Difference between revisions of "Import questions"

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* [[Import and export FAQ]]
* [[Import and export FAQ]]
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Revision as of 08:20, 10 March 2010

Moodle has a number of different formats that can be used to import questions into Question bank categories and as lesson question pages. These include some proprietary quiz software formats, as well as text files and Moodle formats.

Importing questions from an existing file

In order to import questions in any format, you first need to create a quiz activity in your course. Fill in the form for the activity and then choose [Save and display]. Choose [edit] on the following page. You will then see an option [Import] which leads you where you want to go.

There you can choose which type of file you want to import. For more information on file types see below.

Question import formats


Moodle 'proprietary' text format for import and export. Reasonably comprehensive.

Moodle XML

Moodle 'proprietary' xml format for import and export. Very comprehensive.


This format is an easy way of writing multiple-choice questions for import.


This format is the same as the missing word format, except it creates matching questions from the multiple choice questions. Please note that from Moodle 1.8 it will no longer be part of the standard Moodle.


From Moodle 1.7 onwards, if you're converting from Blackboard to Moodle, you can export your course and then import the question pools into Moodle using the Blackboard "POOL" type export format. It relies on XML functions being compiled into your PHP. Note that you must first unpack the exported zip file and provide Moodle with the appropriate .dat file. Note that this version does not work with Blackboard Version 6 and newer. (Use this format for ExamView 5 or 6)

Blackboard V6+

This module can import questions saved in Blackboard's export format. It provides limited support for Blackboard Version 6 and 7. It relies on XML functions being compiled into your PHP. You must upload the zip file exported from Blackboard.

WebCT format

This format supports importing multiple choice and short answers questions from WebCT's text format.

Course Test Manager

This format enables you to import questions from the Course Test Manager from Course Technology.

Embedded Answers (Cloze)

This format is a multiple question, multiple answer question with embedded answers. They can be a bit tricky to develop, but they are a unique way of asking questions.


ExamView 4 supported an XML export format that Moodle can import. If you are using a newer version of ExamView, you should export using Blackboard, extract the zip archive ExamView creates, then import in Moodle using Blackboard format (do not use 6+ format for moodle import, even though exam view calls this a Blackboard6+ file--it isn't). You can choose one of the ".dat" files from the ExamView archive to import. Note that images are not currently imported.

Any questions that included images must be edited to "re-link" those images. The image files can be found in the file folder that is in your item test bank directory of your course files. Click the edit tool next to a question in the question list. If one or more images files are included in the question, you should see a placeholder with the image file name in it embedded with text in the text edit window. Click on the placeholder and then click on the insert image tool of the text editor. Navigate to the folder containing the image files. (It will be in the folder you uploaded the zipped question bank to). Find the file with the same name as indicated in the image placeholder. Type the alternate text then click "okay" to re-link the image. Click on "okay" to return to the question list.

See http://www.rose-prism.org/moodle/mod/resource/view.php?id=6788 and http://www.rose-prism.org/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=1451

Diploma 6

Diploma 6 also supports an XML export format that Moodle can import. If you are using a newer version of Diploma, here are the steps to to export from Diploma and import to Moodle. The steps are the same as those for Examview (see above).

  • Export with the Blackboard LS 6.0 – 6.2 format.
  • Upload the zip file to your course files and unzip the file. Do not use the unzip feature in the quiz module – it won’t work. This will create a .dat file and a folder of images (if any of your questions included images).
  • Import the .dat file using the plain Blackboard (not the Blackboard 6.0 – 6.2) format. The images are not imported at the same time, but they are available in that other folder that was in the zip file.

As with Examview, any questions that include images must be edited to reestablish the links to those images.

  • First, click the edit tool next to a question in the question list. If there are any images in the question, you will see a placeholder with the image file name in it.
  • Click on the placeholder, and then the insert image tool of the text editor.
  • Navigate to the folder containing the image.
  • Find the file with the same name as the one in the placeholder, and select it. Type the alternate text, and then click “OK” to relink the image, and then “OK” again to return to the question list.

See also: [1] and [http://www.screencast.com/t/zydIQ55f ]

Question bank process

The question bank allows you a great deal of flexibility when importing questions. It is possible to import questions from a file on your network/computer or from a file that has been saved or uploaded into your course files.

  • Select import tab
  • Select the question type to import
  • General: pick the category, determine if the context and category information that maybe contained in the file should be used. Select what should happen if there are no grades or an error is detected in the import process.
  • Determine the file to import and import it
    • Import from file upload. Use the browse function to import a file from your computer. Use the "Upload this file" button to import the questions.
    • Import from file already in course files. A popup window will take you to the course files start page. Use the "Import from this file" button.
General and import file parameters sections

Lesson module process

The question types that can be imported into a lesson are similar to question bank.

Lesson screen asking which file type will be imported

Lesson can only import from a file located on the teachers computer.

  • In edit, using the expanded view
  • Select the position where questions should be inserted into the lesson
  • Click on the Import question link between the pages.
  • Select the file type
  • Use the browse function to find the file on your computer
  • Import the selected file.

Character encoding

It is important that the imported file is encoded in the UTF-8 standard.

If this is not adhered to you may get import errors and/or strange characters in the imported materials. If the file is not UTF-8, an external tool must be used to change the encoding. Note that if only basic 'latin' characters are used, then the coding issue can generally be ignored. Be particularly careful when creating questions using Microsoft Word. For reasons best known to themselves, Microsoft used their own encoding for some characters (incompatible with UTF-8) and this is likely to break the import.

NOTE: If you are having problems with the first question (or category modifier) in the file being misinterpreted (this particularly applies to GIFT format) it might be your editor adding a "Byte-Order-Mark" character at the beginning of the file. This is particularly common in Windows programmes (e.g. Notepad) and is another good reason to steer clear of Microsoft products for text editing (as apposed to word processing). There are plenty of free or low cost text editors available for download. The BOM is neither recommended or required as UTF8 does not have byte order issues [2]

Note: Prior to Moodle 1.6 the question file was assumed to be encoded in the same way as the language being used within the Moodle site. With Moodle 1.6 and onwards the imported file must be encoded in UTF-8.

Tips and tricks

  • TIP: It may be easier and faster to type many questions into a single text file, than to create a series of Quiz or Lesson question pages. Some teachers report that once they master creating questions in one of the formats to import, they do not have to wait for their Moodle site screen to refresh and the process of selecting the next question type to create.
  • TIP: Want to use questions from your quiz in a Lesson? Export the question category in say a GIFT format, then use a text editor to delete questions, or perhaps use a search and replace function to change names or places.

See also