HowToMoodle Blog

Moodle Plugin Review: Sketch ("paint like" editor for atto)

This week we've looked at Sketch - a new Moodle plugin that allows you to add simple, drawn images to any Atto editor in Moodle.

What is Sketch for Moodle?

The atto_sketch plugin is great for creating a very quick sketch image, which can be applied - for example - to a forum post. Whether using a mouse or through touchscreen or pen, the interface is simple and easy to use and get acquainted with.

How to use

Step 1

Open any atto Editor


Step 2

Locate and click on the Sketch Icon (You may need to click on the "Show/Hide advanced buttons" option to display additional control icons).



Step 3

The Sketch window opens in full-screen with drawing controls along the top and down the left side of the screen.


Step 4

The top controls are used to change the size of the pen used when drawing. This area is also where the text box opens to enter the number of sides when creating a "Regular Shape".

The side controls include:

  • Pencil (freehand drawing, click and drag)
  • Eraser (erase parts of your drawing, click and drag)
  • Line (click start point, drag to endpoint and release)
  • Rectangle (click start point, drag to endpoint and release)
  • Ellipse (click start point, drag to endpoint and release)
  • Text (creates a Text box that can be written in)
  • Polygon (click multiple points to create a filled polygon)
  • Pan (click and drag, moves your image around the screen)
  • Eyedropper (selects a colour from your image for use)
  • Regular Shapes (enter the number of sides > 3, click and drag for size)
  • Stroke (select Draw Pen Colour)
  • Fill (select Draw Fill Colour)
  • BG (select Background Colour)
  • Undo (undo last action)
  • Redo (redo last action)
  • Zoom Out (zoom into image)
  • Zoom In (zoom out of image)
  • Clear (clear whole image)
  • Insert Sketch (insert created image into forum post)

How do I install the Sketch plugin on my Moodle site?

The plugin is available the Moodle plugin repository at

The downloaded zip file should then be unzipped and its contents uploaded to your Moodle installation e.g. lib/editor/atto/plugins folder.

Once the files are moved into the correct directory you can login to the Moodle site as an admin and complete the installation process by navigating to Site administration > Notifications and click on the "Update Database" button at the bottom of the page.

Tip: You should always take a full backup of your Moodle site before installing any plugin. 

How do I configure Sketch?

When adding an atto plugin, it will not be automatically added to the available atto editor window menu and will require adding manually to the atto editors menu options.

  1. Navigate to Site administration > Plugins > Text editors > Atto HTML editor
  2. Scroll down the page until you find the ‘Toolbar config’ edit window and add sketch = sketch to the bottom of the list displayed
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and save your changes.

We have previously created a useful blog post on how to add additional elements to your chosen editor, which can be found here:

Is there any documentation for the Sketch plugin?

The plugin appears to have little documentation, but I don’t believe this to be a problem as once installed and configured to appear on the atto toolbar, the interface is simple and intuitive and you can very quickly get to grips with the plugin.

Our verdict

It's said that a picture paints a thousand words, I'm not sure it might here, but Sketch is simple and fun to use with possibilities for creative and fun use within the atto editor.

  • Easy to install
  • Simple to use interface
  • Can be fun to use
  • Supported for Moodle versions 3.0 to 3.3
  • An alternative way for Teachers and learners to create content
  • Offers the potential for creative use of a Moodle site
  • There appears to be little control of the size of the image inserted into the editor window once the Insert Sketch button is clicked
  • Clicking on the inserted image opens an image control window with options to auto-size or set the size of the image which enables you to resize the image, however it requires an image save and an image description adding.
  • No apparent way to download the created images.

OK, show me how Sketch works


Need any help?

If you need help with your Moodle site simply get in touch with our friendly team of experts. And don't forget by subscribing to our monthly newsletter, you can get more reviews of the latest Moodle plugins and tips straight to your inbox!

Happy Moodling!

Expert Technical Support for your Moodle or Totara Learn site

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