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Importing Publisher Questions into Moodle

Updated on July 20, 2015

Finding Your Administration Bar

The first step to importing publisher content is to find your import button. It is located under Question Banks in the Administration tabs.

How to Find that Content:

  • Go to your Moodle login and Login
  • Click on your course shell. You should have already created a course in Moodle. Your shell is usually titled by your Class/Course Number such as ENG 101 or BUS 210.
  • Find the Navigation and Administration columns. These columns or tabs are almost always on the left side of the screen.
  • ***Least Common Location: MoodleRooms: If you see tiny tabs on the upper left side, click the Admin tab. The contents will be the same as the column version.
  • ***Most Common Location: Regular Moodle, you will see columns on the left side of the screen. Scroll down to the Administration Tab on the bottom.
  • Click Question Banks FIRST.
  • THEN Click Import'.

Administration Tab and Import Button

The Administration list may be a tab or a column. Only use the import under the 'Question Bank' tab.
The Administration list may be a tab or a column. Only use the import under the 'Question Bank' tab. | Source

Choose Your Course

If you have multiple courses, check mark the specific course this testbank corresponds with. This is so that your Economics testbanks is loaded to Economics and not to English Literature.

See the attached photo below to see what it looks like. The look may vary slightly in different Moodle versios but the function is the same.

Check Mark Your Course

Look may vary.
Look may vary. | Source

Blackboard or Other Files?

Publishers will offer their files in multiple formats. They may offer a testbank builder such as Cognero or Examview. These let you build files that are compatible with Moodle, Blackboard and other online course systems.

Blackboard files (BB) work great in Moodle. The great news is that all of these options have a 'Blackboard' option.

TIME SAVER: ***Most major books/publishers will already have Blackboard files loaded into their Instructor Companion sites. These are ready to go files.

No Blackboard files? If your publisher offers Examview or another Test Builder, those test builders export into Blackboard with two clicks. But most publishers will provide Blackboard files for you upon request. Just email technical support with the book title/ISBN/author/edition and request Blackboard files for the text.

For my demonstration, I'll be using Blackboard TEST Files.

Examview files will work in a similar fashion as below.

Click Blackboard

For our demo, we'll use Blackboard test files.
For our demo, we'll use Blackboard test files. | Source

ZIP FILES From the Publisher

If you download the files from the publisher book site, the file will most likely be in a zip file. A zip file is a compressed file holding a file for each chapter.

Save the ZIP FILE to your computer.
Be careful to Save your File where you can find it easily.

I'm loading a photo of downloadable files available on one publisher's book website. Cengage Learning is an academic publisher. Their books often have Blackboard files ready to go for their most popular books.

SEE the example below.

Save Zip File

If you export files from Examview or other test files, you'll export/import each chapter one by one.  In this example, Cengage has zipped all the chapters together.
If you export files from Examview or other test files, you'll export/import each chapter one by one. In this example, Cengage has zipped all the chapters together. | Source

UPLOAD BB Files STEPS 2, 3, 4 an 5

What You Have Done So Far:

  • You have clicked on your Administration Tab.
  • You have clicked Question Bank
  • You have clicked Import (under Question Bank).
  • You check marked Blackboard and clicked Choose File.
  • Click Browse to find the Zip File you just saved.

What's Next:

  • Create an Empty Folder under My Documents. Name it whatever you want. Mine is called Calibre.
  • Find your Saved Zip File.
  • Unzip the files for the entire book.
  • Don't have an unzip program? There are several free ones such as JZip that you can download for free.
  • You should see more zip files inside. One for each chapter. Do not open these. You only want to do 1 CHAPTER at a time.
  • So we are going to drag and drop each chapter zip file into your Empty Folder.
  • Take the Individual Chapter files and Drag and Drop them one by one into the empty Folder. This will make it super easy to import them.
  • See the picture example.

Drop Chapter Files into A Folder

Just click on ,the ,title and drag it to your Folder.
Just click on ,the ,title and drag it to your Folder. | Source

Back to Import

  • Under Import, Click Browse.
  • Go to the Folder you created. I called my folder 'Calibre'.
  • You should see all of the zipped Chapter files that you 'dropped' in this folder.
  • Click the Chapter 1 ZIP file.
  • Click Import.
  • The file will import into your Moodle.
  • ***If you get file errors or a pink error sign, check your steps or contact your campus IT or publisher IT department for help.
***If you exported your file from Examview, you would have saved each chapter into folder as well so it would work the same way.

Choose Your File

Click Blackboard,  Click Choose A File, Then Browse for your Zip File.
Click Blackboard, Click Choose A File, Then Browse for your Zip File. | Source



Did it Work?

You will see a note that the files are 'Parsing'. This means questions are loading to Moodle.


  • To check to see if your files are loaded, go to your ADMINISTRATION TAB on the far left.
  • Click Question Bank.
  • Click Drop Down under 'Select a Category'.
  • You should see Chapters you imported listed under the drop down.

If the chapters are listed, such as Chapter 3_Speaker Ethics (20), you did it correctly.

What does the information mean?

  • This means you loaded Chapter 3 which is titled Speaker Ethics and it contains 20 questions.

If you want to to know how to build quizzes, click on my Hub called 'Creating a A Quiz in Moodle (Simplified)'.

Example of Loaded Chapter

Imported Chapter
Imported Chapter | Source


When you click on the chapter loaded in your Question Bank, you'll see the questions displayed.

Please remember that different versions of Moodle may lay out differently but the function of the buttons will WORK the same even if they are located in slightly different areas.


You Are Done!



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