Upload users

Firstly, note that it is usually not necessary to import users in bulk - to keep your own maintenance work down you should first explore forms of authentication that do not require manual maintenance, such as connecting to existing external databases or letting the users create their own accounts. See the Authentication section in the admin menus.

If you are sure you want to import multiple user accounts from a text file, then you need to format your text file as follows:

  • Each line of the file contains one record
  • Each record is a series of data separated by commas
  • The first record of the file is special, and contains a list of fieldnames. This defines the format of the rest of the file.

    Required fieldnames: these fields must be included in the first record, and defined for each user

    username, password, firstname, lastname, email

    Default fieldnames: these are optional - if they are not included then the values are taken from the primary admin

    institution, department, city, country, lang, auth, timezone

    Optional fieldnames: all of these are completely optional. The course names are the "shortnames" of the courses - if present then the user will be enrolled as students in those courses. Group names must be associated to the corresponding courses, i.e. group1 to course1, etc.

    idnumber, icq, phone1, phone2, address, url, description, mailformat, maildisplay, htmleditor, autosubscribe, course1, course2, course3, course4, course5, group1, group2, group3, group4, group5, type1, type2, type3, type4, type5, role1, role2, role3, role4, role5, emailstop

  • Commas within the data should be encoded as &#44 - the script will automatically decode these back to commas.
  • For Boolean fields, use 0 for false and 1 for true.
  • Types are used to tell Moodle whether the user is a student or a teacher if a corresponding course exists (e.g. type2 corresponds to course2). 1 = Student, 2 = Editing Teacher, and 3 = Non-editing Teacher. If type is left blank, or if no course is specified, the user is default to student.
  • For courses use the short name; for groups use group name; for roles use id.
  • Note: If a user is already registered in the Moodle user database, this script will return the userid number (database index) for that user, and will enrol the user as a student in any of the specified courses WITHOUT updating the other specified data.

Here is an example of a valid import file:

username, password, firstname, lastname, email, lang, idnumber, maildisplay, course1, group1, type1
jonest, verysecret, Tom, Jones, jonest@someplace.edu, en, 3663737, 1, Intro101, Section 1, 1
reznort, somesecret, Trent, Reznor, reznort@someplace.edu, en_us, 6736733, 0, Advanced202, Section 3, 3

Updating existing accounts

By default Moodle assumes that you will be creating new user accounts, and skips records where the username matches an existing account. However, if you set "Update existing accounts" to Yes, the existing user account will be updated.

When updating existing accounts you can change usernames as well. Set "Allow renames" to Yes and include in your file a field called oldusername.

Warning: any errors updating existing accounts can affect your users badly. Be careful when using the options to update.

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