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SMART Board Interactive Whiteboard FAQs for Windows Operating Systems

SMART Hardware SMART Board interactive whiteboards
SMART Software SMART Notebook and SMART Board software
Operating Systems Windows operating systems


This FAQ document provides answers to questions about:

  • SMART Board Software

  • Notebook Software

  • SMART Recorder

  • SMART Video Player

  • Display Controls

  • Orienting, Adjusting the Projected Image and Cleaning

  • Handwriting and Touch Control

  • Cable and Connection Questions

  • Questions about Older SMART Board Models


SMART Board Software FAQs

Why does nothing happen when I press a Help button in SMART Board 9.x software?

If you have Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), you may have difficulty opening and using the SMART Board software Help Center, as well as the Help files of many other applications. This problem is a side effect of the security features in Service Pack 2.

To solve the problem temporarily, click the Internet Explorer information bar and select Allow Blocked Content. The SMART Board software Help Center will then work correctly for the rest of your Help Center session. However, you must do this every time you open the Help Center.

Alternatively, you can permanently fix the problem by allowing active content to run on your computer.

To allow active content to run on your computer

  1. In Internet Explorer, select Tools > Internet Options.

  2. Press the Advanced tab.

  3. Scroll down to the Security list, and select the Allow active content to run in files on My Computer check box.

  4. Press Apply, and then OK.

By default, Windows XP SP2 blocks the use of frames in HTML files as a security precaution, even if these HTML files are stored locally on the computer, as they are in the case of SMART Board software Help.

The warnings that may appear when you open the SMART Board software Help don’t apply, because the Help doesn’t access the Internet even though it opens in a browser. This includes any warnings you may see about sending information over an unencrypted connection when you try to search the Help.

For additional information concerning the security changes in Windows XP SP2, see the Windows XP SP2 ReadMe file, or visit the Microsoft Knowledge Base at

Can I install SMART Board software on a computer that isn’t connected to a SMART interactive product?

Yes, you can install SMART Board software on any computer that isn’t connected to a third-party touch- or pen-enabled device. Because SMART Board software is royalty-free, there is no limit to the number of computers on which you can install the software. However, the following components aren’t available unless you have a SMART interactive product connected to your computer:

  • Video Player

  • SMART Keyboard

  • Floating Tools

How can I add other buttons to the Floating Tools?

By default, the Floating Tools opens with seven commonly used buttons and a More button. You can add other buttons, such as the Creative Pen, Screen Capture, Shape, Pointer Tool and more.

To add a button to the Floating Tools

  1. Press the More button.

  2. Select Customize Floating Tools.

  3. Select the new tool to add, press Add and then press OK.

How can I add a handwritten note to a Microsoft Word or Excel file?

You can add either a handwritten note as typed text or as a picture. Alternatively, you can capture your note to a Notebook file. When you start working in Microsoft Word or Excel software, you’ll see the Insert as Image, Insert as Text and the Capture to Notebook buttons on the Word/Excel toolbar.

When you press the Insert as Text button, your handwritten note is converted to typed text and placed in the document, in the same color as the pen you used to write it. Then you can work with the converted text as you would any text.

If you’ve inserted the note as an image, you can work with it as you would work with any picture that you added to the file.

What is LinQ software and how can I use it?

LinQ software shows your laptop’s display on a SMART interactive screen without connecting any cables.

LinQ software uses two components: LinQ software on a laptop and SMART Board 9.x software with the Mobile Device Manager open on the interactive product. The laptop computer and the computer that’s connected to the interactive screen must be part of the same local area network (LAN). You can use the interactive product’s tools to write over the laptop display.

You’ll find complete instructions on using LinQ software with SMART Board software in the LinQ User’s Guide.

To open the Mobile Device Manager on the interactive screen

  1. Click the SMART Board icon.

  2. Select Control Panel.

  3. Press Mobile and Wireless Device Settings.

  4. Select Start the Mobile Device Manager, and then press OK.

To connect your laptop, open LinQ software and type your name. Then select the SMART interactive product you want to connect to and press Connect.

