File picker FAQ

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.4. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle may be available here: File picker FAQ.

Here are some common question about Moodle's File picker. You might also find File FAQ and Folder FAQ useful.

Who can access the file I uploaded?

  • Anyone enrolled in a course area where the file is displayed can access that file.
  • Anyone with editing access in a course area where the file is displayed can link to that file in turn.
  • If you want to prevent either of these kinds of access, use your Private Files.

Where is the file I uploaded?

Technically speaking, if you have uploaded a file into Moodle it is STORED in a database. Filepicker just lets you see a view of the files in the database that you have access to in various places.

If you can't find the file in the file picker view . . .

  • Look in Recent Files first - this shows (by default) the last 50 files a user uploaded. NOTE: Recent files will only show files of the type it thinks you want - so if you are searching from within the image icon in the TinyMCE editor for example, then Recent files will only show images you uploaded and not, say, Word documents.
  • If it isn't in Recent files then try to find where you uploaded it originally, ie into which course and into which context (section of a course or activity type)
    • Click Server files
    • Follow the breadcrumb (navigation) trail back to the category in which the course is where you uploaded your file
    • Click the course where you uploaded your file
    • You will find your file in a folder with the same name inside that course. You can then select it and use in a different place in Moodle.

Can I move items around in the file picker?

No. Moodle associates files with activities. You need to navigate to these activities to link to them.

Can I search for files in the file picker?

Not at the moment.

How can I create shared folders of common files for others to access?

  • When creating a folder of files using add a resource > folder the files are then visible and editable to other teachers in the course. The resource can be hidden with the "eye" icon to keep it out of student view.
  • Another method to create and share files and folders out of sight of students is to usethe Legacy course files repository which must be enabled first by the administrator. It is a way of creating a "course files" area for teachers but is not recommended as it has significant security and backup issues.
  • It is also possible for someone with server access to create a File system repository as a common area into which they FTP materials for teachers to access in their courses. However, this involves admin rights and FTP access to the server and so for regular users is not particularly practical.

Can I have my own file storage area??

  • There is a Private files link is visible in the file picker if the admin has enabled it in Settings > Site administration > Plugins > Repositories > Manage repositories.
  • If this is the case then a user will have a link in their profile settings (and, if added, in a side block) to a personal area into which they can upload files and organise folders.
  • The uploaded files and folders may then be selected from the Private files link in the file picker.

Is there a way to upload a lot of files at once?

  • Yes - add your files to a folder on your computer; zip/compress the folder; upload the zipped folder and then unzip it within Moodle. Depending on what you want to do with the files you would either use the File or Folder resource.
  • You can also drag and drop a zipped folder directly onto your course page.

Is there a way to delete files from the file picker?

See Repositories FAQ. You cannot delete files, since they may be used elsewhere. The system cleans them up after a period of time.

How can I solve the "Invalid JSON string" error?

This is a common error that has affected the filepicker. (Someone may like to post on what this actually comes from) In various forum posts and tracker items some have suggested finding ways this is solved. More permanent solutions seem to be in train for Moodle version 2.3.

Tracker items:

  1. Seems to be the main listing: http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-25190 ERROR: Invalid JSON string on filepicker, now re-opened.
  2. The Meta: http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-26832
  3. The Meta-Meta: http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-31907

Several forum discussions:

  1. http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=183878
  2. http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=182366
  3. http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=183035
  4. http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=194172

Reference: http://docs.nodejitsu.com/articles/javascript-conventions/what-is-json

Is there a way to sort files in the file picker?

Not at the moment. For comment on this see

How can I add Flickr, Picasa, Google Docs etc. in the file picker?

An admin can enable additional repositories which then appear in the file picker in Settings > Site administration > Plugins > Repositories > Manage repositories.

How can the order in which repositories are listed in the file picker be changed?

An admin can use the up and down arrows in Settings > Site administration > Plugins > Repositories > Manage repositories to set the order in which repositories are shown in the file picker.

See also