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.
1306 sites
2k downloads
66 fans
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, 3.4

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)
Please login to view contributors details and/or to contact them

Comments RSS

Show comments
  • 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.
  • Picture of Zak Stoimenov
    Mon, 6 Nov 2017, 11:38 AM
    Hi Eoin,
    Thanks for the great plugin. I have been using it now and then to export questions from the question bank and it worked fine every time. Today, one of my colleagues mentioned that he was unable to export some of the categories in the question bank. The file comes out empty. When I tried some categories indeed create an empty file and some work fine. Can you provide more info on what the problem might be? Could it be the size of the categories?
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Mon, 6 Nov 2017, 4:32 PM
    There are 2 likely reasons why questions don't export. One is that the questions are not supported by the plugin, such as Numeric, or Calculated. The second is that there is some badly-formed HTML inside a question, that breaks the export process. This can happen if the question content was copied and pasted from Word a few years ago, before the Atto editor was created. The older TinyMCE editor didn't do a very good job of cleaning up content pasted from Word, so old questions often contain strange HTML markup. It only takes one bad question to break the export of the whole category.
    One way to fix this is to simply open and save the questions one by one in the question editor, but it is a tedious job. A better approach is to try and identify the bad question. Try exporting to XML instead, open it in a text editor, and inspect it for possible bad markup.
  • Picture of Dwayne Giesbrecht
    Fri, 17 Nov 2017, 6:12 AM
    Good day Eoin:
    I’m running in to an issue when attempting to convert images in an exported file. When I click on “Convert Images” I receive a dialogue box telling me that the “Image Conversion has been disabled to avoid Windows Defender issues”. Upon closing that box I receive another dialogue box telling me that

    Error(idp2212255520): This is not a valid file name.
    Try one or more of the following:
    *Check the path to make sure it was typed correctly
    *Select a file from the list of files and folders.

    I’m running Windows 10 and Office 2016 however our IT people have set up a virtual desktop for me running Windows 7 and Office 2010, we have the issue in both environments. In an attempt to resolve this issue I have determined through our IT department that we don’t use Windows Defender, it’s turned off entirely. Additionally I have enabled all macros in the Trust Center settings for Word both locally and on the virtual desktop to no avail.

    Have you see this issue before? Any thoughts on a work around?
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Fri, 17 Nov 2017, 11:10 PM
    Hi Dwayne,
    If Windows Defender is switched off permanently, then you can use the older version of the Word template which still contains the code to convert image data back into images after exporting questions. To download the older template, you must register on the www.moodle2word.net website, and enrol in the "WordTable Conversion" course. Once enrolled, you can download and install "Moodle Question Word 2010 Template installer (v3.4) 250 KB Zip file (Updated: 2015-12-09)" (http://www.moodle2word.net/mod/resource/view.php?id=48). This might avoid the Error message.
    Note that if you are using Google Chrome, it may warn you about the download too.
  • Picture of Dwayne Giesbrecht
    Sat, 18 Nov 2017, 2:41 AM
    Thanks for this Eoin. Unfortuneatley it hasn’t solved the issue. I went in and removed the v3.6 template and installed the v3.4 template as per the installer directions. I went a step further and ensured that Windows Defender was fully disabled by using the local group policy and enabling the “Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus” app rather than just using the Security Centre settings. I receive the same notifications as noted above.

    Any other thoughts on what I could try?
  • Picture of Dwayne Giesbrecht
    Sat, 18 Nov 2017, 2:55 AM
    Hello Eoin:

    Okay, scratch the above, got this sorted. I had inadvertently downloaded the v3.4 template (Updated: 2016-08-23) rather than the one you had linked for me that was updated on 2015-12-09. I corrected my error and my files are now converting the images.

    Thank you so much for your help!
1 2 3 4 5 6
Please login to post comments