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Use the Moodle Text Editor

In most places where you can enter text in Moodle, editing tools are provided that are similar to those found in software for word processing. The editor can be used to create headings, bold or italic text, color and highlight text, create numbered and bulleted lists, or to add media or links to a page.

Note: The default editor in Moodle is the Atto HTML Editor. One advantage of using the Atto HTML Editor is that it automatically saves drafts every minute as you work. If you prefer to work without a toolbar and make entries in plain text, markup text manually, or use the older TinyMCE HTML Editor, see Editor Preferences (below).

The Atto HTML Editor

In the Atto toolbar, editing tools are grouped by general function.

Text Formatting

  • Paragraph styles: Choose between small, medium, and large headings, pre-formatted, and paragraph.
  • Bold: Create new bold text or make a current selection of text bold. This can be useful when you want to call students' attention to an important text, such as an assignment's due date.
  • Italic: Create new italic text or make a current selection of text italic.

Text Color and Highlight Color

  • Text color: Six available font colors. (For light colors be sure to add a dark background color.)
  • Background colors: Change the highlight color of a text selection. 

Note: Never rely on color alone to communicate. Choose colors and color combinations that meet accessibility requirements for contrast ratio and color blindness.

Additional Text Formatting

  • Underline: Create new underlined text or underline a current selection of text (e.g., apple).
  • Strike through: Create struck-through text or strike through a current selection of text.
  • Subscript: Create subscripts. This can be particularly useful for mathematical formulas (e.g., nx-nL).
  • Superscript: Create new superscript or turn selected text into superscript. This can also be useful when working with mathematical formulas (e.g., x8). (Also see the Equation editor.)

Clear Formatting

  • Clear formatting: Especially useful if you paste from an application with undesired results.


Copy-and-pasting a URL into the Moodle text editor will not automatically create a hyperlink. You will need to use the hyperlink button to create a clickable link.

  • Link: Create a new hyperlink or turn a selection of text into a hyperlink.
  • Unlink: Remove a hyperlink from a selection of text.

Insert Media

  • Insert or edit image: Embed an image from the Web or upload an image from your computer. Includes a required field for adding descriptive text for the image for screen readers and accessibility.
    Note: from a computer, you can also drag-and-drop images from a desktop window into the edtor entry box.
  • Insert or edit an audio/video file: Embed a video clip from the Web or upload a media clip from your computerFor more information, see Embed Video or Audio on a Moodle Page.

Bulleted and Numbered Lists

  • Unordered list (bullets): Create a new list of bulleted items or turn a text selection into a bulleted list.
  • Ordered list (numbering): Create a new numbered list or turn a text selection into a numbered list.
    Press Enter/return twice to return to a normal paragraph.

Text Alignment, Indent, and Direction

  • Align left (default), center, or right.
  • Outdent or indent.
  • Left to right (default) or right to left for formatting languages.

Math and Formula Tools

  • Equation editor: Build complex formulas and mathematical operations.
  • Insert character: Insert a special character into the text such as a copyright symbol (©) or a diamond (♦).
  • Table: Insert a table. 
    Formatting tables with the editor is limited. To allow for formatting, such as table borders or cell background colors, we recommend you create and format tables in MS Word or MS Excel, then copy and paste the table into the Moodle editor entry box. 

Undo and Redo

  • Undo: Undo previous actions.
  • Redo: Redo undone actions.

Text Accessibility

  • Accessibility checker: Check for potential accessibility issues. For example, the accessibility checker will identify red text as having too little contrast on a white background for colorblind users and warn you if you an image does not include "alternate text."
  • Screenreader helper: Identifies the paragraph style of a text selection, as well as links and images and their corresponding descriptive text.

HTML Editor

  • HTML: Click to switch to the HTML markup view of your existing text or write and markup new HTML text. Click again to preview your markup.
    Note: Instructors can use this view to paste in "embed code" from media sharing websites.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Most standard keyboard shortcuts work in the Atto HTML editor. See Keyboard Shortcuts.

Editor Preferences

If you would prefer not to use the default editor you can change your personal preferences:

  1. In the User Menu (top-right), click your name and select Preferences. Your Preferences page will open.
  2. Under User account, click Editor preferences. The Editor preferences page will open.
  3. From the Text editor drop-down menu:
    • To format text with a toolbar, choose Atto HTML Editor (default, and recommended). To use the older editor from previous Moodle versions, choose TinyMCE HTML Editor.
    • To markup text manually, select Plain text area. Below any text entry box where a editor toolbar would normally appear, you will see a drop-down menu with the option to choose between HTML format, Moodle auto- format, Plain text format, and Markdown format.
  4. Click Save changes (at bottom of page). 

Note: Only the default (Atto) editor saves changes as you work.