How to use Google Docs as a Moodle file repository

Google Docs is another wonderful free online service provided by Google. It can be used as an online office suite where you can easily create or edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It can also be used as an online file repository, which enables you to access your docs from any computer with an internet connection.

In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to use Google Docs as your Moodle file repository.

Important: If you are using a Moodle 2.1.1 installation, the Google Docs repository may not work due to a known bug which affects this version. To be safe, it is recommended to upgrade your Moodle to the latest version. There is a forum post on the official Moodle site about this where you can find out more about this issue for Moodle 2.1.1.

Step 1

You need to have an account with Google to be able to use Google Docs, so sign up for one, if you don’t already have a Google account.

Since only files in Google Docs format will show up in Moodle’s File Picker later, you need to make sure all the uploaded files (eg. Word, PowerPoint, PDF) are converted to Google Docs format. Google Docs will do the conversion for you when you are uploading the files, as long as you remember to tick the two options as shown in the figure below.


Step 2

Log in to Moodle as an administrator and navigate to the “Manage repositories” option and enable Google Docs.

Site administration > Plugins > Repositories > Manage repositories


Once Google Docs is enabled, you will be directed to the configuration page where you can enter a new name for the repository.


Step 3

Go to a course and turn editing on. Select “File” from the “Add a resource” drop-down list.

Note: Only “File” supports Google Docs.


Step 4

On the “Adding a new File” page, click the “Add…” button. A Moodle File Picker will appear and Google Docs should be listed as one of the available repositories. Select Google Docs as the repository and click the “Login” button to log into your Google account.


Step 5

You will need to grant Moodle access to your Google account by clicking the “Grant access” button.


Step 6

Now you should see all your Google docs as shown in the figure below, and you can select any file you like for using in the course.


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  • Nick

    Can I set this up so that my students can use Google docs as a repository within Moodle? That would be useful. Otherwise, is there a way to set up a file storage for students in 1.9?


    • In Moodle (latest 2.1.x), once you have enabled Google Docs, you can add an assignment to a course and your students can use a Google Docs account as their repository to upload files to that assignment.

      Turn editing on > Add an activity > Advanced uploading of files or Upload a single file

      Hope that helps. 🙂

  • Lucy

    I am slightly disappointed it adds the file as .rtf instead of linking to the google doc, I am trying to find a easy way for the staff to add a google doc to the page without having to copy and paste URLs thus enabling them to update document directly on moodle instead of having to re-upload

    If you know of a method please let me know


    • I agree with Lucy, the rtf link takes you to Word or anywhere but to your Google Docs. We have Google Docs and Moodle as SSO. This is a backward step unless I’m missing something.

  • @Lucy @Graham I agree it would be much better if there was some sort of live link between the documents but unfortunately that is not possible, Moodle just doesn’t have that functionality. At the moment they can only exist as separate documents. Hopefully this feature will be added in the future.

    Make your feedback heard on the relevant Moodle forum 🙂 –

  • Seb

    When I use the file picker I can’t see any video files.

    Can I use google docs as repository of video for moodle?

    Can I use Google Docs as a Moodle
    file repository for VIDEO FILES (.mov, .flv, .mp4, .swf) ?


    • Hi Seb,
      Only files in Google Docs format can show up in Moodle’s file picker, so unfortunately you won’t be able to use Google docs as a video repository in Moodle. Alternatively, you might want to upload all your video files to Youtube and then embed the videos in your Moodle course. To do so, you can follow our tutorial “Embed YouTube videos into your Moodle 2.0 course“.