image University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering
 SMART Board Electronic Whiteboard
  CSE Home   About Us    Search    Contact Info 

 Getting Started
 Sample Use Cases
 Common Usage and Tips
Useful Resources
 SMARTBoard User Guide (PDF)
 SMART Notebook Help Center
 Microsoft Surface
UW Student Technology Fee
Brought to you by
UW CSE and the UW Student Technology Fee.


A SMART Board Electronic Whiteboard, funded through the UW Student Technology Fee, is now available to all CSE students, faculty and staff, with priority to students.

The SMART Board is a large (6'x4') touch sensitive whiteboard with an attached projector, useful for a set of teaching and collaboration tasks. The common usage is to project a computer display on the board, and using the board to control applications, annotate the display and collect digital ink. See sample use cases. You can use either the on-board computer, or your own laptop

The CSE SMART Board is normally kept in one of the CSE Labs in the Allen Center. It is mounted on a wheeled cart, and can be used in any of the CSE Labs. When you are finished using it, BE SURE TO LEAVE IT IN A LOCKED LAB!

Another type of collaboration device available for use and experimentation is a digital table. Two Microsoft Surface computers are located in the Allen Center. One, located in the Atrium, is available to all UW students and available for use by all UW students. A second Surface, intended primarily for CSE students, is located in the third-floor breakout space. Perhaps you can think of some great way to combine these two devices!

QuickStart: Using the board with the integrated computer

  1. Make sure the board is plugged in, and the computer powered on. The integrated computer is mounted on the base of the cart, and it can be accessed from behind the board. The power button is on the front panel of the computer.

  2. Power on the SMART board using the illuminated power button on the front near the lower right corner.

  3. If you do not see the display from the integrated computer projected on the board, press the "Input" button which is next to the power button until the projector indicates input "VGA 1" is selected.

QuickStart: Using the board with your laptop computer

  1. Make sure the board is plugged into a power source.

  2. Power on using the illuminated power button on the lower right of the SMART Board

  3. Install SMART Notebook on your laptop. Download it from Follow the links to Support, then Downloads. SMART Notebook is the top item in the list of downloads. Install the latest version for your platform. If installed without a product key, the installation has a 30 day timeout. If you plan to use the software for more than 30 days, you may request a product key. Most UW users can safely decline to install all of the optional components during setup.

  4. Connect your laptop to the SMART Board: Connect VGA out, USB, and optionally audio out, using the light grey cable set that extends from behind the board on the right-hand side.

  5. If you do not see the display from the laptop computer projected on the board, press the "Input" button which is next to the power button until the projector indicates input "VGA 2" is selected.

Common SMART Board Operations and Tips

Adjusting Board Height

The board is on a wheeled stand with powered height adjustment. To change the board height, locate the switch along the left edge of the board beneath the speaker, and adjust to your preference.

Copying Files to and from the SMART Board Integrated Computer

You can copy files to and from the integrated computer on the SMART Board cart using the network or using a USB device. The integrated computer is equipped with a wireless network adapter that can be used to connect to the UW wireless network. The integrated computer has a black USB extension cable that has the female end attached to extend from behind the right hand side of the board near the light gray laptop connections. Here you can conveniently attach a USB flash drive or other USB device.

Floating toolbar

The SMART Board software adds a semi-transparent toolbar on the left edge of your screen. When connected to the SMART Board, use the tools to choose between ink, pointer, and eraser and to perform other common functions.

Windows System Tray Icon

The Windows drivers create a SMART Board system tray icon that provides a handy way to access software configuration and tools. Right-click the icon to start.

Pen Tray Buttons

There are two handy buttons on the pen tray: One brings up the on-screen keyboard so that you can enter text without the need for a physical keyboard. The second causes the next board touch event to be interpreted by the system as a right-click.

Writing: Pen vs. Finger

The SMART Board pens have a plastic point with no ink. All ink is digital ink which overlays applications and is projected on the screen. For many uses, there is no advantage to using the SMART Board pen over just using your finger. Two cases where the pen might be preferred: For writing text -- it may be easier to write legibly with the pen; With SMART Board aware applications which can detect pen tray events -- these applications are specially written to detect the presence or absence of pens and eraser in the tray, and can automatically change the color of the digital ink (or change to eraser tool) to match.

The use of standard dry-erase markers is not recommended with the SMART Board.

