Question formats: Microsoft Word File Import/Export (Question Format)

qformat_wordtable
Maintained by Picture of Eoin CampbellEoin 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.
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Moodle 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9

Moodle2Word is a plugin that allows quiz questions to be imported from a Word file into Moodle. You can quickly create large numbers of questions in structured Word tables far more easily than in Moodle directly. The plugin also imports images quite neatly, and equations created using the Microsoft Office Equation Editor are converted into MathML on import and displayed using MathJax.

Moodle2Word also supports exporting questions from the Moodle question bank into structured tables in Word. 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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  • Picture of Minh Nguyen Ba
    Fri, Jul 10, 2020, 8:46 PM
    Thanks Eoin. It is very simple equation. Here is the file https://www.dropbox.com/s/ghcjpupgg6tkaim/MoodleQuiz%20Style%20Template.docx?dl=0
    Looks at the equation in the second question.
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Fri, Jul 10, 2020, 10:33 PM
    I have added a new version 3.6.2 which fixes this problem, which arose in the 2nd equation, and is caused by the explicit index in the root symbol.
  • Picture of Minh Nguyen Ba
    Fri, Jul 10, 2020, 11:02 PM
    I updated to v3.6.2, it works perfect. Thanks Eoin, you were so fast.
  • Picture of FERNANDO CORES
    Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 5:49 AM
    Hi Mr. Eoin,

    I can't import True or False questions into moodle. I get an error in the database. There is some correction for this error. Can you help me?
    Thank you!
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 4:24 PM
    There may be a language compatibility issue here. If you are using the Portuguese version of the Word template, then the true and false labels must be in Portuguese also, i.e. "Verdadeiro" and "Falso", not "True" and "False".
  • Picture of manoj joseph
    Sun, Aug 2, 2020, 8:36 PM
    Is it possible to update numeric questions in word format?
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Mon, Aug 3, 2020, 5:34 AM
    Unfortunately not at the moment.
  • Picture of DPM Nederland
    Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 7:14 PM
    Thank you for creating this plugin!

    When I export the word format, only the descriptions from the first quiz in my questionpool are exported, not the questions and not the descriptions and questions of the other 7 quizzes. Do you have any idea what causes this and how to solve it?
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 8:09 PM
    The plugin doesn't handle quizzes, just question categories. When exporting, you must select a category, so perhaps you didn't select the root category for the course, and therefore only exported a subset of the question bank. Another reason may be that your categories contain question types that are not supported, such as Calculated questions. These won't be exported at all.
  • Picture of DPM Nederland
    Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 8:14 PM
    Thank you for your quick reply. Sure, I understand it handles question categories. I did select all the questions and the root category of the course. Our quizzes have many different questiontypes, such as multiple choice, drag and drop, etc. like the ones you have in the template. I anticipate not all the question being exported, because that questiontype might not be supported, but most should work. Any other ideas?
  • Picture of DPM Nederland
    Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 8:17 PM
    By the way, I am happy to compensate you for your time if this takes more time to solve. We could do a screenshare on Skype for example.
  • Picture of DPM Nederland
    Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 10:03 PM
    I have resolved the issue Eoin, a H5P element was causing an interruption in the export. After that, the plugin did not export anymore questions.
  • Picture of Mykola Kostiuchenko
    Wed, Sep 16, 2020, 5:29 PM
    We use Moodle 3.9.1 with this latest plugin version, Release 3.6.3, but unable to export questions.

    The error message:
    error/XSLT transformation failed ([dirroot]/question/format/wordtable/mqxml2wordpass1.xsl)

    XSLT is enabled on Moodle.
    Anyone know how to fix it?
  • Picture of Eoin Campbell
    Thu, Sep 17, 2020, 1:10 AM
    The normal reason for this problem is that one of the questions contains badly-formatted XHTML, which breaks the export operation. To fix it, export the same question category as XML and inspect it for problems if you understand XHTML. Otherwise split the category into smaller chunks and keep exporting and dividing until you identify the question(s) causing the problems. When you find them, open and save each one in the Atto editor, which does a certain amount of cleaning up on save to remove bad formatting. If that doesn't fix it, send me the questions causing the problem and I'll take a look. The main reason this arises is because lecturers copy text from Word and paste it into the Moodle question, and this often includes bad markup. The questions are probably very old, and were never edited in Atto.
  • Picture of Роман Симак
    Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 11:29 PM
    Для экспорта тестов из Word в Moodle использую бесплатную программу Ассистент. Реально помогает! Тесты переносятся автоматически с картинками, минимум преобразований. Формат GIFT. Болеее подробная информация здесь https://vk.com/topic-174955675_39589469
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