To share a laptop’s desktop, press the Share Desktop button in the LinQ Software window.

Can I install LinQ software on more than one computer?

You can install LinQ software on as many computers as you like. However, only five computers can link to an interactive screen at one time, and only one can display its video output at a time.

Notebook Software FAQs

Is there a quick way to copy text from other applications into Notebook software?

Yes, you can use SMART Notebook Print Capture to do this. In the other file, select File > Print. When the Print dialog box appears, select SMART Notebook Print Capture as your printer and press OK.

In Notebook software, an image of each page from the original document is an object on its own Notebook page.

Alternatively, you can cut or copy text and paste it into Notebook software, or take a capture of that particular screen area and insert it into Notebook software.

I can’t find the images I need in the Gallery collections. What should I do?

Download the gallery collections from Every month, we add new collections and lesson activities, so check back often. To add a collection from the website, open the Gallery, press the Add/Import button and select Import Online Collection.

You can also add your own images to the gallery. To do this, open the Gallery and press the Add/Import button. Then select the appropriate Import option and navigate to the file that you want to add. You can add photos, pictures, Flash files and animated .gif files from other applications.

If the image you want to add is already on your Notebook page, just drag it to the appropriate unlocked subcategory in the Gallery contents area.

The side bar tabs keep disappearing when I work on my Notebook page. How can I get them to stay open?

Clear the Auto-hide check-box at the bottom of the Page Sorter.

How do I move the Notebook software toolbar to the bottom of the screen?

To move the toolbar, click an open area of the toolbar and drag the toolbar to the bottom of the screen. Or you can drag the toolbar drag handles.

When I write letters or words in Notebook software, why can’t I move each one separately?

Notebook software recognizes words you write in close proximity as a sentence group and groups them in a single unit. However, if you leave a large gap between your letters or words when you write on the interactive screen, they won’t be grouped, and you can select each one separately.

Alternatively, you can return the pen to the pen tray after writing a letter or word. Then pick up the pen and write again. The letters or words aren’t grouped, no matter how close they are on the screen. You can also write the letters or words on separate lines.

You can ungroup the letters or words by selecting them and then selecting Format > Ungroup. The result, however, is that each pen stroke making up a letter becomes an individual object.

Is there a viewer for Notebook software?

No, but you can share your Notebook file with others who don’t have SMART Board software by saving your file as a PDF, as HTML files, or as a series of images.

Alternatively, others can install Notebook software without installing the rest of SMART Board software. To do this, insert the SMART Board software CD and begin the installation. Select Custom install, clear all the check boxes with the exception of Install only Notebook software, and then continue the installation.

Can I use a Notebook file that was created on a Macintosh computer?

Yes. If your Notebook file has an .xbk extension, you can open the file using Notebook software on Windows, UNIX, Linux or Macintosh operating systems.

If you’re using Notebook software version 9.1 or later, you can open a Notebook file that was created in an earlier version. When you save the document, you can save it in 9.x format or keep it in 8.x format. Press File > Save As and select the appropriate Save as type.

How can I reduce the size of the pages that I import with SMART Notebook Print Capture?

To reduce page size, change the properties of the SMART Notebook Print Capture driver before you print the pages.

In the application from which you’re printing, click the Properties button beside SMART Notebook Print Capture in the Print dialog box. Change the horizontal and vertical DPI to 90, or if these values are already set to 90, use a lower setting. Then press OK and print the pages.

SMART Recorder FAQs

Do I need any special equipment to use SMART Recorder?

As long as your computer meets the requirements for SMART Board software, you can use SMART Recorder. However, for best performance, we recommend you use a computer that has at least:

  • a 400 MHz processor

  • 64 MB RAM

  • a sound card and microphone

How can I ensure that I record the best quality video possible?

Before you record

  • In SMART Recorder, press Menu, select the Recording Quality tab, and choose the High (5 Frames Per Second) video quality setting.

  • In SMART Recorder, press Menu, select the Video Format tab, and choose the SMART Recorder Video (*.avi) format. The SMART Recorder Video format records using 16 million colors, as opposed to the Microsoft Video format, which records using 256.

