If the file causes an error at the Uniprintstation/printer (49.xx, 49.0E00 or 49.C02) and can't be printed, this is caused by Microsoft "objects" such as graphs, drawings, or Visio items in PowerPoint files that have then been converted into PDFs.

By default, PDFs are set to "print as image" on the student desktop. If you get this error it most likely means this option has been turned off in your profile. To turn this on:

  1. From the File menu, choose Print.
  2. When the print box comes up, click the ADVANCED button at the bottom of the box.
  3. An advanced print setup box will appear and at the bottom of that box, tick Print as image.
  4. Click OK and OK again.
  5. Once the document is printed change the Print as image setting back to the default.

Email to lecturer

Hi <lecturer>

We've had reports from students that your <filename> file in the <paper code> Blackboard paper is crashing the printers in some campus computer labs.

This problem occurs when you have complex objects (essentially anything you've created in Powerpoint that isn't a plain image, or plain text - such as a flowchart, graph, or just a drawn circle with some text on it) and then export that as a PDF. This causes some printers to crash.

I have put instructions in Blackboard about how students can print the file. To fix the issue, there are two options:

  • put the Powerpoint file up instead of the pdf
  • take screenshots of anything you've inserted or created in Powerpoint, then remove them, then paste the image back in and recreate the PDF.

<your name>

File will print, but takes a very long time

These are often PowerPoint presentations that have been exported to PDF but none of the backgrounds have been removed, and they often contain high-res images.

As a workaround, add a note in BB advising students NOT TO PRINT:

  1. Go into AuthDB and then into Blackboard Maintenance.
  2. Search for the paper code. Once you have found the paper, copy it.
  3. Go into Blackboard > System Admin tab > Courses.
  4. Paste the paper details into the field beside Course ID and click Go.
  5. Select the paper and locate the problem document. Click on Control Panel, find the problem document again > click on Modify > enter the text below:
    This file is taking a very long time to print on student printers. Please DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PRINT IT until this problem has been resolved.
  6. Click Submit > OK.

Or (if you have time) download the PDF, open in Acrobat, print-block, re-upload as a new Item in BB with a note that it is causing problems and cannot be printed. Make original item unavailable.

  1. Email lecturer (see template below).
  2. Log a first-level call in the name of the lecturer (you can find out who made the file from the document properties and/or Staff Information section in BB).

Email to lecturer

Hi <lecturer>,

We've had reports from the computer labs that the <filename> in the <papercode> Blackboard paper is taking a long time to print and is causing printing delays. This is probably due to high resolution images in the file - this can be avoided by either:

  • resizing the image in an external application before inserting into PowerPoint
  • using PowerPoint's "Compress images" feature, and/or
  • using Acrobat's "Reduce File Size" feature.

I've put a note in Blackboard advising students not to print in the meantime.


Printing email templates

If you want to email the paper co-ordinator directly with information on how to fix the problem:

Subject: Bad file in <paper name>

Dear <lecturer>

We've had reports from the campus labs that the <name of file> file in Blackboard is <taking a long time to print/not able to be printed> and is holding up print queues. This is probably caused by one of the following:

  • Background textures/images in the original PowerPoint
  • high-resolution images
  • Microsoft "Drawing" objects (such as diagrams created using drawing tools in PowerPoint)
  • other objects, such as MS Excel graphs, or Visio diagrams, pasted into the file.

Ideally, the file should contain only low-resolution images and plain-image copies of any diagrams or graphs, and should be provided to students as a 4-up or 6-up black and white document with NO background images/textures.

The Blackboard Helpsite for Staff has specific instructions for resizing images and creating plain-image copies of diagrams and charts. Resizing images in PowerPoint does not actually change the size of the image file. They should be resized in a graphics application before being inserted.

In the meantime, I have

uploaded a print-blocked copy to Blackboard and made your original file unavailable to students (but still available to you via the Control Panel)
put a note in Blackboard advising that the file should not be printed.
<delete one>

<your name>

Last updated 06/08/2019 03.19 PM
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