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Putting MS Word documents in D2L

This document describes three formats for MS Word documents in D2L content and a final note on file names. The three formats are:

  • The Word document in its original form. More . . .
  • The Word document converted to a PDF file. More . . .
  • The Word document saved as a web page. More . . .
  • Copying and pasting in new D2L documents. More . . .

Putting Word documents on the web as Word documents:

The process is simple: add the Word document to the content folder. So what are the drawbacks?

  • Word documents usually require that the user has Word installed on their machine. If they don't have Word installed, there is a free Word Viewer available on Microsoft's site. Go to Microsoft and search for "word viewer."
  • Sometimes there is incompatibility with different versions of Word that prevent the document from displaying for some users. Users may need the  Office Compatibility Pack from Microsoft.
  • Word documents have a "width" that might require the user to scroll left and right.

Converting Word documents to PDF files:

PDF files are read-only files that look very much like their original Word documents. PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader, a third party plug-in, to display. The Reader is available at no cost. To download the Adobe Acrobat reader, go to: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readermain.html . There are many Adobe Acrobat products available on this site, most of which involve a cost. It's the free Reader that you want.

Creating PDF files requires Adobe Acrobat (not the Reader) which is not a free download. We usually suggest interested departments purchase Adobe Acrobat from WISC at: http://wiscsoftware.wisc.edu/wisc/. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat but want to convert a Word document to a PDF format, send it as an attachment to ltc@uwgb.edu and we'll convert it for you. If you've never worked with PDF files before you might want to try a few to see if they will work for your needs.

The PDF option is often preferred for Word documents with complicated layouts. One of the few limitations with PDF files is that they are almost impossible to edit once they're in the PDF format. Always retain the original Word document so you can make your changes there and then recreate the PDF file if changes are necessary. With that caveat in mind, PDF files provide a very good alternative to the other two choices mentioned here.

Converting Word documents to web pages:

To convert a Word file to a web page: Go to File and select Save As and then Web Page. Select a location.

Word produces a web page and a folder of images, if there are any. Don't change the name of the folder! Move the web page and the folder together to the desired web location - you might want to zip them first.

Copying and pasting the content within D2L:

Another option is to paste your document content into a file created within D2L. This will effectively convert the MS Word content to an HTML document, and much of the MS proprietary code (that could potentially cause funny formatting, etc.) will be removed, or "cleaned."

  1. Select all the content in the Word document (hold control + "a" to select all) and copy it (control + "c").
  2. Create a New File under Manage Content in course Content in D2L.
  3. Click on the Advanced tab above the blank text box.
  4. Click the Paste from Word (a clipboard with a "W"). You can also Paste as Plain Text. (a clipboard with a "T"). This will strip any problematic code as well as any formatting.

A note on filenames

Different systems accept or reject unusual characters in Word, PDF and HTML file names. To be safe, use only letters, numbers, and the under_score.

For example, "Chapter 8 review questions.htm" becomes "Chapter8ReviewQuestions.htm" or "Chap_8_ReviewQuestions.htm". Also, "Review for pages 3.14 through 3.28.doc" becomes "ReviewPages3_14To3_28.doc".

If you have any questions, contact the Learning Technology Center.