Adding/editing a glossary

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 1.9. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: Adding/editing a glossary.


Adding a glossary

Adding a glossary

To add a glossary:

  1. Click the "Turn editing on" button.
  2. Select Glossary from the "Add an activity" dropdown menu.
  3. On the Adding a new glossary page give your new glossary a descriptive name.
  4. Describe the purpose of the glossary, provide instructions or background information, links etc. in the Description area.
  5. Select the general and grade options and the common module settings (see below).
  6. Click the "Save changes" button at the bottom of the page.

General options

Entries shown per page

This sets the number of words and definitions that students will see when they view the glossary list. If you have a large number of automatically-linked entries you should set this number lower to prevent long loading times.

Is this glossary global?

Administrators can make a global glossary, with entries linking throughout the whole Moodle site. Any course may contain a global glossary, though the best practice is to place a global glossary on the site front page.

Glossary type

Here you can decide whether the glossary will be main or secondary. The glossary system allows you to export entries from any secondary glossary to the main one of the course. In order to do this, you should specify which glossary is the main one. You can only have one main glossary per course.

Students can add entries

Prior to Moodle 1.7, you can specify whether a student may add, edit or delete their own entries. Entries exported to a main glossary can be updated or deleted by teachers only, so this setting only applies to secondary glossaries. (A teacher can edit or delete any entry at any time.)

Note: From Moodle 1.7 onwards, this option has been replaced with a role override and preventing the capability mod/glossary:write.

Duplicated entries allowed

This allows the entry of more than one definition for a given word.

Allow comments on entries

Students and teachers can leave comments on glossary definitions. The comments are available through a link at the bottom of the definition.

Allow print view

This provides a printer-friendly version link for students. (Teachers are always provided with a printer-friendly version link.)

Automatically link glossary entries

If site-wide glossary auto-linking is enabled by an administrator (see Filters for further details), then turning this on allows individual entries in this glossary to be automatically linked whenever the concept words and phrases appear throughout the rest of the same course. This includes forum postings, internal resources, week summaries and so on.

Note: Enabling linking for the glossary does not automatically turn on linking for each entry - linking needs to be set for each entry individually. If you do not want particular text to be linked (in a forum posting, say) then you should add <nolink> and </nolink> tags around the text. Note that category names are also linked.

Approved by default

That allows the teacher to define what happens to new entries added by students. They can be automatically made available to everyone, otherwise the teacher will have to approve each one.

Display format

That specifies the way that each entry will be shown within the glossary. The default formats are:

  • Simple, dictionary style - This looks like a conventional dictionary with separate entries. No authors are displayed and attachments are shown as links.
  • Continuous without author - That shows the entries one after other without any kind of separation but the editing icons.
  • Full with author - A forum-like display format showing author's data. Attachments are shown as links.
  • Full without author - A forum-like display format that does not show author's data. Attachments are shown as links.
  • Encyclopedia - Like 'Full with author' but attached images are shown inline.
  • Entry list - This lists the concepts as links.
  • FAQ - Useful for displaying lists of frequently asked questions. It automatically appends the words QUESTION and ANSWER in the concept and definition respectively.


The table below summarises the different display formats.

Format Entry Author Date Definition Images Attachments
Entry list x - - x* x* link*
Simple Dictionary x - - x x link
Continuous x - - x x link
FAQ x - x x x link
Full without Author x - x x x link
Full with Author x x x x x link
Encyclopedia x x x x x x**

* Will be shown in a pop-up window.

* * Attached images are shown inline.

Browsing options in alphabet display

You can customize the way a user can browse a glossary. Browsing and searching are always available, but you can define three more options:

  • Show "Special" link - Enable or disable browsing by special characters like @, #, etc.
  • Show alphabet - Enable or disable browsing by alphabetic letters.
  • Show "All" link - Enable or disable browsing of all entries at once.

Edit always

If you want entries to be always editable, set this to Yes.

Grade options

Allow entries to be rated

You can grade entries yourself or allow students to grade entries as well. Select "Only teachers" or "Everyone" from the users menu. Then select a grading scale. You can also restrict when entries can be graded to a specific date range.

Common module settings

Group mode

Another location to set the group mode for the activity. If group mode is forced in the course settings then this setting will be ignored.

Visible to students

You can also decide on whether or not the glossary will be seen by the students. You can hide the activity from students by selecting 'Hide'. It is useful if you don't want to make the activity available immediately.

See also