Blackboard Tests: Removing unintentional text formatting

When you are creating a Blackboard Test, if you copy and paste text from Word or a website, you will inadvertently bring in a lot of formatting information, as well as the text itself.

At the very least, this can look ugly, with a mix of fonts and font sizes. In the worst cases, the text will display to students in such a way that answering the question becomes difficult.

test with formatting issues

These oddities are not always immediately apparent when creating the test, so it is always worth previewing the test before making it available to students.
However these formatting idiosyncrasies may only become visible with a specific combination of device, operating system, browser and screen resolution.

The best way to avoid such problems altogether is to

  • write questions and answers directly in Blackboard
  • or copy your text from Word into Notebook, and then into Blackboard, thus stripping out everything but the plain text.


Removing formatting from an existing test

If a test has already been made available to students, you can edit the test from here.

edit a Blackboard Test

Or go via Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Tests.

If students have already submitted to the test, Blackboard will issue warnings about editing the test. However you can ignore these warnings if you are making only cosmetic changes.

Locate the questions and/or answers which need to be edited.

To remove formatting from a test question, you can use the eraser icon.

editing toolbar - remove formatting icon

Unfortunately, when editing test answers, this icon is not visible by default. You have to switch to full screen view before the icon is visible.

Test answer editing toolbar - view full screen

You can then use the Remove Formatting tool (eraser icon). Click on the Full Screen icon again to return to the normal view.

Test answer editing toolbar - full screen view

That procedure has to be repeated for each answer, so a quicker route is to use the HTML code view.

  1. Select the answer text and then press Ctrl+C to copy the text.
  2. Click on the HTML icon.
    Test answer editing toolbar - view html code
  3. A new small window opens, showing the HTML code. Select all of the code in this window.
    html code view
  4. Press Ctrl+V to paste the answer text.
  5. Press Update to close this window and return to the main editing screen.
  6. Repeat the procedure for all answers, then press Submit.