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Text editor

The default text editor in Moodle is the Atto editor, built specifically for Moodle. It is sometimes referred to as the 'HTML editor' and many of the functions will be familiar to anyone who uses Word or Sitebuilder.

You will see the text editor when editing section headings, the description of an activity, writing an answer to a quiz question or editing the content of many blocks.


Text editor toolbar

  1. Paragraph style (heading level - large, medium, small - preformatted and paragraph); Bold; Italic
  2. Unordered (bullet-point) list; Numbered list
  3. Link; Unlink (hyperlinks / URLS / web pages)
  4. Add image; Insert media; Manage files
  5. Underline; Strikethrough; Subscript; Superscript
  6. Left align; Center; Right align
  7. Outdent; Indent
  8. Equation editor; Insert character; Create table; Clear formatting
    • If either the MathJax or the TeX notation filters are enabled an equation editor button is provided in the toolbar for launching the equation editor.
  9. Undo; Redo
  10. Accessibility checker; Screenreader helper
    • The automated accessibility checker checks for common errors in the way the text is constructed that prevents all users from having equal access to information and functionality.
      • Images with missing or empty alt text (unless they have the presentation role)
      • Contrast of font colour and background colour meets WCAG AA guidelines
      • Long blocks of text are sufficiently broken up into headings
      • All tables require captions
      • Tables should not contain merged cells as they are difficult to navigate with screen readers
      • All tables should contain row or column headers
    • The screen reader helper provides additional information about the currently selected text (e.g. is it bold), as well as a listing of any images or links in the text.
  11. HTML editor
  12. Preview
    Provides a preview of the text area in the context of the Moodle space i.e. with portions of the header and footer areas.
  13. Word count
  14. Insert Planet eStream item
    eStream is the tool we use for hosting and editing video.
  15. Toggle full screen editing mode
  16. Font colors
  17. Font size
  18. Font face
  19. Templates
Add image

Insert an image

  1. Insert an image by pasting the web address e.g.
  2. Browse repositories opens the File Picker.
  3. It is important that images always have a sensible 'alt text' so that screen readers work correctly.
  4. Set the size and alignment of the image on the page.
Insert media

Moodle makes embedding video and sound files very straightforward. Media (audio and video) may be dragged and dropped directly onto the course page, added as a File resource or linked to as a URL resource and they will also display in Moodle's text editor.

If your browser does not support drag ad drop, then you can use the 'insert media' icon to open a window which will allow you to add a link, and insert a video or audio file.

Insert media link

The video and audio sections have additional options that can be selected. For video this includes setting the size, adding a thumnbnail image from a URL, and making the controls invisible, the video start automatically, muting the sound and playing the video on a loop. It is also possible to add subtitle / captions using the appropriate file.

Insert media - video

Audio has the same advanced options (except setting the size). By default (for both audio and video) the controls are shown and autoplay is off.

Insert media - audio

Manage files

This option opens a cut down version of the 'File picker' enabling simple drag and drop for adding files to the text area.

Moodle File Manager

Equation editor

See for more advice on producing equations using TeX notation. The equation editor here is the HTML-based equation editor in Moodle's Atto editor.

Moodle Equation editor

Insert character

Use this to add individual characters, accented letters, and some symbols. If you need to add more than this the equation editor may be better.

Insert a character

Create table

Create a table, add a caption (title) at the top or bottom, set the number of rows and columns, and set the format for the borders and table cells. You can also set the width of the table in %.

Create and format a table

HTML editor

Switching to the HTML view allows editing of the html source code directly rather than through the WYSIWYG editor. If you have used the SiteBuilder editor this may be familiar.

HTML editor


You can use templates to help create engaging content with preformatted headings, boxes, buttons and labels.

Editor templates


Text typed into the Atto editor is automatically saved every 60 seconds. If you leave the page, accidentally close the tab or otherwise leave the form without submitting, the text in the editor will be restored next time you open the page.

The information on this page relates to Moodle v3.4 and was last updated October 2018.


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