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Blackboard Learn File Naming Conventions

To avoid problems and errors with uploading and downloading files from Blackboard Learn, please follow (and encourage your students to follow) the guidelines listed below when naming attachments/files to be uploaded to the Assignment Manager, Discussion Board, and any other content area. This problem applies to files uploaded or attached by instructors and students as well.

Do NOT use illegal characters such as: (! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) + = | \ / ? “ ‘ : ; ~ `. ), in any content areas in Blackboard Learn. These characters interfere with the Blackboard application and will cause problems.

Good practice

File names should contain no spaces or special characters. It is best practice to use an underscore (_) instead of spaces (ex. Lecture_1.doc instead of Lecture #1). You should always include an extension of the file (e.g. Lecture_1.docx).

Use only letters, numbers and underscores (_) in file names.

If you need to include a date in a file name, use this format: 4-12-2013

Warning: If you use a special character to name a file attachment that is uploaded to Blackboard Learn, your students will get an error when they try to open or download the file. Even if you have successfully added files with “illegal characters”, it does not mean that students, using other browsers or operating systems, will be able to access them.

File Naming conventions for Blackboard

Learn how to avoid problems with special characters in file names or any other content areas.

  • File names should not be longer than 32 characters including the file extension (.doc)
  • File names may not include any special characters (ex. ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) + = | \ / ? “ ‘ : ; ~ `. )
  • File names must include only letters, numbers, hyphens, and underscores.
  • File names must end with a file extension (.XLS, .DOC, PPT, .PDF, .TXT, etc.)
  • Avoid using spaces.

Examples of correct file names:




Note: Always close your file before uploading it to Blackboard Learn.

For example, if a student attempts to turn in an assignment named Assignment#1.doc by uploading it through Blackboard’s Assignment tool, the instructor may not be able to open the file and an error message occurs.

Please remember

It is best to avoid using special characters in the names, titles, and headers of any content areas in Blackboard Learn as well as file names. Assignment names, Blog names, Discussion forum names, Journal names, Group names, Grade Center column names, Test names, using special characters in any of these content areas can cause errors to occur for both students and instructors.