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Comment: clarified accepted file formats and updated turnitin link

These Frequently Asked Questions are here to support students with their use of Turnitin plagiarism detection software at UCL. Unless stated otherwise these FAQs relate to the use of Turnitin via UCL Moodle. Staff should refer to the Staff Turnitin FAQs page.


Table of Contents


titleWhere to find more information




*Note: Steps 1 and 2 are not relevant to UCL students, as you will access Turnitin via Moodle, not the Turnitin website directly. Please start at step 3 in the above guide.




Turnitin is one of the tools that UCL uses to help students learn about and avoid plagiarism and to help detect it when it does occur is Turnitin. Read more...


What file formats will Turnitin accept?

Most Turnitin will accept most common word-processing formats are accepted. Turnitin will accept documents in Microsoft Word for PC, WordPerfect, PostScript, text-based PDF, HTML, RTF, Excel documents, Microsoft Powerpoint, , including: 

  • Microsoft Word® (.doc/.docx) *
  • text-based PDF (.pdf)
  • Microsoft Powerpoint
  • OpenOffice Text (.odt)**
  • WordPerfect (.wpd)
  • PostScript  (.ps)
  • HTML
  • RTF (.rtf)
  • Excel documents (.xls. .xlsx)***
  • formats for computer programming languages


  • plain text


  • (.txt)

Turnitin cannot check the following file types for similarity, and depending on the settings of your Turnitin Assignment, you will either be prevented from submitting such file types or your Similarity Report will not generate:

  • Apple files, including Microsoft Word for Mac.  Documents created on Microsoft Word for Mac will need to be saved as a text-based PDF or RTF before submission, or opened with Microsoft Word for PC and re-saved.

Equations created in Word using Microsoft Equation are compatible with Turnitin, but equations created in other applications and then converted to PDF are likely to cause problems when the document is displayed in Turnitin®. If you need to submit documents containing equations to Turnitin please read the advice below: Will Turnitin accept documents containing equations?


titleGuidance from Turnitin about Word documents, Google docs and Dropbox


  • Image-based PDFs (e.g. scanned files, or files which do not contain highlight able text. If you need to include scans as part of your submission, we recommend you include the scans as images within a word document, and ensure there is a minimum of 20 words, and the file size is less than 40mb).
  • Google Docs created documents - We recommend that such documents are saved in a different format.

*We would advise that the students access the check for issue area within Microsoft Word (go to File -> Info -> Check for issues -> Inspect document), inspect the document and look for any custom XLM errors and then click on the 'remove' button to see if this removes the areas and try submitting the work again.  This may allow the report to be generated.


See more information about file types on the Turnitin website** Except where a .odt file is created in Google Docs

***The file will display to the marker as if the Excel file was saved as a PDF. 

titleWhere to find more information

If you need more information, please see Turnitin's official advice on accepted file types and sizes.

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Will Turnitin accept documents containing equations?

Equations created in other applications and then converted to PDF are likely to cause problems when the document is displayed in Turnitin®. As long as you use Word (with Microsoft Equation) to create your document, Turnitin® should have no trouble displaying your assignment. Word is available to all students free of charge via WTS: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/students/windows/wts/access