Microsoft Word File Import/Export (Question Format)

Question formats ::: qformat_wordtable
Maintained by Eoin Campbell
Import questions (including images and equations) from structured tables in a Word file (.docx format) into a course question bank, and also export questions to a Word file, allowing for round-trip editing.
Latest release:
3982 sites
1k downloads
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Moodle 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 3.11

This plugin allows quiz questions to be imported from a Word file into Moodle. You can quickly write lots of questions in structured Word tables far more easily than in Moodle directly. The plugin also imports tables, images, and equations (when created using the Microsoft Office Equation Editor, not MathType/Wiris or the old Equation 3.0 editor). Equations are converted into MathML on import and displayed using the MathJax filter. You can also export questions from the Moodle question bank into structured tables in Word. 

The table structure for each question supports 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). All the main question types except Numerical and Calculated questions are fully supported. Numerical and Calculated questions are exported, but cannot be imported.

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 is rendered within Moodle using the MathJax filter. Note that 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).

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

  • 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, but should be at least 1,000 questions or more.
  • When you export questions they are saved in an intermediate Word-compatible format in a file with a .doc suffix. You must then save the file to the standard Word format (with a .docx suffix). 

Using a Word template to create and edit questions

To edit existing questions using Word, first export them into Word. 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 by means of inserting a specific structured table for each type.

Sets

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

Screenshots

Screenshot #0

Contributors

Eoin Campbell (Lead maintainer)
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Show comments
  • Thu, Jul 15, 2021, 11:50 AM
    When importing questions, mathematical expressions created in MS Equation Editor are always rendered italicized even when the italic format has been removed in the equation editor. Is there a way to make it retain the same format in Word?
  • Thu, Jul 15, 2021, 4:41 PM
    I believe that as a matter of mathematical convention, single letters such as 'x' or 'y' in equations are considered as variables, and therefore they are rendered using an italic style. The Microsoft Equation Editor automatically does this in Word, and the MathJax filter inside Moodle does the same thing. Even though you override this in Word by forcing a Roman (non-italic) font, this is lost in conversion, and MathJax renders the single letter in italic. My knowledge of maths is very limited, so an alternative explanation might be that your Word document is much edited over time, and as a result becomes quite complexly formatted internally (although you can't see this in the visible Word file). A side-effect is that when it is converted to HTML and MathML, the conversion process is not smart enough to disentangle all the markup, and gets the conversion wrong. If you send me the document I can take a look.
  • Thu, Jul 15, 2021, 4:43 PM
    Re: when I import a question with some simple expression like N_2 using the MS Equation Editor, it appears simple as "N2" without the subscript. However, when I edit the question, the editor will render it correctly, and after saving, the expression is displayed correctly. It's, however, troublesome to have to do this for a large import. Any idea?

    This may be due to a browser caching problem, or a Moodle MathJax filter configuration problem. Send me a sample and I can take a look.
  • Fri, Jul 23, 2021, 12:35 PM
    Dear Eoin, I have also written an email in this regard to you....I need help in setting this up correctly....I am almost done....it seems that I am just stuck with something simple...I need to import Maths Equations Questions which I am not able to import or export...plz help....
  • Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 3:34 PM
    Hi Eoin....I wrote an email...did a top on that....then tried to get in touch here....but am getting no response....anything that I am missing here....Do I need to be of some country or some ethnicity or is it a paid platform....Just let me know...What I need to just get an answer from you....
  • Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 6:48 PM
    You can import equations formatted using the Microsoft Equation Editor (not the old Equation 3.0 editor). You must configure the MathJax filter on Moodle correctly, see https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=346244#p1463522. You cannot export MathML equations back into Word at the moment.
  • Tue, Aug 24, 2021, 4:19 AM
    Hello, I just trued upgrading from 3.6.3 to current version adn was not able to upgrade with a dependancy error. When I looked at the version.php I noticed a dependancy for
    $plugin->dependencies = array('booktool_wordimport' => 2021081300);

    When was that added? I assume I should be adding this plugin before upgrade. Was that a mistake or correct?

    Thanks

    Eric
  • Tue, Aug 24, 2021, 6:02 AM
    Hi Eric, The latest version of this plugin now uses most of the code from the Book Word import plugin, to minimise code duplication. The 3.9.0 version unfortunately had an out-of-date dependency on the Book tool, so I have released v3.9.1 to correct this problem. Thanks for pointing this out.
  • Fri, Aug 27, 2021, 2:40 AM
    Hi so to confirm, Our installed version version is: 3.6.3 (Build: 2020071101) does not have any dependancy on additional tools . Should I want to update to this version - 3.9.1 I need to install booktool_wordimport and this one to make it work?

    Please confirm.
    Eric
  • Fri, Aug 27, 2021, 3:33 AM
    Hi Eric, you are correct. The 3.6.x series is a stand-alone plugin with no dependencies, and I strongly recommend you upgrade to 3.6.4. The 3.9.x series is a major refactoring of the code which requires the booktool_wordimport plugin, and will change some more over the next few weeks, so better to ignore it for the moment.
  • Fri, Aug 27, 2021, 9:39 PM
    Thanks Eoin!
  • Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 1:02 AM
    Hi Eoin! Is there a way to edit which fields export? We have a client that just wants to see the question, answer choices, correct answer and feedback.
  • Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 5:01 PM
    Hi Jamie, at present this is not possible without editing the code. It's a nice idea though. One alternative is to post-process the Word file to remove data you don't need. The Moodle2Word Word template (cf. http://www.moodle2word.net/mod/resource/view.php?id=47) already does this in order to create a printable version of the questions, using the command "Set/Unset Assessment View". You could try this out
  • Tue, Oct 19, 2021, 11:43 AM
    Hi, I'm having problems with the multiple choice question for the 3.9 version, it adds a new line after the letters. This doesn't happen in the 3.63 version.
  • Wed, Oct 20, 2021, 6:22 AM
    Can you email a Word file exhibiting this behaviour to help@moodle2word.net, and I'll take a look. A screenshot of what you think is incorrect presentation would also be useful.
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