How Does the Editor Work?

Valid for Moodle 2.5.  Updated on 7/22/2013.

In most places where you need to add text in Moodle you will use the text editor, sometimes referred to as the 'HTML editor' or even 'TinyMCE'.  For example to enter a description to file you're uploading you'd use the following interface.

Please note that by default the editor comes up with the editing tools hidden. Click on the tab Show editing tools (at the same location as Hide editing tools in the image above) to see the toolbars. Most text is entered simply by typing into the entry box, but the editor has many tools to assist the user. Many of these icons and functions should be familiar to anyone who uses a word processor.

 Some examples of where you will see the text editor include: Editing Section headings, description of an activity, writing an answer to a quiz question or editing the content of many blocks.

List of groups

For those who are not familiar with the tool bar, here are the functions listed by group using the above example. Remember that the site administrator can edit or provide additonal toolbars.

Row 1

  • HTML editor group font style.png - Font, size and heading group
  • HTML editor group undo redo.png - Undo and Redo group
  • HTML editor group find replace.png - Find and Replace group
  • HTML editor group fullscreen 1.png|Full screen toggle

Row 2

  • HTML editor group text effects.png - Text effect group
  • HTML editor group line format.png - Line format group
  • HTML editor group formatting.png - Formatting group
  • HTML editor group color.png - Color group
  • HTML editor group paragraph.png - Paragraph group

Row 3

  • HTML editor group lists.png - Number and Bullets and indents
  • HTML editor group link.png - Link group
  • HTML editor group insert.png - Insert group
  • HTML editor group HTML spell.png - HTML source toggle & spellchecker
  • AV Recorder icon - AV recorder - not available when sending email

Special features

Color pickers

  • HTML editor group color.png

There are 4 levels of selecting a font or background color,

  • A quick pick 5x8 matrix of colors


    This includes a "More colors" option that links to Picker, Pallet and Named tabs.

  • A rainbow color picker tab


  • A Pallet tab with a 18x12 matrix of colors.
    Color palette interface

  • A Named tab with custom pallets.

Insert images and media

  • 1 Insert Image - uses File picker
  • 2 Insert Emoticon (not available at Amherst College)
  • 3 Insert Media - uses File picker
  • 4 Insert Equation - uses java script editor
  • 5 Insert Non breaking space
  • 6 Insert Custom character - Special keyboard characters
  • 7 Insert Table  - See below

Insert table

The insert table interface has two tabs.

  1. The general tab


  2. The advanced tab.

To add borders to a table

Cell borders are crucial for helping readers to follow the rows across the screen. If they aren’t showing already you can add them as follows:

  1. In the page containing your table, click its Edit tab
  2. Carefully select all the cells of the table
  3. Then right click (Macs: Command+click or Ctrl+Click) over any part of your selection to get a context menu; from it select Cell > Table Cell Properties; the cell properties dialog box then loads.
  4. Click on its Advanced tab, set Border Color to black (for instance), then click Apply, and then click Update.
  5. Click Save.

Note: With the exception of the AV Recorder, this documentation is based on documentation from Moodle.org