Using bulk update

The bulk update functionality in Item Authoring allows you to update information on multiple items or item sets in your subject simultaneously.

When using bulk update in a subject, you can only update items and item sets in that subject.

You can also perform a bulk update in the Item Search and Item Lists screens. You have limited update options if you are updating items across multiple subjects.

This article explains how to use bulk update to update multiple items at the same time.

In this article

1. Open bulk update

You can open bulk update in your subject and the Item Search / Item Lists screens.

Opening bulk update in a subject

In your subject, select Bulk Update to open the Select update type dialog.

To learn more about working inside a subject, read Managing items in a subject.

Opening bulk update in Item Search and Item Lists

Either go to Item Authoring > Item Search and perform a search or go to Item Authoring > Item Lists and open a list to see the item grid. Choose the items you want to update and select Bulk Update .

For more information, read About the Item Search results table and Managing an item list.

2. Choose update type

Choose your update date in the Select update type dialog. The available options differ depending on the update type. Refer to the following table for information about each update type.

Icon Update type Description Available across multiple subjects
Source Material

Adds or removes source material on multiple items. 

Choose Add to items  or Remove from items .


Adds or removes media on multiple items.

Choose  Add to items  or Remove from items .


Adds or removes tags on multiple items.

You can add and remove tags on up to 5,000 items at once using a spreadsheet import.

Choose Add to items , Remove from items , or Upload CSV .


Adds or removes labels to Multiple Choice and Multiple Response answer options.

Choose Add to items  or Remove from items .


Enables or disables randomisation of answer options for Multiple Choice, Multiple Response, and Either/Or answer options.

Choose Add to items  or Remove from items .


Adds or removes comments on multiple items.

Choose Add to items  or Remove from items .


Changes the workflow status for multiple items.

Choose Continue.


Changes the item owners of up to 5,000 items using a spreadsheet.

Choose Upload CSV .

Unit Conversion

Updates units across multiple items.

Choose Continue.

Fix Item Set Order

Fixes or unfixes the order of item sets.

Choose Fix Item Order  or Unfix Item Order .

3. Select items (subject updates only)

IMPORTANT: Item sets cannot be updated using the bulk update functionality. Items contained within an item set can be updated.
NOTE: If you are updating items in the Item Search or Item Lists screens, skip to '4. Select options'.

After selecting your update type in a subject-based bulk update, you must choose the items you want to update in the Select items tab of the Bulk item update wizard. Select items in the left list and drag them to the right list. Use Shift to select multiple items.

You can find specific items using the search bar and the Filter menu.

TIP: Select Remove Item next to an item to remove it from the update list.

When you have chosen all the items you want to update, select Next .

4. Select options

The Select Options tab of the Bulk item update wizard has different options for each update type. Read the relevant section to learn more.

NOTE: You do not have to select options for the Randomise and Fix Item Set Order update types. If you are using these update types, skip to '5. Finish the update'.

Updating source material

Updating media

Updating tags

Updating labels

Updating comments

Updating workflow status

Updating item owners

Updating unit conversions

5. Finish the update

The Finish tab of the Bulk item update wizard displays a summary of the chosen update and asks you to confirm that you want to update the items. Select Yes, I want to update these items to enable the Confirm and Finish button.

Select Confirm and Finish to start the update.

Surpass performs the update process in the background, allowing to continue working in the system. You are emailed when the update is complete with a report on what items were updated and details on any issues if the update could not be performed.