Question formats: Microsoft Word File Import/Export (Question Format)

qformat_wordtable
Maintained by Picture of Eoin Campbell Eoin Campbell
Export questions (including images) in a question bank into a Word file, and also import questions from structured tables in a Word (.docx format) file.
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Moodle 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3

Moodle2Word is a plugin that allows quiz questions to be exported from Moodle into a Word file. The Word file can then be used to quickly review large numbers of questions (either online or in print), or to prepare paper tests (where the answers and feedback are hidden).

Moodle2Word also supports importing questions from structured tables in Word directly into the Moodle question bank. The tables support 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), as well as embedded images. All the main question types except Numerical and Calculated questions are fully supported. Numerical and Calculated questions are exported, but cannot be imported.

Some OU question types added to core in Moodle 3.0 are also supported: Drag and drop onto image, Drag and drop markers, Drag and drop into text and Select missing words. All-or-Nothing Multiple Choice is also supported. These additional question types all require that custom versions of the questions be installed to replace the defaults, however.

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 can then be rendered within Moodle using the MathJax plugin, if you are running Moodle 2.7 or later. It is probably possible to configure MathJax on earlier versions of Moodle to support MathML rendering, but I don't know how to do this.

Note that as of version 3.4.3, 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). The Windows templates also support a simple question preview facility, and a facility to upload questions from within Word.

If questions contain images, then you must install the Word template in order to be able to convert the images in exported questions into embedded images in Word, as they are not automatically visible.

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

  • When exported questions contain images, they are initially stored in the Word file as tabular data. After opening the Word file, you must run a custom Word macro to convert them back into images in the correct locations. You need to install a Word template on your PC to access this macro.
  • 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.

Using a Word template to create and edit questions

To edit existing questions using Word, first export them into Word. If they contain images, or 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, import questions into Moodle, format questions for printed tests, and convert images in exported questions.

Sets

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

Screenshots

Screenshot #0

Contributors

Picture of Eoin Campbell
Eoin Campbell (Lead maintainer)
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Show comments
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Thu, 1 Feb 2018, 5:06 AM
    First check that you can export the same question category as an XML file. If you can't, it may be because the category name contains characters not supported by the operating system as filename characters). If its OK, there may be something non-standard about where temporary Moodle files are stored in your configuration. Try importing the XML file to the test server www.moodle2word.net, and then exporting them to Word. If that works, it is definitely a configuration problem on your server.
  • Picture of ASRIL FACHRIZA HAQI
    Tue, 13 Feb 2018, 9:17 AM
    Hi Eoin,
    When I import the file, I get this error: 'Can not create file "5/user/draft/460998637/Picture1.dataimage;base64

    How to fix it?
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Wed, 14 Feb 2018, 3:26 AM
    This error message is caused whenever you have an image embedded in your Word document that is not in a web-compatible format: GIF, JPEG, or PNG. It is most likely in EMF. You need to change it to a PNG, for example by screenshooting it and then replacing it with the screenshot version.
  • Picture of stefan weber
    Fri, 25 May 2018, 8:58 PM
    im running moodle 3.4.3 with worttable 3.5.21, and it does not seem to work any more - I get this error:
    "Sorry, the requested file could not be found", when I try to download the export file
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Fri, 25 May 2018, 9:54 PM
    This sounds more like a configuration problem. The file is exported to the moodledata folder, so if that isn't configured correctly, it would cause this error. Try exporting to an XML file too, to verify or rule out this possibility.
  • Picture of stefan weber
    Mon, 28 May 2018, 4:14 PM
    negative, all other export formats work fine
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Mon, 28 May 2018, 5:27 PM
    In this case, it is likely that there is some HTML markup in the body of a question that might not be well-formed XHTML, and therefore breaks the XSLT processing carried out to create the Word file (which is in XHTML format). , Export the question category you are working on into Question XML format instead, remove any CDATA sections, and test it on this online XML validator: https://www.xmlvalidation.com/. See CDATA sections explainer here: https://www.tutorialspoint.com/xml/xml_cdata_sections.htm
  • Picture of Juan Carlos Jimenez
    Wed, 11 Jul 2018, 1:22 PM
    Hi.
    This plugin works to export a questionnaire in word format so that the student can do it?
    How should I do it?
    because I just installed it and it works but when exporting the questions it generates a word document with a lot of information that the students can not see.
    Thank you
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Thu, 12 Jul 2018, 5:03 AM
    To create a paper quiz that students can do, you need to run a Word macro after the initial export into Word format. The macro is in the question Word template available for download at http://www.moodle2word.net/. Install it using the instructions at http://www.moodle2word.net/mod/page/view.php?id=16, and then run the command "Set/Unset Assessment View" to reformat the questions in a way that hides the answers.
  • Picture of James Mackay
    Thu, 12 Jul 2018, 1:13 PM
    Hi Eoin,

    Thanks for your work with this great plugin.

    We've unfortunately recently encountered an issue. We used to have WIRIS installed before using Moodle2Word, but ever since we were forced to remove the WIRIS plugin, the formulas in the questions now don't display on the page properly.

    For example; "x^2" is now displaying as "x2".

    Was there a method of ensuring the formulas displayed correctly on the page without having to use WIRIS?

    Thanks for your help.
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Thu, 12 Jul 2018, 6:30 PM
    It sounds like a MathJax filter configuration problem (cf. https://docs.moodle.org/31/en/MathJax_filter). Moodle2Word converts equations into MathML, so you need to set the filter to recognise '<math' as a delimiter. I'm not sure did WIRIS use LaTeX, but if it did, then you also need to keep the LaTeX delimiter ($, I think), so that older pages also display properly.
  • Picture of James Mackay
    Mon, 16 Jul 2018, 9:50 AM
    Hi Eoin,
    It worked! Many thanks for the response. That certainly saved us a fair bit of grief.
    Cheers
  • Picture of Priyanka Sinha
    Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 1:15 PM
    Hi Eoin,

    I have been using the plugin for few years now and it worked very well. Recently though, the equations written in equation editor are not being rendered properly. I am facing the same issue that James Mackay mentioned above i.e. "x^2" is now displaying as "x2". I verified that MathJAX is installed and enabled; and has "
    Is there anything you can think of that I am missing? I am using MS Word 2016 latest version and 3.5.21 version of your plugin. I have Moodle 2.9.2.

    Thanks,
    Priyanka
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 9:47 PM
    Try importing the Word file into http://www.moodle2word.net/ and see if the issue also arises there.
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Sun, 29 Jul 2018, 4:09 AM
    The equations must use the new Microsoft Word Equation Editor (2007 and later), not the old Microsoft Equation 3.0.
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