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:
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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, and are available for Word 2007 and 2010 (Windows), and Word 2011 (MacOSX).


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


  • 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

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 and I will try to help you out. 


  • 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 This template contains commands to create new questions by means of inserting a specific structured table for each type.


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


Screenshot #0


Eoin Campbell (Lead maintainer)
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Comments RSS


  • Mon, Nov 17, 2014, 11:28 PM
    Swedish characters are supported, but perhaps you are not using a Unicode font in your Word file, which would cause a problem. Send me a sample file and I can take a look
  • Wed, Nov 26, 2014, 7:09 AM
    Hello, I'm getting a "Sorry, the requested file could not be found" when I attempt to export to the word table format. Any ideas of what might be wrong? Thanks in advance for the help!
  • Thu, Nov 27, 2014, 5:47 PM
    I suggest you export the questions to XML format, send me the file, and I can take a look. Also let me know what version of Moodle you are running.
  • Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 8:59 PM
    Hello! I just tried to import questions and received this message: No questions imported because the language of the labels in the Word file does not match your current Moodle interface language. "en" != "en_us"

    Can you help?
  • Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 9:59 PM
    You should change your user interface language from "English - United States (en_us)" to "English (en)" instead.
  • Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 10:07 PM
    Alternatively, in the Word file containing questions, click "File", then click on "Properties" on the right-hand side, then select
    "Advanced Properties" from the drop-down menu to bring up the properties dialog box.
    Click on the "Custom" tab, then select the property "moodleLanguage" from the list of custom properties, and change the value from "en" to "en_us".
    Then try importing it again.

    To avoid this problem in new question files, edit the Word template file moodleQuestion.dotx in your own Word Templates folder, and make the same edit. Any new question files you create will then have the correct language set.
  • Tue, Aug 18, 2015, 8:11 PM
    Your post read "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. You will need to experiment to find this limit on your own site"

    how do i experiment on the number of questions in a word file.??

  • Tue, Aug 18, 2015, 9:51 PM
    You can select a category containing a lot of questions (either directly within the category, or distributed across a number of subcategories), and export the questions to Word format. Then open the Word file and save in Word 2010 (.docx) format, and try importing it. If it works, open the file again, select and copy all the questions, go to the bottom of the file and paste them in again, save the file with a new name, and try importing the new file. Keep doubling the number of questions until the import fails, and you will have a fair idea of the limits. I imported 1800 questions in 1 file, but they didn't contain any images. Images will have a big impact, because most Moodle servers limit the maximum file size for upload to 8MB or less. 10 questions that include images may not upload at all due to this limitation.
  • Mon, Aug 31, 2015, 11:40 PM
    Good day Eoin:

    I've run into a small hiccup and I'm hoping that you can point me in the right direction to solve the issue. Our organization is in the process of transitioning from our old LMS (LXR) to Moodle. As a result I’m working on the conversion of our LXR question banks to Moodle banks. I’m not a programmer but I know an individual, also not a programmer, who has some experience with building macros for Microsoft Word. He has developed a macro that will convert my LXR .txt exports into a Word Table format that visually matches the online templates. Unfortunately when I attempt to import the newly created Word Table into Moodle I receive the following error notification:

    "There are no questions in the import file."

    Any help would be greatly appreicated

  • Tue, Sep 1, 2015, 12:07 AM
    Hi Dwayne,
    I checked the Word file you sent by email and responded, but you may not have received it.
    Here is my answer again:

    The structure of each table looks correct.
    However, the table cells must also comply with the styles used to format
    the question components. If you download and install the Word template at, and use it to create
    sample questions, you will notice that the table for each question contains cells
    for the question type, grades for each answer, fields like default mark, labels
    for each field, etc. The text in each cell has a particular style such as "QF Type", "Table Row Head",
    etc. The heading rows are also marked using the "Repeat Header Rows" marker in the Table Layout ribbon.

    In addition, there are custom properties in the Word file that you can view using the command
    File > Properties > Advanced Properties (Custom tab group).
    All of these styles and custom properties are essential to the conversion process, so you cannot
    simply create a Word file with tables that look similar.

    If the LXR files are in XML or text format, The Word macro language (VBA)
    might not necessarily be the best language to use to convert the files.
    If you send me a sample LXR file, I could take a look and see if I can do
    anything for you.
  • Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 3:47 AM
    Thank you Eoin quickly responding to our feature requests. It works beautifully now.
  • Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 6:12 AM

    If anyone can help, its my first time to try and upload form Word and it comes with:

    importpreprocess:92: Word file = Pre-sales Questions_Automation Systems_DB.docx; path = /home/nhp/moodledata/temp/questionimport/Pre-sales Questions_Automation Systems_DB.docx
    •line 92 of /question/format/wordtable/format.php: call to debugging()
    •line 114 of /question/import.php: call to qformat_wordtable->importpreprocess()

    importpreprocess:116: XSLT not installed
    •line 116 of /question/format/wordtable/format.php: call to debugging()
    •line 114 of /question/import.php: call to qformat_wordtable->importpreprocess()
  • Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 6:56 AM
    Hi all... I am using this import for this first time, and come with these errors. Any clues? Thank you,

    importpreprocess:92: Word file = Pre-sales Questions_Automation Systems_DB.docx; path = /home/nhp/moodledata/temp/questionimport/Pre-sales Questions_Automation Systems_DB.docx
    •line 92 of /question/format/wordtable/format.php: call to debugging()
    •line 114 of /question/import.php: call to qformat_wordtable->importpreprocess()

    importpreprocess:116: XSLT not installed
    •line 116 of /question/format/wordtable/format.php: call to debugging()
    •line 114 of /question/import.php: call to qformat_wordtable->importpreprocess()
  • Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 9:04 PM
    Hi Darren, your problem is that the PHP XSLT extension is not installed
    (cf. "importpreprocess:116: XSLT not installed").

    Read the section "Pre-requisites" on the WordTable plugins page [1] for
    instructions on how to fix this.

  • Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 12:21 PM
    Eoin, thanks for your message. We have installed this now, but there's even a longer message. Is there a way I can email you that directly?
    It seems to be largely around format and debugging....
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