Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.2. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: File module settings.

File module settings

From MoodleDocs

Course administration settings

  • A teacher can add a link to a file by choosing File from the "Add a resource" drop down menu in course. The "Adding a new file" will ask for a link name and a description (which may be required or optional according to the admin settings)
  • The teacher then clicks the Add button and the File picker menu will assist them in adding a file from their computer or a Moodle file repository.

Display options

  • Automatic - Make the best guess at what should happen (probably what is wanted 99% of the time).
  • Embed - Show the Moodle page with heading, blocks and footer. Show the title/description of the item and display the file directly in the page as well (good for images, flash animations, videos?, PDFs).
  • Force download - user clicks on the file, then the web browser pops up with the 'open with/where do you want to save this file' dialogue.
  • Open - No Moodle heading, blocks, footer or description - just show the file in the web browser (e.g. shows image, PDF, flash animation, taking up the whole browser window)
  • In pop-up - Same as 'Open', but opens a new browser window to show this file (without the Moodle heading, blocks, etc) - this browser window also does not have all the menus and address bar in it.
  • The following additional options are only there if you enable them via Site administration > Plugins > Activity modules > File:
  • In frame - show the Moodle heading and the file description, with the file displayed in a resizable area below (images, PDF, flash, etc. supported).
  • New window - very much like 'in pop-up', but the new window is a full browser window, with menus and address bar, etc.

All of the above is true of items that can be displayed inside the browser directly (e.g. images, text files, PDFs (with plugin)). If the file cannot be displayed within the browser (e.g. word documents, without a suitable plugin, or other files that need to be loaded by an external program), then the pop-ups or frames, etc. will be created, but then the browser will take over and ask if you want to save the file.

To summarise:

  • Do you want Moodle to sort it all out for you? - Automatic
  • Do you want to force the user to save the file (or open it in a program on their desktop)? - Force download
  • Do you want to show the file as part of the Moodle page (images, PDFs, videos)? - Embed
  • Do you want to show the file in the browser, but without the Moodle page decorations (images, PDFs, videos)? - Open
  • Do you want that, but in a new window? - In Pop-up (or possibly 'New window')
  • Do you want to use a horrible bit of non-strict HTML that should never be allowed in polite company? - In frame

There are the usual Common module settings and - if admin has enabled them - the Restrict access settings Conditional activities.

New feature
in Moodle 2.2!
There is also an option to display the file description on the course page below the link to the file. See the screencast Moodle 2.2 - Show descriptions for a demonstration by developer Sam Marshall.

Displaying a website index page

The file module may be used if you have a folder with linked files such as a website with an index.html file or a flash activity with xml/swf and index file.

  • Upload the zipped folder.
  • Click on the icon to the right of it and choose "Unzip"
  • Click on the name of your unzipped folder to get inside it.
  • Click the icon to the right of your index.html file or the file you want to start displaying your linked files from.
  • Click 'Set main file'. This ensures this file is the one that appears on the course page for students to click on.


  • Click 'Save and return to course'.

File module capabilities

There is just one capability - View resource.

Site administration settings

The file module has additional settings which may be changed by an administrator in Settings > Site administration > Plugins > Activity modules > File.

Frame height

Here you can specify the height of the top frame (containing the navigation) if you choose the "in frame" display option. Note: If your theme has a large header then the resource_framesize variable should be increased to prevent horizontal and vertical scrollbars.

Require activity description

This setting allows you to turn off the requirement for users to type something into the description box.

Available display options

This setting allows you to add different ways the resource may be displayed on the course page.

Default values for activity settings

Here you can set the defaults for this resource. You can also choose which setting(s) to class as "Advanced". These settings will only then appear if the user clicks "Show advanced" in the settings.