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:
3883 sites
1k downloads
146 fans
Moodle 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 3.11

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

Eoin Campbell (Lead maintainer)
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Show comments
  • Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 7:11 PM
    Hello Eoin,
    I am trying to install the Moodle2Word Templates. On Mac OS and using a Microsoft Word 2021 (V16.45).
    On starting Word I get a Visual Basic Error: Compile Error in hidden module: 'mdlUpload'. This error commonly occurs when code is incompatible with the version, platform, or architecture of this application.
    I understand that I use a version, that is more advanced than the supported one. Do you see a way to help with the issue? Thank you!
  • Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 7:57 PM
    Hi Andy,
    I don't have much access to Macs, so can't keep the templates up-to-date. You can download an old version for Macs (Word 2011) from http://www.moodle2word.net/mod/resource/view.php?id=7, but you'll have to register on my test site to do so.
  • Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 9:44 PM
    Thank you Eoin
    I tried this older version, but it does not solve the problem, there are now different Buttons, but they give me the Run-time error 9112. I will try on a Win Computer. Thank you.
  • Sun, Feb 7, 2021, 4:28 PM
    Awesome Plugin... Great work.. Thanks Eoin.
  • Fri, Apr 16, 2021, 1:50 AM
    Eloin can you help me with the following error that occurs when importing and exporting issues:
    Exceção - Call to undefined function get_contributed_question_labels()
  • Fri, Apr 16, 2021, 7:04 AM
    Hi Fernando, unfortunately you will have to revert to the last release of the plugin (v3.6.3), as the new release is broken. I have removed it for the moment.
  • Ken
    Thu, Jun 17, 2021, 12:27 AM
    Not sure if you can help me with this, but I have been trying to convert images after exporting questions with the Moodle2Word (v. 3.6) plugin in Word. I keep getting this error:

    "Windows Conversion has been disabled to avoid Windows Defender issues."

    Any ideas about what Windows Defender might be blocking (that I can change)?

    Thanks very much.
  • Thu, Jun 17, 2021, 2:43 AM
    Hi Ken, you need to install a Word template in order to run a macro to convert image data back into embedded images in Word. The template is available at www.moodle2word.net, and you must log in as a guest to get it, because it is inside a course. Note that it generates warnings about malware, so you must turn off Windows Defender to install and run it. See the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?embed=no&v=C7Pita4Sj6Q for a demonstration of how to install it. Download a Zip file containing the templates from http://www.moodle2word.net/mod/resource/view.php?id=54.
  • Sun, Jun 20, 2021, 10:50 PM
    I am having the same issues as Ken, installed the word template as per youtube video but the same error message pops up when I click convert images "Image Conversion has been disable to avoid Windows Defender issues"

    - Windows defender is disabled

    Not sure where I am going wrong so please help. Using Word 2013, don't know if that is the issue
  • 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.
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