Formatting issues with Blackboard assignments

If you are an Instructor viewing or marking a Blackboard assignment, you will now see a message across the top of the ‘Mark assignment’ screen saying “The conversion process may have changed the spacing in this submission. You can still download the original file.”

This is a system message Blackboard have added for all clients. It appears on all submissions not just those that may be affected by formatting errors. Turnitin assignments are not affected.

Conversion process message

Banner in Blackboard about conversion process affecting formatting

Whilst most assignments submitted to Blackboard display correctly, occasionally formatting errors do occur, due to the way Blackboard converts documents. For example, the Digital Education Office has seen occasional cases where images do not appear or are misaligned. If you come across a paper you suspect has a formatting error, you can click the download icon and compare the online with the downloaded version (which will be in the originally submitted file format). When marking, you can refer to the downloaded version if you need to check an affected area.

If you need to record that a formatting issue has been noted, you can add a comment in the ‘Feedback to Learner’ box (for students) and/or the ‘Marking notes’ box (visible to staff only).

In some extremely rare cases, it is possible that the online paper is rendered unreadable; in this case, markers should download the original version. If adding feedback, you can either add this in a feedback file or type it in the ‘Feedback to Learner’ box.

How to download submission

Screenshot showing how to download files

How to add feedback to learner or marking notes

Screenshot showing how to add feedback

The Digital Education Office is continuing to work with Blackboard to identify ways to reduce the likelihood of formatting issues. Blackboard suggest PDF files will more reliably render correctly, so if a student does report a formatting issue with their Word submission, uploading a PDF version is another option.

If you have any questions or require further help, please contact

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