General Questions

What is Emerald?

Emerald Exam enables students to take exams on their laptops– with full academic integrity.

How does Emerald work?

The Emerald desktop application opens up a full-screen window and prevents you from switching out of it. The program monitors your system to make sure you stay within the exam window.

Inside the window is a document for your exam: every change you make is automatically saved to the cloud. When you are done answering all questions in the exam, click the “Submit” button in the top right. You will no longer be able to edit your exam document and Emerald will close.

Who can use Emerald?

Emerald was created by students, for students– and for instructors, of course! Instructors - both at high schools and universities - can sign up here and begin creating exams for their students right away.

What resources may I use to help me learn how to use Emerald?

Emerald is simple to use! You can view our tutorial video [link] or reach out to us at and we would be happy to walk you through the service per phone, skype, Google+ Hangouts (or in person, if we’re in town!)– whatever works best for you!

What does Emerald cost?

Emerald offers a free trial– sign up today! Emerald is currently evaluating full pricing models.

Are you currently hiring?

Please contact to find out about current open positions.  

What operating systems does Emerald support?

We currently support the following operating systems, and expect to have more on the way soon.



If you do not use one of these operating systems, you may need to borrow a laptop from your school or a friend. If you are on a different version of OS X or Windows, you should download the Emerald app and check, as we may already have native support for your operating system.


Do students need to use their personal laptops in order to run Emerald or will Emerald run on public/school-wide laptops as well?

Students will need Emerald downloaded on their computer. Installations on lab computers or public laptops are also common, and we are experienced in working with IT staff to set that up if students do not have access to download applications on those computers. Students do not need to set up accounts on Emerald.

How much support will our school administrators and/or IT team need to provide our instructors in order to best implement Emerald?

Emerald Exams are designed to be simple to use! In the event of any kind of confusion, we are happy to give 1:1 demonstrations over Skype or similar services. The simple Emerald interface allows instructors to independently administer Emerald Exams in classes where students can bring laptops for the exam. Student setup is a two- to three-minute straightforward process, and can be completed independently by students as well through our download page.

Exam Formatting

Does Emerald support Multiple Choice exams?

Instructors can input multiple choice questions by specifying the question and choices within the text field, and students can answer them by typing out the choice, such as ‘B’. Support for native multiple choice questions (with auto-grading) is in the works and should be ready soon.

Can I write fill-in-the-blanks questions on Emerald?

Emerald is planning to develop a more comfortable fill-in-the-blanks function to be launched soon. For now,instructors still need to  ask students to fill in the blank in the answer space. Here’s an example:


It is raining  _____ and _____today.


cats, dogs

Can Emerald convert a scanned exam?

Emerald is happy to convert exams from Microsoft Word or PDF formats for you within 24 hours. Please email with an attachment of the file you wish to convert at least 24 hours before exam time. The Emerald Team is working to automate this process for instant conversion– a feature which will be available to instructors soon.

Language Settings

How do students type accents (e.g. é, ô, à) on Emerald?

On Windows, students can use ALT codes to type accents. On Mac, they can use the option key. Students may want to ask them to print out the reference sheet for their operating system, if they are not already familiar with that method of input. Students can also choose to set up their keyboard layout to the language of choice.

Emerald is also looking to offer native support for foreign languages through a character palette, to support students unfamiliar with key codes for accents.

Does Emerald spell check?

Spell check is a high-priority feature that is currently under development and will soon be available as an options instructors can enable.


What if I have multiple classrooms, administering an exam with extra time to the students in one of those classrooms?

Instructors have the option to “Add Exam Room” on the Exam Dashboard, allowing instructors to administer exams in multiple classrooms, at different times of the day, or with different exam time restrictions.

Does Emerald allow me to administer exams remotely?

Instructors can choose to administer remote exams on Emerald, and students still will be unable to switch to other windows or access other material on their laptop. However, Emerald does not protect against students pulling out a phone, conferring with a friend, or other external measures of accessing unauthorized resources.

Unstable Internet Connection

What if the room in which I am testing has an unstable internet connection?

Emerald is optimized for low-bandwidth situations, relying on minimal connectivity. Emerald also backs student work up to their hard drive as they type, so students can continue to use Emerald without issue if the internet goes out. Emerald only requires a connection when students first enter Emerald in order to retrieve the exam questions.

What happens if a student laptop crashes during the exam?

We recommend that the student restarts his/her computer, closing all open windows, and making sure the laptop has adequate battery life (or a charger!) before taking an exam to minimize the chances that your computer should crash during an exam.

Should that happen, though, all the student will lose is a minute or two: student work is instantly saved throughout the exam and all he/she has to do is reboot, open up the Emerald application, and enter the exam code and email previously entered. The student will be taken right back to where you were before the crash. (Students may need to ask your instructor to grant you permission to re-enter).

What happens if a student computer runs out of battery?

Part of arriving prepared for an exam is arriving with a fully-charged battery and a charger.

Where possible, Emerald will be working with professors and IT departments to bring extension cords and power strips into the exam room. If this isn’t the case for you, contact and we’ll see how we can help.

(Note to Students: It also couldn’t hurt to bring a power strip of your own– it could be a good way to make a few friends!)