Microsoft Word File Import/Export (Question Format)

Question formats ::: qformat_wordtable
Maintained by Eoin Campbell
Import questions (including images and equations) from structured tables in a Word file (.docx format) into a course question bank, and also export questions to a Word file, allowing for round-trip editing.
Latest release:
3920 sites
1k downloads
161 fans
Current versions available: 6

This plugin allows quiz questions to be imported from a Word file into Moodle. You can quickly write lots of questions in structured Word tables far more easily than in Moodle directly. The plugin also imports tables, images, and equations (when created using the Microsoft Office Equation Editor, not MathType/Wiris or the old Equation 3.0 editor). Equations are converted into MathML on import and displayed using the MathJax filter. You can also export questions from the Moodle question bank into structured tables in Word. 

The table structure for each question supports all the question components (stem, answer options, option-specific and general feedback, hints, tags and question meta-data such as penalties, grades and other options). All the main question types except Numerical and Calculated questions are fully supported. Numerical and Calculated questions are exported, but cannot be imported.

The Cloze question syntax is particularly useful, as it does not require any knowledge of the arcane Moodle syntax; instead, use bold for drop-down menu items, and italic for fill-in text fields. See attached screenshot for an example.

Language support

Exported questions are labelled in the language of the current Moodle user interface, and the spell-check language is also set to the correct language. Similarly, questions can be imported in the same language, not just English. Both left-to-right and right-to-left languages (such as Arabic and Hebrew) are supported.

Equation support (import only)

Equations written using the Microsoft Equation Editor in Word can be imported into Moodle as MathML. This MathML is rendered within Moodle using the MathJax filter. Note that MathML equations in questions are not exported in a usable way.

Supporting Word templates

Word templates to go with the plugin can be downloaded from the demonstration website www.Moodle2Word.net, and are available for Word 2007 and 2010 (Windows), and Word 2011 (MacOSX).

Installation

The plugin can be installed by a Moodle Administrator using the standard Moodle plugin installation process.

Pre-requisites

  • Check that your Moodle installation supports XSLT, and ideally HTMLTidy too. Log in as Administrator, go to Site Administration -> Server -> PHP info, and view the PHP configuration. Look for the package details for 'xsl'. If they are not present, then you will need to re-configure PHP and re-start the server.
  • To enable XSLT and HTMLTidy on a Windows Moodle server, open your PHP configuration file (e.g. d:\winmoodle2\server\php\php.ini on Windows) and uncomment the lines containing "extension=php_xsl.dll". and "extension=php_tidy.dll" by removing the semi-colon before them, if present.
  • On Linux platforms, you may need to create a symbolic link from the file , /etc/php5/apache2/mods-available/xsl.ini to , or /etc/php5/apache2/conf.d/20-xsl.ini. Change directory to /etc/php5/apache2/conf.d/, and use the command 'sudo ln -s ../../mods-available/xsl.ini 20-xsl.ini'. Alternatively, create a file /etc/php5/apache2/conf.d/xsl.ini containing the line
    extension=xsl.so
      

Configuration instructions

  1. Go to any course question bank that contains at least 1 question, and choose the Export option.
  2. The File format list should contain the new option 'Microsoft Word table format'. Select this item, and choose any question category containing some questions.
  3. You will be prompted to save or open a Word file. Save it. By default it should have a .doc suffix. If no suffix is provided, you must add it in yourself to ensure Word recognises the file format.
  4. If you see the error message "You need the XSLT library installed in PHP to save this Word file" (xsltunavailable in non-English installations), then your Moodle installation is not configured to support exporting to Word format, and you will need to update it. See this forum thread.
  5. To import questions from a Word file, open the file you just exported, and save it to Word 2010 (.docx) format. Then go to the Question Import form, and you should see a new item in the File format list, 'Microsoft Word table format'. Select this item, choose the Word file you saved, and import it.
  6. If all goes well, your questions in the file should be imported into your course. If not, send me an email at help@moodle2word.net and I will try to help you out. 

Limitations

  • The number of questions you can import in a single Word file is limited by the amount of memory allocated for processes on your Moodle server, but should be at least 1,000 questions or more.
  • When you export questions they are saved in an intermediate Word-compatible format in a file with a .doc suffix. You must then save the file to the standard Word format (with a .docx suffix). 

Using a Word template to create and edit questions

To edit existing questions using Word, first export them into Word. If you want to create new questions, you should install a custom Word template on your PC to assist you. You can download this template from the test website www.Moodle2Word.net. This template contains commands to create new questions by means of inserting a specific structured table for each type.

