Student Advice

What is Turnitin?

Ben Maples  · Apr 26th 2023

When you're at university you will likely come across the essay-submission software Turnitin.


Turnitin is a tool that checks for plagiarism in written assignments. However, there is still some confusion surrounding what Turnitin is and how it works. In this article, we will provide an overview of Turnitin, including how it is used, its features, and its benefits for both educators and students.


What is Turnitin?

Turnitin is a plagiarism detection software used by universities. The software is used to determine how much of a student’s essay is plagiarised from a third party.

Almost all universities require students to upload essays and coursework to Turnitin. Turnitin will compare a student’s work against an archive of previously-written documents, be it on the internet, the previously submitted papers and essays and through their own subscribed journals and publications.

Why do universities use Turnitin?

The main reason is to prevent plagiarism among students. Turnitin also allows teachers to provide greater feedback and grading capabilities for assessments. 98% of universities in the UK use Turnitin.

An original report is a report generated by Turnitin after it has assessed a submitted work.

Turnitin does also serve other purposes beyond catching would-be plagiarists. Turnitin has a full citation support system in place and also provides support for students looking for help with references.

What is GradeMark?

GradeMark is a feature that allows lecturers and tutors to mark submissions online. This is used as a means of providing students with detailed feedback on their submissions.

PeerMark is another useful feature that Turnitin offers. This is a feature that allows students to view, score and review their classmates’ work. Not all universities will offer PeerMark, however, it is a useful feature for those studying subjects where peer feedback is needed.

Plagiarism checker free

Can Turnitin check plagiarism in different languages?

Turnitin has translation-matching services and is able to detect plagiarised resources from abroad. The service is capable of matching the translated work and students will be plagiarised for it.

The currently supported languages are:

  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Chinese (simplified)
  • Chinese (traditional)
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Estonian
  • Farsi
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hausa
  • Hebrew
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Malay
  • Maltese
  • Norwegian Bokmal
  • Norwegian Nynorsk
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu.

Other languages may be added at a later date.

Turnitin is a plagiarism detection software used by universities.

What are accepted file types for Turnitin?

There are several accepted file types for Turnitin. Your lecturers will tell you what programmes to use when supplying work and will also tell you which programmes or systems do not work.

The accepted file types for Turnitin are:

  • Adobe® PDF.
  • Google Docs via Google Drive™
  • HTML.
  • Hangul Word Processor file (.hwp)
  • Microsoft (.doc/.docx)
  • Microsoft Excel® (.xls and .xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint® (.pptx, .ppt, .ppsx, and .pps)
  • OpenOffice Text (.odt)
  • Plain text (.txt)
  • PostScript (.ps)
  • Rich text format (.rtf)
  • WordPerfect® (.wpd)

Alternatively, the following file types are not supported:

  • Apple Pages.
  • Document (.doc) files created using OpenOffice, as they are not 100% Microsoft Word equivalent.
  • InDesign (INDD)
  • Microsoft Word 2007 macros-enabled .docm files.
  • Microsoft® Works (.wps) files.
  • OpenOffice Text (.odt) files created and downloaded from Google Docs online.
  • Spreadsheets created outside of Microsoft Excel (i.e. .ods)
  • Text with visual effects.

Documents that are password protected are also not accepted by Turnitin. Files must have at least 20 words, must be less than 800 pages and must be under 50MB in size. Students can only submit one document as multiple files are not permitted.


What is an originality report?

An original report is a report generated by Turnitin after it has assessed a submitted work. The report is a document showing how similar a submitted work is to pre-existent pieces.

The report is submitted to both teachers and students. The report will contain a similarity index percentage, which is a score for how much of the content matches against other sources. The Australian National University has a detailed guide on how to interpret an original report that is generated by Turnitin.

Turnitin has translation-matching services and is able to detect plagiarised resources from abroad.

Can I update and resubmit my assignment after reviewing my originality report?

This will depend on our university’s submission rules and on how the assignment was created by your tutor. Most universities will allow students to re-submit if they feel they need to, but this will depend on what kind of assignment it is when it has been submitted and what the reasons are.

You can discuss re-submission with your lecturers and tutors. Some universities may even accept mitigating circumstances for re-submissions.

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