  • Save the recordings to a local drive, not a network drive.

  • Disable hardware acceleration in your system settings. However, keep in mind that videos might not play correctly unless you enable it again after you record.

To view or change the recording quality, file format and location, press the Menu button and select Options. Select the appropriate tab in the Options dialog box.

If your computer performance decreases while you’re recording, you might want to try a higher-performance video card.

What happens if I run out of disk space while I’m recording?

By default, SMART Recorder pauses your recording and displays a warning message if the free disk space falls below 100 MB. You can free up some disk space by deleting files on your disk. Once more space is available, press the Record button to resume recording.

How can I reduce the size of my recordings?

Before you record

  • In SMART Recorder, press Menu, select the Recording Quality tab, and choose the Low (1 Frame Per Second) video quality setting.

  • In SMART Recorder, press Menu, select the Video Format tab, and choose the SMART Recorder Video (*.avi) format. The SMART Recorder Video format is compressed, while the Microsoft Video format is not.

  • Reduce the screen resolution and color setting (in your monitor’s display settings).

  • Remove any unnecessary background images and animations from the recording area. Detailed graphics dramatically increase the file size.

To view or change the recording quality, file format and location, press the Menu button and select Options. Select the appropriate tab in the Options dialog box.

As you record

  • Record only the portion of the screen that is necessary. To do this, press the arrow beside the Record button and select Record Area or Record Window.

  • Don’t record complex graphics or animations.

What’s the best way to play back my video file?

You can play your video file using SMART Video Player or Windows Media player. With either program, you can use the Full Screen view to maximize the video on your screen.

How can I share my SMART Recorder file with someone who doesn’t have SMART Board software?

If you recorded the video using the Microsoft Video format, anyone can open it with Windows Media player.

If you used the SMART Recorder Video format, you can either:

  • Use the Share Recording feature to create an executable that includes the video and the files that decompress it.

  • Ask the recipient to download and install SMART Board software.

  • Convert the file to WMV format. To convert the file, download Window Media Encoder from

SMART Video Player FAQs

Can I show a video from my VCR with SMART Video Player?

If your VCR can display through your computer onto the monitor or interactive screen, you can show a video using SMART Video Player. In other words, your VCR must be connected to the computer that’s running SMART Video Player. In most cases, the computer must have either a video capture card or a TV tuner card installed, to which you connect the video output of your VCR.

Why can’t I use SMART Video Player with my internal DVD drive?

Currently, SMART Video Player can’t communicate with internal DVD drives.

What are the optimal system requirements for running the SMART Video Player?

For best performance, your computer should have at least:

  • an Intel Pentium III brand 800-MHz processor

  • 128 MB RAM

  • 200 MB of free hard disk space

  • DirectX application-programming interface version 8.0 or higher

  • Windows Media player

  • Windows 98, 2000, Me or XP operating system (SMART Video Player doesn’t support the Windows NT 4.0 operating system.)

Display Controls FAQs

What’s a Display Control?

A Display Control is a software module included with SMART Board software that communicates with your projector or flat-panel display through an RS-232 cable. With the Display Control, you can:

  • change projector or flat-panel display configuration options, such as volume, power and input source, simply by pressing the interactive screen.

  • switch input between a resident computer and guest laptop.

  • preserve the life of your projector lamp or flat-panel display. When a screen saver becomes active, the Display Control tells the projector lamp or flat-panel display to switch off. When you reactivate the computer, the Display Control turns the projector lamp or flat-panel display back on.

How can I set up a Display Control?

  1. Connect an RS-232 cable between a free serial port on your computer and the PC Control port of your projector or flat-panel.


    an RS-232 serial port is necessary for this procedure, and cannot be substituted with a USB connection.

  2. On the SMART Board control panel, press SMART Board Settings.

  3. In the SMART Board Settings dialog box, select Display Control Settings from the list.

  4. Select the Manufacturer, Model and the COM port to which you connected the projector or flat-panel display.

    If your projector or flat-panel display model is not on the list, contact SMART Support.