Sets

This plugin is part of set Microsoft Word file import/export.

Screenshots

Screenshot #0

Contributors

Eoin Campbell (Lead maintainer)
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Comments

  • Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 5:39 AM
    If you just want to migrate the questions to a different Moodle server, export them to Moodle Question XML format instead. It is much simpler.
    If you have an image in every question, then I suspect the exported file will be too large for Word to process. You would need to break up the output by exporting smaller numbers of questions. If all your questions are in 1 category, you'll need to split them into multiple categories and export each one separately.
    Finally, if you export the questions OK, then you still need to post-process the Word file after saving it as .docx format in order to convert the image data back into images. You can download a Word template to do this from http://www.moodle2word.net/mod/resource/view.php?id=12. Unfortunately, Windows Defender believes this template contains a virus, as the code to convert base64 image data into a real image is incorrectly considered to be a virus. If running Windows 10, you would need to turn off virus-checking to download and run it.
  • Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 9:52 PM
    Hi Eoin,

    Well, yes. The questions have images. Not all of them but many of them (360 questions). These are the errors I am getting: http://prntscr.com/epwvk7
    http://prntscr.com/epwvy6
  • Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 10:35 PM
    Hi Violeta, it looks you've successfully exported questions to Word, and now you want to convert the image data back into real images. The first screenshot indicates that you have installed the 'safe' version of the Word template which doesn't contain the macro, but instead displays the warning message "Image Conversion has been disabled due to Windows Defender issues". I'm not sure what operation you attempted that produced the error message in the 2nd screenshot "This is not a valid file name". Please contact me directly and we can try and track it down.
  • Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 11:39 PM
    Hi Eoin

    I sent you an email. Thanks!
  • Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 12:17 AM
    Quick question: When the exported questions have images, I need to convert that file to docx and additionally click on the "convert images" button right?
  • Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 5:16 PM
    Hello Eoin Sir,
    I am getting this error "unable to upload file, no repository identified"
  • Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 6:07 PM
    Hi there, unfortunately this is an issue I cannot resolve. It arises when you use the built-in commands "Preview Current Question" or "Import All Questions" in the Word template to import or preview questions from within Word itself by uploading them to your Moodle site. If this happens, the only way around it is to use a browser to log in to Moodle, and upload the Word file directly from within the browser, using the course "Question bank > Questions > Import" command.
  • Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 8:05 PM
    Hi Eoin.
    I uploaded the current version of the "moodle2WordInstaller_v3_4wd.docm" to Virustotal. 16 out of 58 antivirus-engines showed an alert (mostly for W97M.Bendis.BI, but also for Doc.Dropper.Agent-1669370 and a few others). Since Word-macros are now frequently used to distribute malware, I'm very much wondering whether it is safe to use the document...
    Best,
    Samuel
  • Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 9:31 PM
    Hi Samuel,
    this is a fair point. If it is any help, the file is digitally signed by the company I work for. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or knowledge to keep all the anti-virus programmes happy with these Word templates. However, I have now added the 2 individual Word templates contained inside the Zip file, so that you can download and copy them to the correct folders. As far as I can tell, these files do not trigger virus warnings (yet, at least). Instructions on where to place them are also included (cf. www.moodle2word.net). Hope this helps.
    Eoin Campbell
  • Thu, May 18, 2017, 7:55 PM
    Hi there,
    I have i have encountered the following problem while exporting and re-importing a Moodle2Word file (greek version). I made a few dummy multiple choise questions on moodle and exported them with Microsoft Word 2010 table format (wordtable). I deleted the dummy ones and changed the text on the ones I exported. all went well went I imported them back but what i found is that the penalty for wrong answers has been changed to 33.333% while I had selected 0% in the begining. Any Idea why this is happening?
  • Thu, May 18, 2017, 9:19 PM
    Hi there, I have reproduced this problem. I'll take a look at how to fix it.
  • Mon, May 22, 2017, 6:24 AM
    This problem affected all languages. A penalty value of 0% was not recognised, and the default of 33.3% used instead. This issue is fixed in version 3.5.17.
  • Tue, Jun 27, 2017, 9:41 PM
    Hi, can you reupload the template including the image conversion? Thanks a lot!
  • Wed, Jun 28, 2017, 1:04 AM
    Hi Tobias,
    I have re-published the English auto-installing Word template Zip file at http://www.moodle2word.net/mod/resource/view.php?id=54. You will need to register on the site, and enrol in the course "WordTable Question conversion" to download it. Hopefully this will stop Google et. al. marking the whole site as being dangerous.
  • Sat, Aug 12, 2017, 7:00 PM
    Excellent plugin.
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