This applies to Moodle 3.4 from September 2018

This guide will show you how to add to Moodle a glossary of terms, especially useful to students tackling material containing any amount of new vocabulary.


A glossary can be used in the obvious way to give a term and a definition. It can also be used as an FAQ. Example uses include:

How to create a glossary

NOTE: One of the settings you can choose under the Appearance heading is Display format. This is useful if you are using the tool as an FAQ or would like to show a really simple dictionary style entry or a fuller one with names of the students who contributed the items.

 There are 7 display formats: 

Once the Glossary has been created you can start adding entries.

To add an entry


How to add categories

You can divide your glossary entries into categories

Importing a glossary into Moodle

You can create a glossary outside Moodle and import it to save time

This is a bit complicated as it has to be an XML file. However, there is a tool available to convert an .xls file into xml for import: MoodleGlossary.xls

Create your glossary in excel using this file: MoodleGlossary.xls. The minimum required is concept and definition: the macro tells you what to do. Note: there seems to be a bug which ignores the last entry, so put a fake entry on the last line.

  1. Make sure macros are enabled
  2. Run the macro, which produces an xml file, which you save.

To import glossary entries via an XML file:

  1. In your module, turn editing on, and create a glossary as described above   OR Edit a glossary
  2. NOT in editing mode, go to the glossary and within the glossary, drop down the Cogwheel/Actions menu: follow the "Import entries" link.
  3. Click Choose a file > Upload a file
  4. Browse for the XML file on your computer. Click Upload this file
  5. Select the destination for the new entries, either the current glossary or a new one.
  6. If you want to import category information, click the checkbox.
  7. Click the "Submit" button. You'll then see a report of the entries and categories added to the glossary. If you enabled duplicate entries when you created the glossary, the import process will add all of the new definitions. Otherwise, it will not allow you to import any duplicate entries.

Note that Glossaries are Activities not Resources: i.e. it is intended that students are able to add their own definitions to the glossary, not just that the glossary is a static teacher-created resource.

Rolling over  / copying a glossary between courses

In the course with the glossary in: