CRAN Release of R/exams 2.3-1

By R/exams

CRAN Release of R/exams 2.3-1

(This article was first published on R/exams, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

New minor release of the R/exams package to CRAN, containing a wide range of smaller improvements and bug fixes. Notable new features include a dedicated OpenOLAT interface, and a convenience function facilitating the use of TikZ-based graphics.

Version 2.3-1 of the one-for-all exams generator R/exams has been published on the Comprehensive R Archive Network at In the next days this will propagate to other CRAN mirrors along with Windows binary packages. The development version of the package is now version 2.3-2 on

New features

  • Added new interface exams2openolat() for the open-source OpenOLAT learning management system. This is only a convenience wrapper to exams2qti12() or exams2qti21() with some dedicated tweaks for optimizing MathJax output for OpenOLAT.
  • New function include_tikz() that facilitates compiling standalone TikZ figures into a range of output formats, especially PNG and SVG (for HTML-based output). This is useful when including TikZ in R/Markdown exercises or when converting R/LaTeX exercises to HTML. Two examples have been added to the package that illustrate the capabilities of include_tikz(): automaton, logic. A dedicated blog post is also planned.

Written exams (NOPS)

  • Following the blog post on Written R/exams around the World several users have been kind enough to add language support for: Croatian (hr.dcf, contributed by Krunoslav Juraić), Danish (da.dcf, contributed by Tue Vissing Jensen and Jakob Messner),Slovak (sk.dcf, contributed by Peter Fabsic), Swiss German (gsw.dcf, contributed by Reto Stauffer), Turkish (tr.dcf, contributed by Emrah Er). Furthermore, Portuguese has been distinguished into pt-PT.dcf (Portuguese Portuguese) vs. pt-BR.dcf (Brazilian Portuguese) with pt.dcf defaulting to the former (contributed by Thomas Dellinger).
  • After setting a random seed exams2nops() and exams2pdf() now yield the same random versions of the exercises. Previously, this was not the case because exams2nops() internally generates a single random trial exam first for a couple of sanity checks. Now, the .GlobalEnv$.Random.seed is restored after generating the trial exam.
  • Fixed the support for nsamp argument in exams2nops(). Furthermore, current limitations of exams2nops() are pointed out more clearly in error messages and edge cases caught.
  • Allow varying points within a certain exercise in nops_eval().

HTML output and Base64-encoded supplements

  • In exams2html() and other interfaces based on make_exercise_transform_html() the option base64 = TRUE now uses Base64 encoding for all file extensions (known to the package) whereas base64 = NULL only encodes image files (previous default behavior).
  • Bug fixes and improvements in HTML transformers:
    • Only ="file.ext" (with =") for supplementary files embedded into HTML is replaced now by the corresponding Base64-encoded version.
    • href="file.ext" is replaced by href="file.ext" download="file.ext" prior to Base 64 replacement to assure that the file name is preserved for the browser/downloader.
    • alt="file.ext" and download="file.ext" are preserved without the Base64-encoded version of file.ext.
  • Include further file URIs for Base64 supplements, in particular .sav for SPSS data files.
  • In exams2blackboard(..., base64 = FALSE, ...) the base64 = FALSE was erroneously ignored. No matter how base64 was specified essentially base64 = TRUE was used, it is honored again now.


  • exshuffle{} can now also be used for schoice exercises with more than one TRUE answer. In a first step only one of the TRUE answers is selected and then -1 items from the FALSE answers.
  • Function include_supplement(..., dir = "foo") – without full path to "foo" – now also works if "foo" is not a local sub-directory but a sub-directory to the exercise directory edir (if specified).
  • Enable passing of envir argument from exams2html() to xweave() in case of R/Markdown (.Rmd) exercises.
  • When using exams2html(..., mathjax = TRUE) for testing purposes, is used now rather than which is currently redirecting and will eventually be shut down completely.
  • Added support for tightlist (as produced by pandoc) in all current LaTeX templates as well as exams2nops().

Bug fixes

  • Fixed a bug in stresstest_exercise() where the “rank” (previously called “order”) of the correct solution was computed incorrectly. Additional enhancements in plots and labels.
  • Fixed a bug for tex2image(..., tikz = TRUE) where erroneously usetikzlibrary{TRUE} was included. Also tex2image(..., Sweave = TRUE) (the default) did not run properly on Windows, fixed now.
  • Better warnings if exshuffle{} could not be honored due to a lack of sufficiently many (suitable) answer alternatives.
  • Bug fix in CSV export of exams2arsnova(). Recent ARSnova versions use “mc” (rather than “MC”) and “abcd” (rather than “SC”) to code multiple-choice and single-choice questions, respectively.
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