Visual Text Box Editor

About the Visual Text Box Editor

The Visual Text Box 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.

If the Visual Text Box Editor does not appear, first check the list of browsers below to ensure that the current browser is compatible. If it is, check that the Visual Text Box Editor is enabled through Personal Settings. If the Visual Text Box Editor still does not appear, it has most likely been disabled by the System Administrator.

Users who access the system through assistive technologies should use standard text entry options instead of the Visual Text Box Editor. Please see the previous topic, Entering Text, for more information.

 

Compatible Browsers

The Visual Text Box Editor is compatible with the following browsers on Windows Operating Systems:

The Visual Text Box Editor will not work with older versions of these browsers. Instead, the standard options for entering text will appear.

The Visual Text Box Editor is compatible with the following browsers on Macintosh Operating Systems:

When run on Safari, the Visual Text Box Editor Lite Version appears. The Lite Version does not include the button controls for several features because Safari does not yet support those rich-text editing features. Some features that are not accessible from a button in the Lite Version may still be activated using keyboard shortcuts. For example, the cut, copy, and paste functions may still be used through the keyboard shortcuts.  Macintosh users may also download and use the free Mozilla Firefox 1.0 (or higher)Web Browser to use all the features of the Text Box Editor.

Firefox users must perform an extra step to enable the cut, copy, and paste functions. The first time an attempt is made to cut, copy, or paste text in the Visual Text Box Editor, a message from Firefox will appear explaining that the action is not allowed. A link is provided for information on how to enable the cut, copy, and paste functions by editing a Firefox configuration file. The link currently points to http://www.mozilla.org/editor/midasdemo/securityprefs.html. Please check with Firefox for the most up-to-date information on using rich-text tools for cut, copy, and paste. Macintosh users may find that this does not fully resolve the problem, particularly because Fireflox does not permit pasting text from Microsoft Office files on Mac. To accomplish this task, paste the text into a basic text editor, such as TextEdit or Notepad and then paste the text into the Visual Text Box Editor.

 

 Visual Text Box Editor Features

 

The Visual Text Box Editor has three collapsible rows of buttons. The tables below define the functions of each button and identifies if the button is available in the Lite Version that runs on the Safari browser.

 

First row basic actions

Button

Description

Lite Version?

Font Style

Select a style for the text. The options correspond to standard HTML Style types.

 

Font size

Select the size of the text.

 

Font

Select the font.

Y

Bold

Make selected text bold.

Y

Italics

Make selected text italics.

Y

Underline

Underline the selected text.

Y

Strikethrough

Display text with a horizontal line through the characters. For example, strikethrough.

 

Subscript

Display text on the same line but slightly above the current text. For example, 7th.

 

Superscript

Display text on the same line but slightly below the current text. For example, H20.

 

Align left

Align text to the left.

Y

Align Center

Align text in the center.

Y

Align Right

Align text to the right.

Y

Ordered list

Create a numbered list or add a numbered list item.

 

Unordered list

Create a bulleted list or add a bullet list item.

 

Decrease Indent

Move text left.

 

Increase Indent

Move text right.

 

 

Second Row Additional Basic Actions

Button

Description

Lite Version?

Spell Check

Select the ABC checkmark to open Spell Check.

Y

Cut     

Cut the selected items.

 

 

Copy  

Copy the selected items.

 

 

Paste 

Paste copied or cut content.

 

 

Clear Formatting

Removes formatting tags that are shown in the Pathfinder at the bottom of the text box. Highlight the formatting tag to delete in the Pathfinder and then click Clear Formatting to remove. This is useful when copying and pasting text from another application yields discrepancies in formatting.

 

Undo

Select the circular arrow pointing to the left to undo the previous action.

Y

Redo

Select the circular arrow pointing to the right to redo the previous action.

Y

Hyperlink

Add a hyperlink. Types include: file, ftp, gopher, http, https, mailto, news, telnet, and wais. Please keep in mind that when creating a hyperlink, the text that appears on the page is separate from the information about the link. Information on where the link points is stored in a tag that surrounds the text. Therefore, it is possible to change the link without changing the text that is displayed to users. Please be careful when constructing links to ensure that the text is consistent with where users will be taken when they click the link.

 

Create Table

Add a table.

 

 

Horizontal Line

Add a line.

 

 

Background Color

Add a highlight color to the selected text.

Y

Text Color

Specify the color of the text.

 

Y

WebEQ Editor

Open the WebEQ Equation Editor icon (x) to add an equation. Equations cannot be added to a cell in a table. Instead, create the equation outside the table and then cut and paste the equation into the cell.

 

MathML Editor

Open the MathML Equation Editor icon to add an equation.

 

Preview

Preview the content as it will be seen by end users.

Y

HTML View

Toggle to view the HTML code that is generated by the Visual Text Box Editor. Users may also edit the HTML in this view. Click HTML view again to toggle back to the standard view.

 

 

The following table includes a description of some options specific to each type of file attachment. This row will only appear where it is possible to attach a file or link to a file in the Blackboard Content System.

 

Third row file attachment actions and special options

Button

Description

Lite Version?

Attach file

Add a file to the text area. The Insert Link to File page will appear.

  • Browse: select a file from the local machine

  • Link to Content Collection: select an item or folder from the Content Collection, if Content System integration is allowed.

  • Specify Source URL: provide a URL where the item is located.

  • Name of link to file: provide a descriptive name of the content is helpful for the user. This allows the user to read the link in context, rather than simply read the name of the file being linked to.

  • Launch in New Window: Select whether to open the file in the current window or open a new browser window to display the file.