  5. If you wish, you can specify the interval between the time the screen saver starts and the time the display control puts the projector or display into Standby mode. You can also make the control shut down the projector or flat-panel display when you shut down the computer.

  6. Press OK.

Does a Display Control work with the Rear Projection SMART Board 2000i and 3000i interactive whiteboard?

No, because the single serial port on the projector in the 2000i or 3000i (labeled PC Control) is occupied by a serial cable connection to the 2000i or 3000i Control Panel. (The Display Control requires a serial cable connection between the internal computer and the PC Control port on the projector).

Instead, use the Control Panel buttons to put the projector into Standby mode, adjust brightness and contrast, and switch the display source from the internal computer to a laptop or a VCR.

Orienting, Adjusting the Projected Image and Cleaning FAQs

Which orientation precision should I use?

You can choose an orientation level that best matches your need for time and precision. You can choose:

  • Quick orientation, which requires four presses. This setting is handy if the interactive whiteboard gets moved or jostled during a presentation.

  • Standard orientation, which requires nine presses and provides a slightly higher level of accuracy.

  • Fine orientation, which requires 20 presses and is recommended for higher-resolution systems.

To change the orientation level, open the SMART Board control panel and select SMART Board Settings. In the SMART Board Settings dialog box, select Alignment/Orientation Precision from the list.

What causes the projected image on my interactive whiteboard to shimmer?

The projected image may appear shaky if the computer was turned on before your projector. Turn off the computer, restart the projector, and then restart the computer and any other components you’re using.

If the image is still shaky, read your projector manual to find out if you can adjust the projector to correct this issue. Also make sure that the resolution of the computer matches the resolution of the projector and change it if necessary. To find out what the optimal resolution is, read the documentation that came with your projector.

To change your Windows computer resolution setting

  1. From the Start menu, select Settings > Control Panel.

  2. Double-click Display on the Windows Control Panel.

  3. Click the Settings tab on the Display Properties dialog box.

  4. Drag the slider to adjust the resolution setting to match your projector resolution.

  5. Click the Apply button, and then click OK.

  6. Restart your computer, if asked.

You must orient the interactive screen after you’ve changed the resolution. Press the SMART Board icon in the system tray, select Orient and follow the on-screen instructions.

How can I make my screen image fit the interactive whiteboard?

Try using the zoom lens or moving the projector to enlarge or reduce the image size.

If that doesn’t work, the image resolution of your computer may not match that of your projector. Change the computer resolution to match the projector’s optimal resolution. To find out what the optimal resolution is, consult the documentation that came with your projector.

To change your Windows computer resolution setting

  1. From the Start menu, select Settings > Control Panel.

  2. Double-click Display on the Windows Control Panel

  3. Click the Settings tab on the Display Properties dialog box.

  4. Drag the slider to adjust the resolution setting to match your projector resolution.

  5. Click the Apply button, and then click OK.

  6. Restart your computer, if prompted.

What is touch resolution and what level is required?

Touch resolution is the level of precision available for touch control on a SMART Board interactive whiteboard. Most projectors have a resolution of 800 × 600 or 1024 × 768. The SMART Board interactive whiteboard has a touch resolution of at least 2000 × 2000, which is roughly five times that of the highest resolution commonly provided by a projector. Greater precision is not required.

How can I remove permanent ink from a SMART Board interactive whiteboard?

You can use a cleaner such as Expo Board Doctor or, if you have dry-erase markers (but not non-scented markers), you can cover the permanent ink with the ink from a dry-erase marker, and then wipe the surface with a soft cloth or paper towel. If any trace of the original permanent ink remains, spray a cloth with standard glass or whiteboard cleaner and wipe the area clean.

Handwriting and Touch Control FAQs

What should I do if the pointer gets stuck in one place on the screen?


This doesn’t apply to interactive whiteboards with DViT technology.

