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Practical hints/FAQ for using Big Blue Button

what are the communication methods?

  • text messaging, audio, video, pdf-type slide presentations

display a presentation

You can either choose to:
  • display a pdf (or any other window) shown on your screen (even your whole screen, but that might include private things!), or
  • upload your pdf (or .pptx) file beforehand (the server takes 2-5 minutes to convert it)
    • In this case, you can use a virtual whiteboard to draw with virtual markers on your presentation, and you can allow participants to do so too, allowing live discussion to continue with diagrams (lines, circles, freehand curves, text).
  • each time you "share your screen" you have to wait a bit, so if you do this a lot, remember to keep talking to your audience, or encourage them to talk, while you're doing this


  • set your video quality to low, to avoid overloading the bandwidth

webcam button is locked

If your webcam button is locked and you can't unlock it, and if the admin/moderator hasn't locked it, try this to reset the lock:
  • top-right triple-dot
  • Settings
  • Data savings
    • Enable webcams: switch this to off status
    • Save (and wait a bit)
    • Enable webcams: switch this back to on status
    • Save (and wait a bit)
    • Close
Why does this happen sometimes? This could be related to BBB's management of resources - bandwidth, cpu load.


whiteboard text entry

Selection sequence:
  • Tools
  • T
  • click and drag to make a little box where you want to type
  • type with the keyboard - your typing should appear in the box; you can modify the parameters of the text as long as the box remains present
  • click somewhere else to terminate the box; the characters should visually remain in place.

Audience attention

Mice wiggling on whiteboard

If you want your audience to give a sign (hint) that they are really listening to you, even though their video feeds are off, click on the icon to allow the audience to use the whiteboard, and ask the audience to place their cursors near the bottom of the whiteboard, as if they are sitting in the audience. Ask the audience to wiggle their cursors a bit to give a minimal indication that they're not just reading email or watching youtube. After a few seconds, the audience will generally withdraw their cursors without you asking, to avoid being distracting.

Feedback for bbb community


  • bbb software: improving sound/connection quality is important for people with difficulties in concentration in the presence of distractions such as sound gaps
  • recorded videos - subtitles would be very useful (not a bbb issue, rather a conference organisers' issue)

Downloading a recording

Keystroke security

  • ArXiv:2010.12078 Zoom on the Keystrokes: Exploiting Video Calls for Keystroke Inference Attacks - Mohd Sabra, Anindya Maiti, Murtuza Jadliwala
    • Better touch-type than seek-and-peck; keep your shoulders stiff or move them randomly; or hide your shoulders or have long hair...

Quality assurance

-- BoudRoukema - 26 Apr 2020 + ...
Topic revision: r12 - 27 Nov 2023, BoudRoukema
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