With the SMART Board interactive whiteboards being the most popular range of interactive whiteboards in the UK for many years, many users across the country, in particular in the education sector, will be familiar with the SMART Notebook software.

SMART Notebook

SMART Notebook enables educators to create, edit and deliver interactive lessons from their own resources or using the free interactive lessons created by other teachers and available on the SMART Exchange website.

Many teachers will have created countless lessons on the software and are very familiar with it, so now that interactive whiteboards are gradually being replaced with interactive flat panels, some may be anxious at the idea of having to learn a new software or not being able to use the lessons they spent time creating before, if the hardware changes.

Worry not!

The SMART Notebook software is still available and is fully compatible with interactive flat panels (from SMART and some other brands too) so you can continue using the software you are familiar with on your new equipment.

Do you need to buy a licence?

A licence is not mandatory; however, a SMART Learning Suite licence offers great additional benefits.

SMART Notebook basic version is included with every SMART Board interactive display and you can use it for free for as long as you need. Or you can download it for free to use on a different manufacturer's hardware.
The basic version still allows users access to the creation tools, measuring tools, Geogebra and 3D and is regularly updated to be compatible with the latest operating systems. However, access to premium created content is on a read-only basis, there is no access to SMART Learning Suite Online and there is a watermark displayed when the software is used on hardware from a different manufacturer.

A SMART Learning Suite licence includes the full SMART Notebook version which has the same features as the basic version plus access to game-based activities, formative assessments, YouTube, web image search, SMART Blocks, Maestro, dual page view, transparent background, concept mapping and lesson recording.

In addition, the licence gives you access to SMART Learning Suite Online which allows you to deliver lessons directly to students' devices and access the suite anytime, anywhere (even at home). Students can access lessons from any web-enabled device including computers, tablets or phones.

SMART Learning Suite also works and integrates easily with learning management system platforms like Canvas, Google G-Suite and Microsoft.

When you buy a new SMART Board interactive display, a 1-year licence for SMART Learning Suite is included. When this runs out, you can renew your licence for 1, 2 or 3 years or if you decide not to renew, you can continue to use the SMART Notebook basic version.

Differences between SMART Notebook basic and the licenced SMART Notebook version.


With a subscription to SMART Learning Suite

With the basic version of SMART Notebook


Use game-based activity templates to create interactive activities. Type of activities include matching, fill-in-the-blanks, label reveal, sorting, and more. Learn more about activities.

These activities help students memorize concepts and facts, identify objects, learn vocabulary definitions, and more. Activites can be played as a class or students can connect to the activities using their devices and play them in small groups or individually.

If the file has existing activities, the content is maintained but cannot be edited. New activities cannot be created.

Existing activities can be played as a class at the SMART Board.

Only activities which require student devices (such as Monster Quiz) can be played individually on student devices.

Formative assessments

Use the response 2 wizard to create actionable question sets. Focusing on formative assessments, this feature supports the need for educators to effectively assess students in order to guide learning. Students can complete assessments using their own devices. Learn more about assessments.

If the file has existing assessments, the content is maintained but cannot be edited. New assessments cannot be created.

YouTube add-on

Use the YouTube add-on in SMART Notebook to search for YouTube videos or paste a link and add YouTube videos into pages.

If the file has existing videos, you can play them but you cannot search for or add new videos.

Image Web Search add-on

Search and add images directly from Bing into your lesson. Only royalty-free, age-appropriate image results will turn up.

If the file has existing images, they still appear, but you cannot search for and add new images using this add-on.

Concept Mapping add-on

Use Concept Mapping to quickly create concept maps that encourage dynamic participation from students. You can use ink gestures along with traditional interactions to build concept maps. Learn more about concept mapping.

If the file has existing concept maps, these are maintained. New concept maps cannot be created.

Lesson Recorder add-on

Using SMART Recorder, you can record your actions on your interactive product. If you connect a microphone to your computer, you can record your voice as well.

After you create a recording, you can play the recording on any computer using Windows Media Player (Windows operating systems) or QuickTime software (macOS operating system software).

Learn more about recording lessons.

Any existing recordings will play, but you cannot create new recordings.

SMART Blocks add-on

SMART Blocks is an add-on that enables you to perform math activities with your class by writing numbers on the page, and then connecting them to a SMART Block. You can choose from seven different equation types to work with.

Learn more about using SMART Blocks.

If the file has existing SMART Blocks, you can run them.

You cannot add new SMART Blocks.

kapp add-on

Save notes taken on a SMART kapp whiteboard directly into the SMART Notebook page. You can take your kapp notes and and erase, resize, convert-to-text or graph them within your Notebook lesson.

Use the timeline feature to replay the work students have done and observe their decision-making and how their ideas evolved.

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The Maestro add-on connects SMART Notebook software and the SMART Notebook app for iPad enabling you to remotely control and interact with lessons from the SMART Notebook app on your iPad.

Learn more from the SMART Notebook Maestro quick start guide.

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Screen View

When presenting lessons you can use the following views:

  • Full Screen view expands the page area to fill the interactive screen by hiding the title bar, toolbar, taskbar and sidebar.

  • Transparent Background view enables you to see the desktop and windows behind the SMART Notebook software window and continue to interact with the open, transparent page.

  • Dual Page view displays two pages side-by-side.

Dual page and transparent background options are not available.

Share files to board or share using a link

Share files using the Share to Board or Share using a Link features.

These features are not available.

No watermark

When you subscribe to SMART Learning Suite, this watermark is removed even if you are not connected to a SMART Board.

A SMART watermark appears on each page when the computer is not connected to a SMART Board.


Interested in updating your equipment? Contact us today to organise an on-site demo where you can test products' features and the software.
If you would like to buy a new SMART Learning Suite licence or simply renew an existing one, call us on 01924 278464 and we'll be happy to help.