If the cursor won’t move when you touch the interactive whiteboard, but it moves when you move the mouse, there is a constant point of contact on the interactive whiteboard. To remedy this situation, you can:

  • wipe the interactive whiteboard to remove any foreign material from the screen area where the cursor is stuck.

  • rub the screen firmly with your fingertips in a circle two to three inches in diameter around the affected area. If the two surfaces are stuck together, this may be sufficient to release them.

  • attach a suction cup or piece of tape to the area where the cursor is stuck and gently pull the visible surface away from the other surface.

If the cursor remains stuck despite your efforts, contact SMART Support.

The surface of a touch-sensitive interactive whiteboard consists of two layers of material separated by a small air gap. Normally, the two surfaces touch when you press the screen with your finger or a pen tray tool, forming a brief point of contact. However, in a constant contact situation, the top layer remains in contact with the surface beneath, causing the interactive whiteboard to constantly sense a contact at that point.

The digital ink or cursor appears at a distance from the actual point of contact. How can I fix this?

To solve this problem, perform the following steps.

  • Reorient the interactive screen. Press the SMART Board icon, select Orient and follow the on-screen instructions.

  • Check that SMART Board driver is in Projected mode. Press the SMART Board icon in the system tray and select Control Panel. Then, press SMART Board Settings and make sure Projected (Mouse Mode) is selected.

  • If the cursor position is a large distance from your point of contact, orient the interactive whiteboard by pressing the Keyboard and Right-click buttons on the pen tray at the same time.

If the digital ink lags behind the pen’s position, you can turn off your video card’s hardware acceleration. However, keep in mind that videos might not play correctly until you turn hardware acceleration back on.

What should I do if the digital ink doesn’t appear when I write on the screen?

Press the SMART Board icon in the system tray and select Control Panel. Press SMART Board Settings and make sure Projected (Mouse Mode) is selected. Also make sure that you’re running the latest version of SMART Board software by using the Check for Updates option from the SMART Board icon.

Next, pick up a pen tray pen and see if the LED over the tool slot illuminates. If it doesn’t, the sensor window in the pen tray slot may be dirty. Clean any dust off the sensor window with a slightly damp cotton swab.

If the LED is illuminated and the SMART Board software is up to date, there may be a problem with the SMART Board software or pen tray electronics. Contact SMART Support for further assistance.

Why does the digital ink have gaps in it?

To troubleshoot this problem on an interactive product that uses DViT technology, perform the following tests.

  • Ensure that dust isn’t interfering with the cameras. Use a soft cloth to clean the interactive screen and the camera lenses.

  • Make sure the room lighting isn’t interfering with the cameras. There should be no lights shining directly on the interactive screen.

  • Check the camera calibration. Open the SMART Board Control Panel and press SMART Board Settings. In the SMART Board Settings dialog box, select Advanced Settings and then press the Calibrate button.

Digital ink doesn’t appear and screen contact doesn’t activate application components unless I’m using Notebook software. How can I fix this?

First, make sure the SMART Board driver is in Projected mode. Click the SMART Board icon in the system tray and select Control Panel. Make sure Projected (Mouse Mode) has been selected.

Second, orient the interactive whiteboard. Click the SMART Board icon, select Orient and follow the on-screen instructions.

Cable and Connection Questions

There’s a red light on my interactive whiteboard, but I know that the serial cable is connected properly. What’s the problem?

Check that the serial port on your computer has no conflict with other software.

If you’re using the Windows XP operating system, the interactive product may conflict with a connected serial mouse. To correct this problem, you must disable the serial mouse (but don’t uninstall it).

To disable the serial mouse

  1. Right-click the My Computer icon and select Properties.

  2. In the System Properties dialog box, press the Hardware tab and then press the Device Manager button.

  3. In the list in the Device Manager window, select Mice and other pointing devices.

  4. Right-click the serial mouse and select Disable.


    Do not select Uninstall.

  5. Close the Device Manager window and press OK in the System Properties window.

How can I extend the length of the cable that connects my SMART product to my computer?

