Bb Annotate replaced New Box View on August 10, 2020. The transition happened automatically. No additional configuration needs to happen.

Bb Annotate

You can use Bb Annotate for inline grading in both the Original Course and Ultra Course Views. Bb Annotate offers a more robust feature set to provide customizable feedback to students. Features include a sidebar summary view, freehand drawing tools, various color selections, and much more.

Bb Annotate grading workflow

On the Assignment Submission page, supported file types open in the browser. You can view and annotate these document types in the browser:

  • Microsoft® Word (DOC, DOCX)
  • Microsoft® PowerPoint®(PPT, PPTX)
  • Microsoft® Excel®(XLS, XLSX)
  • OpenOffice® Documents (ODS, ODT, ODP)
  • Digital Images (JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, TIFF, TGA, BMP, HEIC)
  • Source code (Java, PY, C, CPP, etc)
  • Medical Images (DICOM, DICM, DCM)
  • PDF
  • PSD
  • RTF
  • TXT
  • WPD

Office Suite Macros, such as Visual Basic, aren't supported.

Annotation sessions expire after one hour. You'll receive a warning message before your session expires. Your completed annotations, feedback, and files are saved on the page. When you return, you can resume working.

Animated gifs display only the first frame in the pdf viewer for annotation purposes. Download the submission to view the animated gif.

Original formatting and embedded images are preserved. If a student submitted an unsupported file, you're prompted to download it. Assignment submissions created through the editor aren't compatible with inline grading.

Bb Annotate is supported on current versions of Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari.

As part of the responsive design, the menu display changes based on the screen size. On medium and small screens, the Document View settings display the page number you're viewing. Annotation tools are stacked under the View Annotation Tools icon. On small screens, the Content Library is hidden.

Document View Settings

A. Sidebar: View Thumbnail, Outline, or Annotation views of the submission.

B. Pages: Use the arrows to jump to different pages in the submission.

C. Pan: Move the submission on the page.

D. Zoom and Fit: Zoom in and out of the submission or adjust the view to fit the page, fit the width, or select the best fit.


E. Annotation tools: Select each tool to view the tool properties.

  • Drawing, Brush, and Eraser: Draw freehand on the submission with various colors, thickness, and opacity. Select the eraser to remove annotations. You can erase parts of a freehand drawing with the eraser or select the Delete icon to delete the whole drawing.
  • Image or Stamp: Choose a preloaded stamp or create your own customized stamp or image to add to the submission.
  • Text: Add text directly on the submission. You can move, edit, and change the text and select the font, size, alignment, and color of the text.
  • Shapes: Choose Line, Arrow, Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon, and Polyline. Each shape has its own settings to change the color, width, opacity, and more.

F. Comment: Provide feedback in comments. Your comments appear in a panel next to the submission.

Students can access the annotated files but won't be able to add annotations in their submissions.

G. Print or Download: Print or download the submission with the annotations.

A known issue with some browsers' built-in PDF viewer may not display all your annotations. Please view annotated PDFs in a native PDF viewer such as Adobe Acrobat.

H. Search: Search the submission for specific text.

I. Content Library: Create a bank of reusable comments. You can add, edit, delete, and search comments in the library. You can also add a comment directly to the submission page from the menu. Select the plus sign to add a new comment to the Content Library. You can Place comment, Copy to Clipboard, Edit, or Delete content from the library. Type keywords or phrases to search for saved comments.

The Content Library is only available in SaaS environments.

Highlighter: Select specific portions of the submission to highlight. As you highlight text on the submission, an additional menu opens. You can highlight, strikethrough, underline, squiggle, or comment on the highlighted section.

Video: Bb Annotate Overview

Watch a video about Bb Annotate

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Bb Annotate overview provides a tour of the Bb Annotate tools available for inline grading in both the Original and Ultra Course Views.

With inline grading, instructors can annotate and grade student assignment files directly within the browser. The inline viewer is powered by a third-party, cloud-based technology called New Box View.

More on the instructor workflow

Enable/disable inline grading

Admin Panel > Integrations > Building Blocks > Installed Tools > Assignments > Settings

On the Assignment Settings page, the New Box View options are set to ON by default. If you choose to disable the integration, users need to download documents to view them.

Upload Waiting Time

When users upload documents to Learn, the documents are transmitted to New Box View for conversion. Some documents may take longer to transmit based on factors such as file size and network connectivity. This setting determines the maximum time users could wait before Learn displays either the New Box View interface or a message. The message states how long to expect to wait before the documents are available to view: "Document is converting. Please wait."

  • If you select a lower value and users upload large documents, they see the message more quickly, but also more frequently.
  • If you select a higher value, users see the message less frequently, but the New Box View interface may take longer to load.
  • No Timeout means Learn doesn't wait for a response from New Box View before the document conversion dialog appears. Users see the next page immediately, but the document conversion dialog always shows.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an institution customize or alter the integration with New Box View?

Blackboard has a central account with Box and manages all Learn customer accounts centrally, so customers have no management burden. We don’t have the ability for customers to customize or alter the integration. A Learn customer can’t request that Blackboard enable a special Box tool or feature.


Student file submissions are stored in your Blackboard Learn instance as always. A copy of the submission is transmitted to New Box View for conversion. The converted version of the document lives in the cloud on servers managed by Box. Annotations are made to the converted document. They are stored as metadata associated with the converted document in the Box cloud service.

When documents are removed/deleted from Learn using the standard methods—submission delete, assignment delete, course delete, and so on—the reciprocal content stored in Box is also removed programmatically through the integration between the two services. When users delete content from a course, they don't need to take additional actions to remove content from Box.

New Box View annotations for attempts aren't carried over when a course is copied or restored from an archive.


New Box View can convert files in any character set, including double-byte character sets. Likewise, comment annotations can be added in any character set, including double-byte character sets. However, the inline viewer's interface itself isn't localized, so the labels on the inline viewer toolbar and any other textual interface elements of the inline viewer will always appear in English.

Text files, HTML files, and content created with the editor can't be annotated because they already display inline natively in the browser. These files aren't sent to Box for conversion and therefore can't be annotated.

When a converted document is loaded, a session is initiated in the Box service. Annotations made during a session are saved automatically. However, the Box session expires after an hour. If an instructor takes longer than an hour to annotate a document, annotations made after that session expiration may not be saved. As a workaround in the Original Course View, navigate away from the Grade Assignment page to another page in Blackboard Learn, then navigate back to the Grade Assignment page to re-establish a new session.


The New Box View application and associated data—converted documents and annotations—live in the Amazon Web Services cloud, hosted in the United States. The files are secure in the Box service and stored only in the U.S. Blackboard, Box, and Amazon Web Services go to great lengths to secure access to the content stored in the cloud.

No personally identifiable data about students is sent to New Box View. Blackboard Learn retrieves a document ID from Box and assigns it to the document. That mapping of document ID to user, course, assignment, and attempt is tracked locally in Blackboard Learn. None of that data is available to Box. All that's transmitted to Box is the file for conversion. However, the content of the file could contain personally identifiable information. The converted file is stored in the Box service, as are any annotations instructors make on the converted files.


  • Students can't annotate documents.
  • Inline grading doesn't work with SafeAssign, Self & Peer Assessment, discussions, or the Content Collection.
  • The New Box View inline viewer interface is displayed only in English at this time.
  • Annotation sessions expire after an hour. If an instructor takes longer than an hour to annotate a document, annotations made after that session expiration may not be saved.