Blackboard supported browsers -- choice and setup
Blackboard Browser Support and Setup
The most important factor in using Blackboard is making sure that you have the right browser version. If the tests above reported that your browser was not compatible with Blackboard, you need to update your browser version. Blackboard officially certifies various browsers; for BB release 9.1 SP10 (the version of Blackboard installed at the UO as of (Winter 2013) see "Blackboard 9.1 SP 10 Supported Browsers." However, we've found that the official Blackboard list is often outdated or wrong. If you have a browser-related problem it's a good idea to retry using a different browser.
As of February 2013, we recommend and attempt to provide assistance with:
|Operating system||Hardware||Recommended Browser||Notes|
|Windows 7||PC||most recent Firefox or Chrome;
|Upgrade IE 7 or 8. Use the latest release version of Firefox (19.0 as of 2/19/13) or Chrome (24.0 as of 2/19/13).|
XP (SP 3)
Vista (SP 2)
|PC||most recent Firefox or Chrome;
|Avoid Internet Explorer.|
|MacOS 10.5||Mac||Safari 5.0;
most recent Firefox or Chrome
|Upgrade Safari 4 and Firefox 2 - 3.6.
Tiger (10.4) is not supported; please upgrade.
|MacOS 10.6, 10.7, 10.8||Mac||Safari 5.1.7 or later;
most recent Firefox or Chrome
|The latest version of Safari, Firefox, or Chrome are all recommended.|
|Linux||any||Latest version of Firefox
|Linux not supported but mostly works.|
For PC users, Windows 7 and the most recent non-beta version of Firefox are the best tested and most reliable browser/OS combination. The latest versions of IE 9 and Chrome seem to work reliably as well.
For Mac users, Snow Leopard (10.6.8), with Safari 5.1 or the most recent version of Firefox or Chrome are all good choices.
We have not fully tested MacOS 10.7 Lion, but believe that the latest version of Safari 6.0 is likely to be the best option.
We do not recommend using Blackboard with old browsers or with Safari on iPad.
Update your software
Update your OS
It is very important for both security and functionality that you update your system software (including Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari) regularly:
- PC users: regularly visit Windows Update or set your system to automatically run Automatic Updates. To turn on Automatic Updates: (1) Click Start, and then Control Panel. Find "System," which may be categorized under Performance and Maintenance. (2) Click System, and then click the Automatic Updates tab. (3) Click the option that you want. Make sure Automatic Updates is not turned off. We recommend that if possible all Windows users upgrade to Windows 7.
- Mac users: run Software Update... from the Apple menu. Mac users who are still running 10.4 (Tiger) or earlier versions of Mac OS should upgrade to Leopard (10.5) or Snow Leopard (10.6) and then use Software Update to get the latest version.
Update your browser
Safari and IE are updated as part of the OS update process. If you have a recent version of Firefox or Chrome they will update automatically when you run them.
|Both Mac and PC users can get the latest version of Firefox on the web at www.mozilla.com.|
Update your Applications and plugins
It is also vital to regularly update your browser plugin applications, especially
- Adobe Reader (needed only on Windows)
- Adobe Flash Player (if you have it installed)
You will probably also need applications that allow you to view and edit Microsoft Office documents. If you have Office installed, make sure it's up to date too. If you don't have Office, you can get by with iWork (Mac, including Pages, Numbers, and Keynote), or OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice (Mac or PC, these are free MS Office alternatives).
Check your settings
Use workarounds for common problems
Firefox 11 and later mostly work on Macs. If you attempt to view a PDF file and get a grey box with a message about missing plugins at the top of the window, install the PDF Browser Plugin but also ask your professor to fix the blackboard site. If your Mac Firefox produces a white screen instead of displaying the PDF file, disable the Adobe Acrobat NPAPI plugin.
One annoyance with Firefox (both Mac and PC) is that it makes it difficult to copy and paste from other documents into the visual text box editor. If you get an error message "your browser does not allow web pages to cut, copy, or paste", then instead of using CTRL-V or APPLE-V to paste, use the menu item Edit→Paste.
Firefox sometimes displays scroll bars incorrectly when zoomed. Use View→Zoom→Reset (or Apple-0).
MS Internet Explorer 9 mostly works with Windows 7. Students attempting to view Office documents (e.g. MS Word .docx files) will usually get a dialog box asking if they want to view or save the file. Choose "save". The file will be written to your Downloads folder, where you can open it to view it if you have Office installed.
Occasionally with IE, when trying to view an Office document you'll get an extra password prompt, perhaps hidden behind the browser window. Re-enter your blackboard user name and password, then click "Save" to save a copy of the document to your hard disk where you can open it outside of the browser. You might even get the password prompt a second time. Reenter your username and password and click "OK" again.
Internet Explorer sometimes has problems displaying scroll bars. Make sure you are using default fonts in the Display control panel. Set your zoom level to 100% (CTRL-0).
One annoyance with Safari is that pressing the Return key in the visual textbox editor generally does not create a new paragraph, but instead simply goes to the next line. Selecting the text you want to make into a separate paragraph and changing its format from Normal to Heading 4 then back to Normal generally works.