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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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 Juan Carlos Jimenez
    Wed, Jul 11, 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, Jul 12, 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, Jul 12, 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, Jul 12, 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, Jul 16, 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, Jul 28, 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, Jul 28, 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, Jul 29, 2018, 4:09 AM
    The equations must use the new Microsoft Word Equation Editor (2007 and later), not the old Microsoft Equation 3.0.
  • Picture of Rabab Hussein
    Mon, Nov 5, 2018, 5:05 PM
    thank you for this amazing plugin can you provide a template in arabic as soon as possible
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Wed, Nov 21, 2018, 1:27 AM
  • Picture of Максим Білецький
    Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 5:31 PM
    Hi! Im running moodle 3.6.1 with worttable 3.5.23, 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.
    Any other export format such as GIFT, Moodle XML, XHTML working correctly. And export-plugin Microsoft Word File Import/Export (Book) working correctly too.
  • Picture of Максим Білецький
    Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 9:30 PM
    UPD: The error disappears if the interface is switched from the national language to English.
    What could be the problem?
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 3:34 AM
    I think the following is happening. When Moodle is exporting questions into Word format, it includes some help text at the bottom of each question, usually pulled from the plugin summary description. This text must be well-formed XML. Typically, the standard question translations are well-formed. However, these standard translations can be overridden with custom text on a particular Moodle installation, and it is possible that the custom text is not well-formed XML. This causes the export operation to fail in that language, while working fine in a language where no custom translation has been done.
    I suggest you check for custom Russian translations at Site administration > Language > Language customisation. Things to watch out for are the use of named character entities such as   (use numeric entities instead, e.g.  ) and empty elements
    (use
    instead).
  • Picture of Cameron Hallowell
    Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 11:11 AM
    Has anyone used this with Microsoft 360 and SharePoint?
  • Picture of Szabó Bálint
    Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 5:30 PM
    Hi Eoin,
    I want to create Hungarian language template. Is there any documentation to create template in a specific language?

    Thanks:
    Bálint
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