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

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 Rishi Singhal
    Wed, 22 Jun 2016, 12:38 AM
    Hi,

    The equation gets rendered properly by the MathJax plugin but the problem i see is the equation editor is not able to show the equation. Due to this editing the equation becomes a problem. Any suggestions on this?

    Thanks,
    Rishi
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Wed, 22 Jun 2016, 2:02 AM
    You need a plugin that can edit MathML within Moodle directly, or else you need to edit the equation in Word and re-import it. This page might help you: https://docs.moodle.org/29/en/Mathematics
  • Picture of Chris Swaffield
    Fri, 15 Jul 2016, 1:08 AM
    Is this compatible with Word 2016 for Mac? When I export a question category, the result Word doc is blank. It contains the course name and category name, but nothing else.
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Fri, 15 Jul 2016, 2:32 AM
    I haven't tested it with Word 2016. However, you may have double-clicked on the exported file to open it, and this probably won't work. You should try starting Word, then using File > Open to open the file. This might work better. The question types you exported are also significant. If you exported a category of questions that aren't supported by the export facility, the file will be blank. Only standard question types (MCQ, T/F, Short Answer, Description, Essay, Matching) are supported.
    If it doesn't work for you, export the questions as XML and Word, and send me both files, and I'll take a look.
  • Picture of yifat shaked
    Tue, 8 Nov 2016, 3:20 PM
    Hi
    Thanks for this useful plugin
    Thanks to rapid responsiveness to support us
    Yifat Shaked
  • Picture of Mohseen Khan
    Wed, 14 Dec 2016, 4:12 PM
    Hello Everyone,
    the plugin is great ,but when i am importing questions having images it is showing the following error :
    Can not create file 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    Any Suggestion ?

    Regards,
    Mohseen Khan
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Thu, 15 Dec 2016, 1:10 AM
    This problem may be a result of the exact mechanism you used to insert the image in your Word file, for example if you linked the image rather than embedded it, or if the image was created internally inside Word using Draw (which is not supported). Send me the file and I'll take a look.
  • Picture of evan skull
    Tue, 7 Mar 2017, 8:14 PM
    Hi,
    I have facing this error.
    The type of the file you selected (application/msword) does not match the type expected by this import format (application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document).

    Am I missing something at the setting?

    Thanks.
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Tue, 7 Mar 2017, 10:44 PM
    You need to upload a Word .docx file, not a .doc file. If you exported questions from Moodle, the file is a .doc file, and you must save it as .docx format in order to import the questions.
  • Picture of Violeta vega
    Wed, 29 Mar 2017, 4:22 AM
    I'm having issues working with this. I have 360 questions with images in a question bank that I want to pass from one moodle to another. I was able to install the plugin and export the file in doc, but when I open the doc, the system goes really slow and I get a (not responding) message next to the title on the word file. So am not able to save it as a docx and test if the images can be imported too. Any help will be highly appreciated.
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Wed, 29 Mar 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.
  • Picture of Violeta vega
    Wed, 29 Mar 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
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Wed, 29 Mar 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.
  • Picture of Violeta vega
    Wed, 29 Mar 2017, 11:39 PM
    Hi Eoin

    I sent you an email. Thanks!
  • Picture of Violeta vega
    Thu, 30 Mar 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?
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