Give yourself a GIFT with Captivate Quizzes_800x350

Recently, in our house, we celebrated several birthdays. Celebrations like birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Mother’s Day, Easter, and so forth always seem to involve some form of gift for others. Well, when it comes to designing your quizzes in Captivate, you can also give yourself a gift. The gift of GIFT files. GIFT stands for General Import Format Technology and is a format by which you can create quiz question outside of Captivate and then import them directly into your eLearning.

GIFT files can be extremely helpful in working with Subject Matter Experts and other team members who may not have access to Captivate, but still could be creating questions for you. In the past, you may have asked them to submit a series of questions over email or intranet, formatted as a Word document or a PDF file and then you’d have to manually transfer those to Captivate–a tedious, time-consuming process.

Now, with the use of GIFT files you can have them write the questions (following a specific format that we’ll delve into below) and then submit the GIFT file to you. Then, you take that file and import it directly into Captivate.

Let’s look at the process of using GIFT files.

Step 1: Create your GIFT file

A quick internet search turns up at least half a dozen GIFT format generators. Each of these has its pros and cons, but all are certainly a good start. I’d suggest finding one, creating a couple of questions and then opening the .txt file to get feel for the formatting.

For many people anytime they see something even slightly resembling code, they get cold sweats and look for the nearest escape route, but GIFT files don’t need to scare you off if you fit into that category.

Here’s an example of a basic GIFT file:


For a version of the code that you can copy and paste, click here:

There are some basic conventions to GIFT files:

  • The double forward slash (//) indicates a comment.
  • A double colon (::) Indicates the start and end of a question title
  • Brackets ({}) enclose the answers to a question
  • The equal sign (=) indicates a correct answer
  • A tilde (~) indicates an incorrect answer)
  • An arrow (->) is used in a matching question to indicate which items are paired with which answers
  • A single backslash (\) is used to indicate special characters that could have other meanings if not preceded by the \.
  • Plain text is used for the body of the question.

There’s a great, in-depth explanation of the format and the other conventions you can use on the Moodle site, here:

NOTE: The ending bracket (}) needs to be separated from the next question by a carriage return for the file to work properly in Captivate.

Once the file is created, make sure to save it as a text document with the .txt extension. Then you’re ready for the next step.

Step 2: Import the GIFT File Into Captivate

Now that you have the GIFT file created, open Captivate and click on the Quiz drop-down menu and select Import GIFT Format File.


Then browse to your GIFT file and, voila!, the questions are imported into your Captivate project. The slides are created automatically and the questions are formatted according to the style parameters you have set previously.


Once the questions are in your Captivate project, you can edit and configure them as you normally would.

GIFT files are great if you want a question pool that can be carried across multiple courses. To import into your question pool, just open the Question Pool Manager (Quiz>Question Pool Manager), and then select Import GIFT File.


The questions are imported and you see them in your pool.


Again, you can edit and configure them as you see fit.

Using GIFT files to create your question pool means that you can create files from just about anywhere. You don’t need anything more than a simple text editor (available on almost any device), and a knowledge of a couple of the key syntax parameters. They can save you a lot of mouse clicks and time when compared to creating the questions directly in your Captivate quizzes.

So give yourself the gift of GIFT files in your eLearning course creation today!

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