Formatting Your Word Document Test for Respondus 4.0

Your Microsoft Word document must be organized in a Standard Format before it can be imported into Respondus.

Respondus will import the following question types into Blackboard:

  • multiple choice / multiple answer
  • true-false
  • essay
  • fill in the blank / fill in multiple blank
  • matching
  • ordering


NOTE: Microsoft Word may try to automatically format number sequences. Auto formatting cannot be used when setting up your document for Respondus 4.0.

The Standard Format for the different question types is described below:

Each question must begin with a question number, followed by either a period “.” or a parentheses “)”.

Example:             3)

Example:              3.

The question wording must follow the question number. Note: at least one space should be between the question number and the question wording.

Example:             3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

Example:             3. Who determined the exact speed of light?

Each answer must begin with a letter (A-T) followed by a period “.”. Note: only 20 possible answer choices will be accepted (A-T).

Example:              3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein

b. Albert Michelson

c. Thomas Edison

d. Guglielmo Marconi

Correct answers can be indicated by placing an asterisk (*) directly in front of the answer choice.  Note: do not put a space between the asterisk and the answer choice.

Example:              3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein

*b. Albert Michelson

c. Thomas Edison

d. Guglielmo Marconi

If a correct answer is not selected, Respondus will automatically select the letter “A” as the correct answer. Don’t worry, you will be warned if a question does not have an answer selected for it prior to completing the import.

Multiple Answers questions are, essentially, multiple choice questions in which more than one correct answer can — and generally should — be selected by the student. The primary difference is that the first line of the formatting must begin with “Type: MA”. This is followed by the question number, and the question wording. Correct answers are designated with an asterisk.

Example:              Type: MA

3) Which of the following individuals are credited with determining the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein

*b. Albert Michelson

c. Thomas Edison

*d. Edward Williams Morley

The process of importing “true and false” questions is similar to that used for importing multiple choice questions. Both of the following examples are valid ways to format a true and false question for importing purposes.

Example:              3) Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?

*a) True

  b) False

Example:              3) Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?

*a. T

  b. F

It’s important to note that the “True” (or “T”) answer choice must be listed prior to the “False” (or “F”) answer choice in order for Respondus to recognize it as a true and false question type.

The logic for importing essay questions is similar to what is described above for Multiple Choice and True & False questions. The primary difference is that the first line of formatting must begin with “Type: E”. This is followed by the question number, and the question wording.

Example:              Type: E

4) How is the Michelson-Morely experiment related to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity?

If you are importing an essay question into an Exam file, you can supply an answer immediately after the question wording, beginning the answer with “a.” (without the quotes).

                Example:             Type: E

4) How is the Michelson-Morely experiment related to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity?

a. In 1887, Albert Michelson and Edward Morely carried out experiments to detect the change in speed of light due to ether wind when the Earth moved around the sun. The result was negative. They found the speed of light is always the same regardless of Earth’s motion around the sun. Scientists were puzzled with this negative result, and they didn’t know how to explain it. Albert Einstein came up with the answer in his famous second postulate in theory of relativity: that the speed of light (in vacuum) is always constant and absolute, regardless of its source’s motion and observer’s movement.

The Essay answer will be listed in the answer field in Blackboard in the essay question.  Please note that this answer is not visible to students, and Blackboard will not auto grade essay responses based on this answer.  Instead, it serves only as a reminder for faculty when marking a student’s response to the essay question.

Answer field in Blackboard essay question.

Fill in the blank questions may be imported by starting the first line of formatting with “Type: F”. This is followed by the question number, and the question wording.

                Example:              Type: F

5) Who is known as the “father of television”?

Respondus allows only one correct answer per question, but it does permit you to enter multiple forms of that answer.

                Example:              Type: F

5) Who is known as the “father of television”?

a. Zworykin

b. Vladimir Zworykin

c. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin

The acceptable answers for fill in the blank questions do not need to be marked correct with an asterisk as in multiple choice and true-false questions.  All answers listed will be marked as correct.

Fill in multiple blanks questions may be imported by starting the first line of formatting with “Type: FMB”. This is followed by the question number, and the question wording with the words to be filled in provided in [square brackets].  The wording can include up to 10 [words] to be filled in, each of which can have up to 20 correct answers.

Example:              Type: FMB

  1. A [rose] by any other [name] would smell as [sweet].

Respondus allows multiple correct answers per blank.  Additional acceptable answers must be separated inside the brackets with commas.

Example:              Type: FMB

5) A [rose, red flower] by any other [name] would smell as [sweet, good].

The process of importing a “matching” question is similar to what is described above for importing multiple choice questions, but there are some key differences. The first line of formatting must begin with “Type: MT”. This is followed by the question number, and the question wording.

Each answer (which consists of both parts of a correct match) must begin with a letter (a-t) followed by a period “.”. The two parts of the match must be separated with an “=” symbol. 

                Example:             Type: MT

4) Match the correct name to the discovery or theory.

a.Michelson-Morely = Speed of light

b.Einstein = Theory of Relativity

c.Marconi = radio waves

Spaces before or after the “=” symbol are optional, but it is important that an answer only uses the = symbol for the purpose of separating the two parts of the match.

Ordering questions may be imported by starting the first line of formatting with “Type: ORD”. This is followed by the question number, the question wording, and the answer choices which must be in the correct order.

                Example:              Type: ORD

5) Put the following presidents in order of service?

a. George Washington

b. John Adams

c. Thomas Jefferson

d. James Madison

e. James Monroe

Each answer (which must be in the correct order) must begin with a letter (a-t) followed by a period “.”.

Saving Your Document

Once your test is formatted according the standard formatting for Respondus, it should be saved as a .doc or a .docx. 

Important: Images embedded in MS Word files with questions will import automatically; however, if the image does not import it can be added to the question once inside of Blackboard by editing the test.  If you are importing images with your questions, you will need to add alternative text information to the image to ensure accessibility.  The alternative text information can be added in Blackboard. To learn how to add alternative text to images in Blackboard please click on the following document. ALT Text to Images