How to Import Questions into a Subject in Item Authoring

You can import items from another Surpass subject or an external source, such as a QTI file or spreadsheet. This article explains how to import items into a subject in ‘Item Authoring’.

Import items from another subject

The option to import items from another subject enables you to create copies of items from other subjects.

Step 1: To import items from another subject, select ‘Create New Item’ on the ‘Item Authoring’ screen and ‘Import items from another subject’ from the bubble menu.


Step 2: After selecting ‘Import items from another subject’, you will see a list of available subjects. You can filter the list by typing into the ‘Search by Subject Name’ field. You can only select one subject at this time, but this process can be repeated as many times as necessary.


Step 3: You can now select the items you wish to import. You can import specific items, whole folders, or the subject’s entire content by checking the relevant box.


Once the import process has been completed, you will receive a message stating the number of items that have been successfully imported. If there have been errors, you will be alerted at this time. You can download a .csv report detailing the faults by selecting the ‘View Report’ button. Successfully imported content will appear in a folder named after the source subject.


Import items from a QTI 2.1

When you import items from another source you can choose between a spreadsheet or a QTI 2.1/QTI 1.2.1 file

Step 1: If you wish to import a QTI 2.1/QTI 1.2.1 file, select the ‘Import items from other sources’ option from the ‘Create New Item’ menu and choose your file type from the drop-down list.


Step 2: Select the green ‘Import’ button and you will be directed to your device’s local file explorer.

Step 3: Locate the QTI file. Once this file has been selected and imported, you will receive a message stating how many items were successfully imported (as above).

You will see a new folder named after the QTI file appear in your subject’s items column.

Note: You can use the ‘Export’ button in the ‘Subjects’ column to generate and download a QTI file directly from a subject populated with content.

Import items from a Spreadsheet

Step 1: If you wish to import items from a spreadsheet, select ‘Spreadsheet’ from the ‘Import items from other sources’ drop-down list.

Step 2: When you select the ‘Spreadsheet’ option, you can ‘Download Sample XLS’.

Step 3: The sample SurpassImport.xls spreadsheet provides a basic template for structuring your import spreadsheet. There are various fields for data entry, including your question and answer options alongside the maximum selections the candidate can make and if you want to randomise the answers.


You can include images for the questions as this stage. If you are providing images you must import the spreadsheet and image folder(s) as a single .zip file.

Step 4: Once you have completed your import spreadsheet, save it as a .xls file (also called an ‘Excel 97-2003 Worksheet’).

Note: If you are working with a newer version of Microsoft Office (i.e., Office 365) or open-source productivity suites like Apache OpenOffice, your spreadsheet application’s default file type may be incompatible with Surpass. For example, .xlsx files produced by Excel 2016 result in failed imports.

Upon creating a valid .xls spreadsheet, return to Surpass and select the green ‘Import’ button. Locate the import spreadsheet in your local files and upload. You will be issued a message detailing which items have been successfully imported.

For further information, visit ‘Import items from another subject’ on the Surpass Help Site.

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