Boundless books are unique in that you can mix your own content in easily with our Boundless content to create a perfectly customized book for your syllabus! You could include case studies, lab instructions, examples, or your own writing. You could even write a book entirely from scratch!

Creating New Atoms

You can add new chapters, sections, and atoms by selecting the “+ New Chapter,” “+ New Section,” and “+ New Concept” options in the book editor:

Atom Settings

When you select “+ New Concept,” a menu will pop up that will prompt you to enter the name of your new atom, choose whether you want your atom to be public or private, and choose whether or not you want to use the “Smartnotes & Full Text” template or the “Full Text Only” template.

Wait, what’s the difference between the two templates? All canonical Boundless atoms use the “Smartnotes & Full Text” template. This means that, in addition to the full text, students are presented with a headline, learning objective, key points, and key terms.

While Smartnotes is a unique feature of Boundless content, we realize that instructors creating their own content might not want to write Smartnotes for each atom. That’s why we offer a “Full Text only” option. (Note that the full text option still allows you to add a learning objective and key terms if you want.)

Once you’ve confirmed your options, select the “Create Atom” button. Your new blank atom will now be added to your book. (More on adding content to your new atoms later!)

7) Now that you know about the features of the book editor, customize your Table of Contents, reordering, renaming, deleting, and adding material as you see fit. Once you’re done customizing your Table of Contents, select the “Save new version” button at the bottom of the page:

(Note that your changes are saved automatically as you edit.)

8) Now describe the changes you made to the Table of Contents and select the “Continue and save new version” button:


Wait, but what if I want to make more changes later? You can make further edits to your Table of Contents by selecting the “Edit” option to the right of the Table of Contents:

This will relaunch the book editor.

Customizing Your Boundless Book: The Atom Editor

1) To add content to a new atom that you created, navigate to the atom on your Table of Contents. Then select “View”:

This will take you to your new blank atom. You’ll see an indication at the top of the page that the atom was “Created by you.” This means that you are the owner of the atom and have full permission to edit it:

(If an atom indicates that it “created by Boundless”—or any other user for that matter— you can provide feedback on the content, but you don’t have permission to edit it yourself.)

2. To launch the atom editor, select the “Edit” option to the right of the atom:

3. You can see that the atom editor allows you to add a brief, a learning objective, key points, key terms, examples, the full text, and sources:


Boundless believes access to quality educational content is a right, not a privilege. We make good on this belief by freely posting our open textbooks on the web under the CC BY-SA license, currently in version 4.0. Any student, educator, or self-learner can access, quote, and reconfigure our textbooks for their own purposes. It would have been impossible for Boundless to have created 20+ subjects' worth of content without the availability of openly licensed materials. Our team of subject-matter experts "curate" the best openly licensed content: they take what's available and rewrite it as necessary to add our own layer of pedagogy and copy editing. We use materials under licenses such as CC BY, CC BY-SA, public domain (PD), and more, all of which are compatible with our own CC BY-SA license.

We use this sources section to site the materials that we use as a basis for our work. You should too. If you use open source material in your new atom (for example, if you copy and paste a paragraph from Wikipedia and a paragraph from another Boundless atom), be sure to cite those sources here.

Now that you know the basics, go ahead and start using the editor to add content to your atom.

Formatting Your Atoms

You can add H1 headers (bigger headers), H2 headers (smaller headers), block quotations, bulleted lists, numbered lists, italics, superscripts, subscripts, and key terms by highlighting the text in question. A menu with the nine options will then appear:

You can also add equations, images, embeds, and links by selecting the gray circle with the white plus sign:

A menu with the four options will then appear:


The embed tool (</>), for example, is a great way to add YouTube videos directly into your atom:

Note that you can uses the gray arrows to the right of the video (or image) to move it up and down on the page.

Now that you’re familiar with all of the features of the atom editor, finish writing your atom.

Submitting Changes to Your Atom

Once you’re done, select the “Propose Edit” button at the bottom of the page.

Use the drop down menu to classify the change you made to the atom (in this case you’re proposing a new concept) and write a brief description in the text field provided. Once you’ve done that, select the “Create Issue” button:

Your proposed edit will then appear. All of your new content is shown in green. (If you’re editing an existing atom, deleted content is shown in red). If you notice an issue with your proposed change (a spelling error, for example) you can select the “Update Edit” button. Once you’re satisfied with your edit, select the “Approve Edit” button. (As the owner of your atom, you have the ability to approve changes.)

If you’d like to return to the Table of Contents of your book for further editing, select the link near the top of the page. If you’d like to return to the atom you just edited, select the “Read” button on the right hand side of the page. Or, if you’d like to edit the atom further, select the “Edit” button to relaunch the atom editor: