box. Options include functions to create tables, insert links, embed images and videos, and preview changes.


Embed hyperlinks: To add a hyperlink (web link) to text in an item. Highlight the text that you want to become the hyperlink and click the link icon insertlink,

content editor

when prompted add the web address to the hyperlink, and click the insert button.

insert hyperlink panel

Embed images: To embed an image in an item. Click the Insert/Edit Image icon inserteditimage

content editor

Use the Browse My Computer button to select the image file from your computer, click Insert to embed the image in the item.

browse button
Important note: you must refer to our copyright guidelines before you embed images in your Blackboard pages.

Embed files: To embed a file (e.g. .docx, .pptx, .pdf.) in an item. Click the Insert File icon insertfile,

insert file button

use the Browse My Computer button to select the file from your computer, and click the Submit button.

browse button

About Smart Text, Plain Text, and HTML

Blackboard offers options for Smart Text, Plain Text, and HTML. Note that these options will only be visible if the visual text editor is turned OFF. NOTE: Changing between modes (on/off) could result in losing unsaved changes on the page, so please save and return to editing an item if you want to switch from the Visual Text Editor to another method of text entry.

  • Smart Text enables you type or paste in HTML or text; Blackboard will treat markup elements (e.g., <b></b>) as HTML formatting.
  • Plain Text should be selected if you want HTML tags (i.e., “<” and “>”) to be ignored.
  • The HTML option should be used if you’re typing or pasting only HTML coded text into Blackboard. This option, in contrast to Smart Text, will ignore line and paragraph breaks that aren’t delimited by HTML tags.

Attaching Files

You can attach files to an item:

Browse My Computer – Browse your computer and select a file.

Browse Course Files – This tool allows you to attach a file, such as a Word document or PowerPoint, which resides within the content collection system. More information on Course Files

Standard Options Section

Do you want to permit users to view the content item?
By selecting yes, you are allowing your students to see the document. Typically, documents are made “invisible” when you don’t want students to access them yet. You can change this at any time.

Do you want to track number of views?
This option lets you track how often individual users view the document.

Select Date and Time Restrictions
This option lets you set the dates that the document will be visible and invisible. This automates the “permit users to view the content item” option.

6. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Submit button.


Q: What kinds of documents can I upload to Blackboard?
A: Uploading just means putting your document onto the Blackboard server. You can upload just about any file type to Blackboard, however the type of document that you upload affects how your students can view it. If you upload documents that were created and saved in specific software programs (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.), your students will have to have that particular software installed on their computer to view the documents.

For example, if you upload a PowerPoint document (as a .ppt or .pps), your students will have to download the file and then open it in PowerPoint or the PowerPoint viewer on their computer. However, if you save your files as HTML and then upload them to Blackboard, the students can view the documents directly on screen from within Blackboard.

Q: How fast (or slow) will my files be downloaded?
A: When developing your course materials, remember that students, if accessing the course materials from an ‘off-campus’ computer may not have a particularly fast internet connection. Files should be kept small enough so users with slower connections will still be able to access the files in a reasonable amount of time. If you cannot keep the file size down, an alternative is to use the text field in the Add Item area to provide the student with information describing what the file is, how large it is, and why it is important that they view it. Often, simply letting a student know that the download may take longer than usual will diffuse any frustration associated with the long process. Keep in mind that download time can also vary based on Internet traffic (at certain times of the day the internet may slow down)