Importing a D2L export package

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About this article

This article includes instructions for importing an archived D2L course from an export package or a publisher-provided course pack or cartridge. It is intended for instructors who are either using Desire2Learn or interested in using this instructional management system in the future.

What's an export package?

  • Archived D2L courses: When you export a D2L course, it generates what's called an export Zip package. This is a zip file, a special compressed file that contains all of the other files associated with the components you chose to export. The export process creates this file and then you download and save it. The zip file can then be imported back into a new D2L course when needed.
  • Publisher course packs or cartridges: Publishers often provide supplementary materials and test banks in the form of a zip file that they may call a course pack or cartridge. They either email this to instructors, provide it on a CD, or provide a link that instructors use to download it to their computers.

Using the Import/Export/Copy Components Tool

Using the D2L Import/Export/Copy Components Tool, instructors can import either an entire export package or selected components from that package, copying them to a new D2L course. Instructors can easily do this themselves, but need to keep the following in mind:

  • You can only import into D2L courses in which you are listed as the Teacher.
  • If you choose to import everything from an archived course, this may include date and time restrictions (e.g., hiding content or activities, quiz or dropbox deadlines) and you will need to change those dates and times to correspond to the current semester.
Fig 1. The Import/Export/Copy Components Tool
Fig 2. Select Import Components
Fig 3. Choose the components to import


  1. Login to D2L and open the course into which you want to import the package.
  2. Click the Edit Course link.
  3. Click the Import/Export/Copy Components link (Figure 1).
  4. Select the Import Components radio button and the from a File radio button (Figure 2). Select the Choose File button.
  5. Find the zip package that you would like to upload. Either double-click the file or click it once to highlight it and then select the Open button. You will return to the Import/Export/Copy Components screen. Select the Start button. You will be taken to a Preprocessing screen. Wait until D2L finishes preprocessing. This will be indicated by green check marks next to each preprocessing task.
  6. Select the Continue button. This will take you to the Select Course Material screen.
  7. Check the check boxes for the components you want to import (Figure 3). If you want to select all components, check the topmost check box labeled Select All Components and this will put a check in all the boxes below it. By default, all of the items in a component will be exported. If you only want to copy individual items, select the Select individual items to copy radio button.
  8. Click the Continue button
  9. If you elected to select individual items to import for any of the components, you will be presented with a list of items for each component. Select the items you want to import and click the Continue button to advance to the next component. Note that you may need to select the + icon next to the different categories that are listed to expand the list.
  10. The final screen asks you to confirm the material you are going to import. Select the Modify link if you want to make any changes and then select the Continue button.
  11. You will see an Importing Course Material screen that will show the progress of the import process. Wait until everything is imported. Successful imports will be indicated with a green check mark.
  12. Click the Finish button. This will take you to the Import Summary screen.
  13. Select the Done button.

Important Details

  • When importing from an export package that includes course files, pay attention to whether you should overwrite existing files of the same name or not. For example, if you are importing from a package that includes a file called syllabus.docx and you choose to overwrite, this file will replace the existing one. If you choose not to overwrite, this file will be added as if it was a unique file. Thus, you may have two topics in your table of contents called Syllabus. Duplication of topics and files can also happen if you upload the same export package to the same course more than once. In this case, you would want to choose overwrite.
  • Again, if you elect to import all components from a previous semester's course, this may copy over all display settings and release conditions from the previous semester. Obviously, these dates and times will have elapsed and will need to be edited to correspond to the current semester. If you don't want these time sensitive settings imported, don't select the Content Display Settings, Grade Settings, and Release Conditions components when you import the package.
  • When importing course files from an export package, you can specify the name of a folder in your D2L course to which to save the files. If you don't specify a folder, all of the files will be saved to the course's root directory. You can then organize them later using the Manage Files feature of the D2L Content Tool.
  • When importing an export package, you can choose to import metadata. If you select this option and metadata is associated with any of the content in the export package, it will be imported along with the corresponding content.

Sharing Course Components With Other Teachers

There are three ways that you can copy D2L course components from a colleague's course:

  • Be added to your colleague's class list as a Teacher. You will then have access to that course as if it was your own.
  • Import an export package saved by your colleague as a zip file and provided to you.
  • Access components saved by your colleague in a shared learning object repository (LOR).