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 Kiran Derle
    Tue, 25 Apr 2017, 5:16 PM
    Hello Eoin Sir,
    I am getting this error "unable to upload file, no repository identified"
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Tue, 25 Apr 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.
  • Picture of Samuel Witzig
    Tue, 25 Apr 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
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Tue, 25 Apr 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
  • Picture of Apostolos K.
    Thu, 18 May 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?
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Thu, 18 May 2017, 9:19 PM
    Hi there, I have reproduced this problem. I'll take a look at how to fix it.
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Mon, 22 May 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.
  • Picture of Tobias Hänel
    Tue, 27 Jun 2017, 9:41 PM
    Hi, can you reupload the template including the image conversion? Thanks a lot!
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Wed, 28 Jun 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.
  • Picture of Sola Ajiboye
    Sat, 12 Aug 2017, 7:00 PM
    Excellent plugin.
  • Picture of Mark DeLonge
    Mon, 28 Aug 2017, 11:13 PM
    Are there any plans to make the files work with Word 2016?
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Tue, 29 Aug 2017, 12:12 AM
    Hi Mark,
    The Word templates already work with Microsoft Word 2016 on Windows. Note that you will need to configure Word to trust digitally signed macros. They don't work with the online Office 365 version of Word though.
  • Picture of Kristen Chamberland
    Wed, 27 Sep 2017, 1:35 AM
    Hi Eoin,
    When I import the file, I get this error: 'No questions imported because the language of the labels in the Word file does not match your current Moodle interface language

    I'm using an english version of Word (2016) and importing to an english Moodle server. The Macros don't work for me either on Windows or Mac, so I manually created the questions using your template. Do you know what could be causing the problem?
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Wed, 27 Sep 2017, 3:30 AM
    The Word file containing questions contains hidden document properties required to support importing, so at a minimum you need to start with the file moodleQuestion.dotx, which you can download from http://www.moodle2word.net/mod/resource/view.php?id=46. The language is one of the properties that the import process must know, since the labels in the Word tables differ per language. An alternative way to get this information is to export some questions from your Moodle server, and use that exported Word file (saved as .docx) as your starting point.
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Wed, 27 Sep 2017, 3:32 AM
    The macros in the moodleQuizStartup.dotm won't work unless you enable your Word security settings to run digitally signed macros. Use File > Options > Trust Center to set this option.
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