Smart-aware applications

There are two classes of support for applications when used with the SMART Board: Smart-Aware, and non-aware. Smart-aware applications have extra capabilities such as being able to save ink directly in the application files, and being able to detect pen color or eraser by the absence of something in the pen tray slot. Standard Smart-aware applications include Microsoft and Open Office suites, and a few common paint/graphics applications. You can still use touch to control non-aware applications, and use digital ink overlays, but for these applications the overlay is attached to the entire screen, so it is not possible to save ink integrated with the file.

Bluetooth adapter

The SMART Board Bluetooth adapter looks like a thumb drive. It plugs in to a USB port on your computer, and functionally replaces the USB connection between computer and SMART Board with a BlueTooth connection. The adapter allows the computer to be placed a greater distance from the board than the USB cable would otherwise allow. Note that this adapter only replaces the USB connection. If the computer image needs to be projected on the board, a wired VGA connection to the board will still be required, and if the SMART Board audio system will be used, a wired audio connection will be needed. If you are interested in using the BlueTooth adapter, you may check it out from support.

Before using the Bluetooth adapter, make sure you have installed the SMART Board software on your computer as described above. Simply insert the adapter into a free USB port on your computer. Momentarily the driver should be installed, and the board detected.


A Troubleshooting flowchart is available here. (PDF)

The computer image won't display on the board.

Make sure you connected using the VGA input that matches the selected projector source. For most laptop connections, use the USB and VGA inputs in the light grey cable set emerging from behind the board on the right side. This set is associated with projector input VGA-2. If you are using the integrated computer in the SMART Board cart, select VGA-1. You can toggle through all projector inputs using the "Input" button next to the power button on the bottom right of the board.

The USB is connected, but the software does not detect the SMART Board

Each USB input is associated with a projector input. The SMART Board device will only appear to be present on the USB input associated with the currently selected projector input. The light grey cableset emerging from behind the board on the right side is associated with projector input "VGA-2". The integrated computer is associated with VGA-1. Toggle the selected input using the "Input" button next to the power button on the bottom right of the board.

The audio is connected, but no sound comes from the SMART Board speakers

Check the following:

  • The SMART Board speakers have a separate power switch. It is at the bottom of the right hand speaker. Check to make sure the speakers are powered on.
  • Adjust the volume using the knob on the lower right corner of the board, next to the power button.
  • Verify that your computer is producing an audio signal.

The Bluetooth connection is not working

The Bluetooth status indicator light is on the right edge of the board, near the bottom corner. It should be flashing green when idle, and solid green when connected. If the adapter does not connect, you can attempt to reset the connection manually using buttons both on the adapter and on the board. The Bluetooth reset button on the board is located just behind the board along the right edge, a few inches above the Bluetooth status indicator light.

Other Resources


The "Smart Ecosystem Network" is the SMART Board developer support organization. The SEN Website offers a set of SDKs, documentation and other developer focused resources. Registration is required.

Sample Use Cases

Annotated Presentation

When giving a talk, or teaching a class or seminar with the SMART Board, you can present using any application you may have available. A typical presentation might contain a mixture of PowerPoint slides, web content, and traditional whiteboard content. The SMART Board will display the application you happen to have active on your computer, and allow you to use digital ink to annotate over that content. Furthermore, you can easily start and quit applications, and drive presentation content directly on the board. You do not need to interact very much with the computer's keyboard and mouse, since most of the UI functions you need will be available directly thorough the board's touch interface.

Saving Collaborative Work

When conducting a collaborative session, such as a project meeting or brain storming session, the SMART Board will allow you to easily save a record of the writing that took place. When you pick up a pen and draw over an application, the board software will draw a frame around the screen, including a snapshot button on the upper right corner. Using this button it is easy to save the current image of the projected content with digital ink. The SMART Board also supports "Dual" mode which allows two collaborators to draw at the same time. The SMART Notebook software has a variety of features for creating, saving, and viewing/reviewing saved work. Some applications such as Microsoft Office allow the option of having the digital ink saved directly in the Office files.

Remote Real-Time Collaboration

If your collaborators are not in the same physical location during a session, they can still contribute to the content on the board using the "SMART Bridgit" conferencing service. With the Bridgit software installed, local and remote collaborators both see the projected display, and all participants can contribute digital ink.

CSE logo Computer Science & Engineering
University of Washington
Box 352350
Seattle, WA  98195-2350
(206) 543-1695 voice, (206) 543-2969 FAX
[comments to support]