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Respondus 3.5 Offers Enhanced Importing Capabilities

It’s always been easy to import exam questions from text files using the Respondus exam authoring tool. For example, the following question can easily be imported with any version of Respondus:

1. Who discovered the vaccine for smallpox?  
a. Louis Pasteur
*b. Edward Jenner
c. Alfred Nobel
d. Jonas Salk

However, if the question contains images, such as in the following example, the process of importing it can be quite involved:

1. Which graphing style best represents “continuum” data?





Prior to Respondus 3.5, images had to be handled individually, which consisted of saving each image to a folder and then reinserting the image after the text was imported by Respondus.

Respondus 3.5 changes all of this by allowing you to import Microsoft Word files that have embedded images. Within minutes a graphic-rich exam in Microsoft Word can be imported with Respondus 3.5 and then published to an online course.  

The process for importing a MS Word file that contains images is no harder than importing a simple text file.

  • Format the questions using the basic guidelines in the Respondus online help (the guidelines for .txt files is the same for MS Word files that have images)
  • Select the “Import Questions” task from the Start menu in Respondus
  • For the “Type of File” select the “Microsoft Word” option
  • Browse to and select the Microsoft Word document that contains the questions
  • Preview the file and then click “Finish”

The questions are then imported by Respondus and can be edited further or published to an online course.

Got Equations?
If you are a math or science teacher, you may now be wondering if equations created in MS Word will also import with Respondus 3.5.  There isn’t a simple “yes” or “no” to this question because the Equation Editor in Microsoft Word doesn’t actually embed equations using a graphical format like .gif. If it did, the above solution would work just fine.

Fortunately, there is a way to save the equations contained in a MS Word document to .gif format. Design Science, the company that develops the Equation Editor that is contained in Microsoft Word, has a more powerful version of the editor called MathType. When MathType 5.2c or higher is installed, it adds a feature to your MS Word program that allows equations in the document to be saved to .gif. And it doesn’t matter if the equations were originally created with Equation Editor or MathType.

Here’s how it works:

  • Make sure MathType 5.2c or higher is installed
  • Open the document containing the equations with MS Word
  • In MS Word, locate the MathType toolbar and select “Export Equations”
  • When the “Export Equations” dialog appears, choose the same folder that the Word document is located in.
  • For the file type select “Graphics Interchange Format (*.gif)”. Use the default entries for file name pattern ('Eqn###') and the first number ('1'). Check the box labeled “Replace equation with file name” and make sure the range is set to “Whole document.”
  • Click the OK button. The equations are then exported to image files and stored in the same folder as the document. The equations are also replaced by special marker tags in the document itself. Save the MS Word document using a new name.
  • At this point, the document is ready to be imported with Respondus

Importing .CSV and Tab Delimited Files
The campus-wide version of Respondus 3.5 also supports the importing of questions stored in .csv or tab/comma delimited formats. Most instructors don’t have questions in this format because they tend to write exams with word processors, not spreadsheets. But some of our clients, such as publishers, store exam questions in databases and they need a way to import them with Respondus.

The first step to importing a .csv file is to arrange the data columns in the order described in the Respondus online help or user guide. When the data file is ready, select the “Import Questions” task from the Start menu in Respondus. For the “Type of File” select “Tab/Comma Delimited (CSV)” and then browse to the file. The following window will appear:

If you know how to import tab/comma delimited files using Excel, you’ll be familiar with the remaining steps. The screens asks you to describe the type of data being imported (plain text or HTML, the number of header rows to skip, the type of delimiter, etc.). The Preview lets you take a look at the data before the import is complete. It’s a quick way to see if the settings and data columns are correct.

If everything looks good, click OK to close the window and then select from the remaining options displayed. Click Finish to complete the import.


Related Articles
Respondus 3.0 FAQs for Calculated Questions
Respondus 3.0.2 Integrates with WebCT CE 6 & Vista 4
Respondus 3.0.2 Supports Blackboard 6.3 Question Types
Tech Tip: Converting an Online Exam to MS Word Format
Calculated and Algorithmic Questions with Respondus 3.0
Respondus Demonstration and Training Movies

Source: Respondus, Inc. (
Originally Published: February 8, 2005

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