ICET QuickGuide: The HTML Editor in Desire2Learn


The HTML editor in Desire2Learn is available when creating files or editing descriptions. The tools allow the user to create, edit and format text and images in a What-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) environment that are automatically displayed in the various Desire2Learn contexts. Additionally, the editor creates the HTML source code allowing a writer to toggle back and forth between both editing tools. Additional information on Using the HTML Editor can be found at HTML Editor in the Desire2Learn Online Resource Center. Following this link will direct you away from the UW-Platteville ICET Website


  • Access to a Desire2Learn Course


  1. Log into Desire2Learn.
  2. Select a course.
  3. Navigate to any area that requires some type of text input.
  4. Click on any applicable text field and the HTML editor will apear.
  5. Select Edit HTML Pencil icon from the dropdown menu beside a text field and the HTML editor will appear. 

Note: Some tools activate the HTML Editor automatically.

  1. Click inside the main area of the HTML Editor and begin adding or editing content.

Note: the HTML Editor supports autolinking of external web addresses (URLs). When a URL is entered, it will automatically be converted to a link. If an external site does not allow autolink creation, Insert Quicklink should be used to insert the URL. For more information on Quicklinks, see ICET Quickguide: Add Activities in Content.

  1. After the content has been created in the HTML Editor frame skip to the next step. The content created in the HTML editor will automatically be saved when the page in which the content is being added is saved.

Screenshot of HTML Editor
Desire2Learn HTML Editor

For information on using the Insert Stuff feature, see Insert Stuff (Desire2Learn).

  1. Click the elipssis button button to see more options in the HTML Editor. Additional HTML editing tools will be displayed.

HTML Editor with more selected
Desire2Learn HTML Editor - More

Note: There are three ways in which to view content in the HTML Editor: the Design view, the Source Editor view or the preview. The HTML editor automatically opens in the design view. To access the source editor view, click the HTML Source editor icon HTML source icon . To access the preview, click the Preview icon Preview icon .


It is also possible to insert equations using the HTML Equation Editor . The Equation Editor supports the MathML and LaTeX formats in addition to a graphical editor where equations can be created by choosing from formula templates.

  1. In the HTML Editor, click Equation Editor icon .

Note: If the equation editor menu does not appear, check that pop-ups are not being blocked. 

  1. Provide a title for the equation. (This is used by screen readers.)
  2. Choose one of the following math input formats: Graphical Equation, MathML or LaTeX.
  3. Create equation.
  4. Click Insert.
  5. Click Publish to view the equation. 

Note: Before being published, the equation will display in MathML or LaTex code or in the case of the graphic equation editor as a icon.

Screenshot of Graphical Equation Editor
Insert Equation - Graphical Equation Editor prior to publish

Inserting equations in the HTML Editor

The Equation Editor is used to insert mathematical equations within the HTML Editor. The Editor has three options: MathML, LaTeX, or graphical equation editor.

Access the Equation Editor by clicking on the icon  and choosing one of the following math formats:

  1. MathML is a standard adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which uses XML to describe mathematical notation by capturing both its structure and content. This enables MathML to support visual display and assistive technology access. 
  2. LaTeX is a typesetting system based on TeX. It provides a text syntax for complex mathematical formulae. 
  3. The Graphical Equation Editor is a Javascript-based application that features a tool bar equipped with a selection of buttons. This tool bar provides the necessary elements to construct equations quickly and easily. Each button in the Equation Editor tool bar opens a palette of related mathematical symbols.

Note: Before using the Graphical Equation Editor, ensure that Javascript is enabled and the pop-up blocker is disabled.

The equations will be displayed as a symbol block in the HTML Editor window, but will appear as a mathematical equation after Publish is clicked.

Equation Editor screen shot
Graphic Equation Editor

If you need further assistance, contact or phone 608.342.1792

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