 

Attach image

Add an image to the text area. The Insert Image page appears.

 

Attach MPEG/AVI            

Add MPEG/AVI media content to the text area. The Insert MPEG file page appears.

 

Add Quick Time

Add Apple QuickTime media to the text area. The Insert QuickTime File page appears.

 

Add audio         

Add an audio file, such as .mp3, .midi or .wav to the text area. The Insert Audio File page appears.

 

Add Flash/Shockwave             

Add Macromedia Flash or Shockwave media to the text area. The Insert SWF File page appears.

 

Attaching files in the Visual Text Box Editor

Users have the option of attaching different types of files to the Visual Text Box Editor. Do not copy and paste a file from one text box to another; this will cause errors. More information about the available options when adding a multimedia file can be found in the topic, Insert Multimedia File.

The table below explains which button in the Third Row of the Visual Text Box Editor is used to add different file types.

 

File attachment types

Attach file

.doc, .exe, .html, .htm, .pdf, .ppt, .pps, .txt, .wpd, .xls, .zip

Attach image

.gif, .jif, .jpg, .jpeg, .tiff, .wmf           

Attach MPEG/AVI

.avi, .mpg, .mpeg

Add Quick Time

.qt

Add audio         

.aiff, .asf, .moov, .mov, .mp, .wav, .wma, .wmv

Add Flash/Shockwave

.swa, .swf

 

Keyboard shortcuts for the Visual Text Box Editor

The Visual Text Box Editor supports the keyboard shortcuts listed in the table below. Please note that Macintosh users should use the CMD key instead of the CTRL key.

 

Note: If the shortcut keys that move selected items one character left, right, up, or down are used, the object being moved will be absolutely positioned. An absolutely positioned element is determined by pixels, so moving it up once will move it up one pixel.

 

Keyboard Shortcuts

Movement

RIGHT ARROW

Move one character to the right.

LEFT ARROW

Move one character to the left.

DOWN ARROW

Move down one line.

UP ARROW

Move up one line.

CTRL+RIGHT ARROW

MAC: CMD+RGT ARROW

Move right one word.

CTRL+LEFT ARROW

MAC: CMD+LFT ARROW

Move left one word.

END

Move to the end of the line.

HOME

Move to the start of the line.

CTRL+DOWN ARROW

MAC: CMD+DWN ARROW

Move down one paragraph.

CTRL+UP ARROW

MAC: CMD+UP ARROW

Move up one paragraph.

PAGE DOWN

Move down one page.

PAGE UP

Move up one page.

CTRL+HOME

MAC: CMD+HOME

Move to the beginning of the text.

CTRL+END

MAC: CMD+END

Move to the end of the text.

Selection

SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW

Extend the selection one character to the right.

SHIFT+LEFT ARROW

Extend the selection one character to the left.

CTRL+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW

MAC: CMD+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW

Extend the selection right one word.

CTRL+SHIFT+LEFT ARROW

MAC: CMD+SHIFT+LEFT ARROW

Extend the selection left one word.

SHIFT+UP ARROW

Extend the selection up one line.

SHIFT+DOWN ARROW

Extend the selection down one line.

SHIFT+END

Extend the selection to the end of the current line.

SHIFT+HOME

Extend the selection to the start of the current line.

SHIFT+PAGE DOWN

Extend the selection down one page.

SHIFT+PAGE UP

Extend the selection up one page.

CTRL+SHIFT+END

Extend the selection to the end of the document.

CTRL+SHIFT+HOME

MAC: CMD+SHIFT+HOME

Extend the selection to the beginning of the document.

CTRL+A

MAC: CMD+A

Select all elements in the document.

Editing

BACKSPACE

Delete the selection. Or, if there is no selection, delete the character to the left of the cursor.

CTRL+BACKSPACE

MAC: CMD+BACKSPACE

Delete all of a word to the left of the cursor.

CTRL+C

MAC: CMD+C

Copy the selection.

CTRL+V

MAC: CMD+V

Paste cut contents or copied contents.

CTRL+X

MAC: CMD+X

Cut the selection.

DELETE

Delete the selection.

INSERT

Toggle between inserting and overwriting text.

CTRL+Z

MAC: CMD+Z

Undo the most recent formatting command.

CTRL+Y

MAC: CMD+Y

Re-do the most recent undone command.

CTRL+F

MAC: CMD+F

Find text.

SHIFT+F10

Display the context menu. This is the same as a right-click.

Formatting

CTRL+B

MAC: CMD+B

Toggle bold formatting.

CTRL+I

MAC: CMD+I

Toggle italic formatting.

CTRL+U

MAC: CMD+U

Toggle underlining.

 

Missing image detection in the Text Box Editors

Missing Image Detection functionality is available  when a user:

Missing image detection functionality does not apply when a user:

 

Note:  Images are stored in HTML using the following syntax: <img scr="http://image_path">. The source location should be inside double of single quotations.

 

Differences between Text Box Editor and Visual Text Box Editor

The Text Box Editor and Visual Text Box Editor both allow the entry of formatted text in the Blackboard Academic Suite.

The Text Box Editor allows Plain Text, Smart Text and HTML formatting. The Visual Text Box Editor allows users to modify content in an interface resembling a word processor, and perform basic HTML functions without knowledge of any HTML. These features include creating tables, bulleted lists, hyperlinks, horizontal lines, and more. Users may also format text and paragraphs, and upload multimedia files in the Visual Text Box Editor. Both editors may include WebEQ, MathML and SpellCheck features.