Troubleshooting Assignment Submission Problems

If you are experiencing technical difficulties when submitting assignments in your Blackboard course, please review these tips and resources.

Resolving Common Problems

If you are having trouble attaching and submitting a file, do the following to troubleshoot common issues:


Error Messages about File Format

Common File ExtensionsIf you experience error messages refering to your file's format, check your file to make sure it has the following characteristics and make corrections where necessary:

  • Does your file have a file extension assigned to it? (Example: .rtf, .doc, .html). If it does not, try renaming your file to include a file extension.
  • Does your file's name follow accepted naming conventions? File names must not contain blank spaces or special characters and must be less than 72 alphanumeric characters in length.

"Access Denied" Error Message When Trying to Submit an Assignment

Blackboard cannot upload any individual file larger than 250 MB. If your file is larger than 250 MB, you must reduce the file's size or consider alternate means of delivering the file to your instructor.

Reduce File Size by Optimizing your Document for the Web

Compress Your File in a ZIP Folder

Sending your file (or multiple files) to a zip folder will reduce the file’s size considerably through compression. Compressed files take up less storage space and can be transferred to other computers more quickly than uncompressed files. The zip compression process does not change the quality or nature of the file.

Creating a Compressed Zip FolderTo create a zip folder, simply right-click your mouse on the file name or file icon you want to compress. A context menu will appear. Roll your mouse over the "Send To" option and click the "Compressed (zipped) Folder" link from the second context menu that appears. A "compressing" window will appear and show you the progress of the files compression into the zip folder.

When the compression is complete, you will see a newly created zip folder with the name of your file (Example: Try submitting this compressed zip folder as your assignment file.


File Upload Failure Error

When using the Safari 11 web browser to upload files in Blackboard, students may experience a “failed to submit” error message. This is a known issue with a recent 2018 update to the Safari 11 web browser and its compatibility with Blackboard.

If you experience this error message, please use a different web browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. File uploads will be successful in Blackboard when using one of these browsers.


Document Preview Not Working

When a supported document type is submitted, the assignment tool should display a preview of the file within a Box View preview window. Box View is a web-based document preview service that creates an approximation of an original document’s format, fonts, and layout. It supports over 100 file types, including most MS Office documents, PDF, images, audio, video, and html files.

Example of Box View Preview of Submitted File

If a file conversion message appears, click your browser's refresh button or push F5 on your keyboard to refresh the page. After the page refreshes,the previewed document should appear.

Example of File Conversion Message in Box View

If nothing appears in Box View at all, enable third party cookies in your web browser. This will allow Box View to display a preview of your submitted file.

Instructor Can't Open a Submitted File

If your instructor can't open your file, please check your file to ensure that it is not a ~$ temp file and that the file has a valid extension. If you can open the file on your computer, save the file using a different name and send the new file to the instructor.

If you have created your file using Apple Pages, Open Office, or Google Docs, make sure you have saved or exported the file in a format that can be opened by the instructor, such as a Word .docx or .rtf file.