Search the SMART Knowledge Base for the following Technical Bulletins:

  • Extending the SMART USB Adapter Cable, Using the SMART USB Adapter Cable and Warning to Customers Extending Their SMART USB Cable Beyond 30 Feet

  • Using Extended Serial/Power Cables with Your SMART Board 500 Series Interactive Whiteboard

What power supply can I use with my serial cable connection?

You can use an external power supply as an alternative to drawing power from the keyboard port. The power supply should have an output of 12V DC and 500 mA or 0.5 amps.


Use an external power supply if you extend your serial cable.

At the 12V coaxial connector end, the interior diameter of the post (center hole) should measure 2.1 mm and the outside diameter (barrel) should measure 5.5 mm. If you lose the power supply that came with the SMART serial cable, make sure the replacement has matching characteristics (although the output has an allowable range from 0.3 to 0.5 amps).


The 12V DC polarity is extremely critical. The center of the connection must be positive (+) and the outer barrel of the connection must be negative (-). Incorrect DC polarity, or use of a 12V AC power adapter, will open the fuse in the serial/power cable and destroy the cable. If this happens, you’ll have to purchase a replacement cable.

Input voltage standards vary by country, and the power supply characteristics described above only apply to North American input voltage standards. However, if you’re outside North America, SMART may be able to provide you with an appropriate power supply for your country. Contact SMART Support.

When I connect my laptop to an interactive whiteboard with the Serial/Power cable, an error message indicates that no serial data is being received. How can I fix this?

Make sure that the interactive whiteboard is receiving power.

Also check that the interactive whiteboard’s use of your laptop’s serial port doesn’t conflict with other hardware or software, such as an infrared port, a modem or a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).

Contact SMART Support.

FAQs about Older SMART Board Models

Can I use the latest SMART Board software or the SMART USB adapter cable with my SMART Board 200 series interactive whiteboard (pen tray has a bottom-mounted gold box)?

You can use the latest SMART Board software with older SMART Board interactive whiteboards that have:

  • a PT3 pen tray

  • a PT4 pen trays (used in older Rear Projection SMART Board 585 and 420 interactive whiteboards)

  • a PT5 pen tray that’s equipped with the bottom-mounted gold box

The only difference you’ll notice is that the Ready Light on your pen tray flashes approximately every four seconds during use. This flashing is normal and doesn’t indicate for a malfunctioning pen tray.

However, you must continue using your original serial cable connection, as these pen trays do not support the SMART USB adapter cable.

Can I use the latest SMART Board software or the SMART USB adapter cable with my SMART Board 300 series interactive whiteboard and the PT5 or PT7 pen tray (no bottom-mounted gold box)?

SMART Board software and the SMART USB adapter cable (version 3.0) are compatible with PT5 pen trays that are equipped with SC4 or SC5 controllers (those without a bottom-mounted gold box). However, you must continue to use the original RJ11 cable from the pen tray, which you’ll connect to the DB9 end of the USB adapter cable. To make this connection work, you must to purchase a DB9M/DB9M gender adapter.


You must use version 3.0 of the firmware in the USB adapter cable. If you receive a newer cable (with version 3.1 firmware), call SMART Support for instructions on changing the firmware to version 3.0.


The USB adapter cable is not compatible with SMART Board for Flat-Panel Displays interactive whiteboards that use SC4KP controllers, RJ11 cables and external power supplies. It’s also incompatible with PT3 or older pen trays.

To integrate the SMART USB adapter cable to the existing pen tray connection

  1. Disconnect the DB9 end of the RJ11 cable from your computer.

  2. Connect the DB9M/DB9M gender adapter to the DB9 end of the disconnected RJ11 cable.


    If you’re using a DB25F/RJ11 serial port adapter, you can replace it with a DB9F/RJ11 serial port adapter (SMART part No. PT5-025) or purchase a suitable DB9F/DB25M adapter.

  3. Connect the USB end of the SMART USB adapter cable to the USB port on your computer.

  4. Connect the DB9 end of the SMART USB adapter cable to the other end of the DB9M/DB9M gender adapter

First Published April 13, 2006
Last Updated March 6, 2008


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