How to annotate PDFs on a smartboard

This is a quick summary of what I learned trying to use the smartboard in the Engineering lecture room 143.

The electronic pen only works if you are logged into the computer installed in the lecture room. It does not work if you plug-in your own laptop. In that case, youwoudl hae to have a touch screen laptop and bring your own compatble pen, just as you would when attaching the laptop to any projection system.


The goal is to display a PDF file on the overhead screen, and write on it with the electronic pen attached to the smart board, and then save the annotated PDF so that it can be opened in a later class or posted on a webpage. The idea is to import a blank PDF, or one with problems pre-typed on it, and then do the problems live for the class and save the work.

If the PDF is closed and re-opened later, it can be further annotated, but it seems the previous annotations cannot be changed. Perhaps this is possible, but I have not seen ho wto do this yet.

Making the PDF accessible to the smartboard

If you have some files you want to display and annotate on the smartboard, you need to place them somewhere that you can reach from the smartboard. One option is to place them on a webpage, and then use a browswer to download them onto the computer in the lecture hall.

Alternative, you can upload the files to MySBfiles. Then they are immediately accessible on the lecture room computer in the folder named with with NetID (cjbishop in my case). Here is the link:
My SB files.
When you click this you will be promted for your NetID and password. You will then be prompted to choose a web interface. I usually choose the second of the three choices: 'web interface', as the first 'new web interface' doesn't always work for me and the third requires downloading more software.

It is not unusual for the session to get intrupted, forcing you to have to login several times if you are moving several files.

Once loggred in, you will see your MTSBFILES directory and you can easily upload or download files from this to the computer you are wworking on. There are buttons for this on the top. When uploading, you should forst move to the directory where you want the files. You can create a new folder using another button. When you download files to you local computer, you do not seem to have any control over where they go; mine download to my desktop folder. (If you figure out how to specify a folder to save to, let me know.)

If you just want to use the smartboard as a substitute for using the blackboard, you can upload PDF files containing just blank pages and perhaps same them under several different names, e.g. MAT125_24jJan2024.pdf so that when you save your work, each class meeting is saved under a different name for posting (unless you use a huge file to cover the whole course).

It is best to use pages in landscape mode (like for seminar slides) so that they fit the shape of the screen best.

For your convenience, here are some PDFs of with different numbers of blank lanscape pages: 10, 20, 30. 40, 50, 100.

When you arrive at the lecture roon

There is a touch screen to active the overhead projector. Turn on the projector and choose the source 'computer' on the top right. When you are done, turn off the projecttor using the button in the lower left corner. You will be prompted to confirm that you really want to turn the projector off.

Pull out the keyboard and press any key. The smartboard should light up and prompt you for your NetID and password. Log in.

Make sure the files you want are there. If you have pre-loaded them by uploading to MYSBFILES, you can verify this by opening a folder using the icon on the bottom bar, and selecting the folder named with your NetID. If you have not done this, but placed them on a webpage, open a browser, go to the files and download them to that folder (or a sub-folder that you create, perhaps one to hold all the files for a particular class).

Using the applications list on the left side of the screen, scroll down until you see 'Smart Technologies', expand the menu and choose 'Smart Document Viewer'. A new window opens. In the top left corner there is an icon that looks like a paper file folder. Click on it and a window opens to let you select a file. Do so, and the file will be diplayed on the screen (and on the projection screens, if you have already turned them on.

You should also see a pen icon somewere on the screen (a circle with a picture pf a pen inside). Using the pen or your finger you can click on this and get a menu to slect the color and thickness of what you write. There is also an option to rotate the circular menu to choose more advanced options, like preset stamps (checks, X's, happy face, sad face,...) but I have not explored these much.

If the pen icon is not visible automatically, you should be able to get it by navigating to the 'Smart Tecnoligies' application and choose 'Smart Ink'.

when you want to save your work, click on the icon on the left side of the document viewer shaped like a floppy disk. The default is to save the file to its current name, but you can use the keyboard to save to a different name (e.g., if you opened a blank file 'Quiz1.pdf' but want to save it so something different like 'Quiz1_solns.pdf'

When you are done remember to:
---- save your work and close the document viewer
---- sign out of the computer using the icon on the left side of the screen,
---- turn off the projector
--- when you get back to your office (or home) download the annotated files from MYSBFILES to your local machine, if you want to view or post them later.


Here are some links to the Smart Ink documentation:
SMART Ink User guide.
Using SmartInk with PDFs.
Using SmartInk with Microsoft Office.