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Site Administrators and other users with the appropriate permissions can create custom reports and provide access to other users to view and export the report.

Access to reports is assigned based on a user's Role within the system. You can access reports through the dedicated Reports area via the Top navigation, or you can manage reports by selecting Reports from the quick-access menu.

The Reports dashboard will only appear in the top navigation menu if the user has been assigned a role that has been permitted access to a report. 

Within the Reports dashboard, click on a report's thumbnail or title to open and view it.

Site Administrators have access to all shared reports.

The reports dashboard.

Sorting report results

The report data will appear in columns in the order set by the creator of the report, however columns can be sorted and hidden as required when viewing.

Sorting report results in ascending order.

Column order within a report.

Clicking a highlighted column heading will re-sort the available data based on that column. An arrow will appear next to the column heading to indicate whether the data is sorted in ascending (A-Z for alphabetical data and 1-9 for numerical data) or descending order (Z-A for alphabetical data and 9-1 for numerical data).

Sorting results in descending order.

A report viewer can choose to hide and unhide columns from their own display. Select the Show/Hide Columns button and use the checkboxes to hide or show the corresponding data columns then click the OK button.

Selecting columns to show and hide.


Where the maximum number of records to display per page has been reached, a report will become paginated. At the bottom of the page, use page numbers or the (Next) and (Previous) links to navigate through the data.

Searching report results

When creating a custom report, the report manager can add search options to help viewers find specific results and refine the information displayed.

Search options will appear at the top of the report view page. Use the fields and filters to help search the report for specific data, such as a particular learner or date range. Click Show more... to show all available search fields.

There are different types of search options available, based on the data field and the selected report source.

Search options often have a dropdown menu where different options for data filtering can be selected. Note that search fields are divided into two categories; Required search and Search by. The Required search fields are those that have been specified as mandatory by the report's creator, while the fields under the Search by heading can optionally be used to further narrow down the report results.

Required search fields and optional (Search by) search fields.

After entering any search criteria, click the Search button. Results of the report will appear at the bottom of the page.

If the report will not run it may be because a required filter hasn't been applied. When editing a report specific search fields can be marked as Filtering required, meaning you need to select an option for that field before you can run and view the report.

If an option hasn't been selected for a required field a warning message will be displayed:

A warning message saying that a required filter needs to be applied.

Text search

A text search allows searching for information based on free form text. The search has the following options:

  • Contains: Search for records that contain the text entered (if no text is entered, then the filter is disabled)
  • Doesn't contain: Search for records that do not contain the text entered
  • Is equal to: Search for records that are equal to the text
  • Starts with: Search for records that start with the text entered
  • Ends with: Search for records that end with the text entered
  • Is empty: Search for records that are equal to an empty string
  • Is not empty: Search for all records without an empty string

Selected search

A select filter refines information based on a dropdown list of options. The values in the dropdown will vary - depending on the search field. Filters might include:

  • Is any value: This option disables the filter (i.e. all information is accepted by this filter)

  • Is equal to: This option allows only information that is equal to the value selected from the list
  • Is not equal to: This option allows only information that is different from the value selected from the list
  • Any of the selected: This option will return results in any of the selected values
  • None of the selected: This option will not return results on any of the selected values
  • All of the selected: This option will return results on all of the selected values
  • Not all of the selected: This option will not return results on all of the selected values

Selecting dropdowns in reports.

Date search

A date search refines the records by date or date range. A search for records from before and/or after selected dates, and a search for records that are a certain number of days before and/or after the date of the report generation, can be entered.

To apply a date filter, use the checkbox to enable the corresponding field and enter a day, month and year, or use the calendar icon to open a calendar view to select the required date.

Date search settings.

Use the Include record when date is missing option to ensure records are not missed (where they match the search but are missing the relevant data). 

The timezone of the user viewing the report can affect the records displayed with certain date filters applied e.g. Course Start Date.

For example, if User A in New Zealand creates (or edits) a course and sets the start date to 19th January, User B in an earlier timezone e.g. California may not see the course if the report filter is set to 'Start date is after 18th January'. This is because User B is in a timezone that could still be in the previous day.

Filtering report results

When creating a custom report, the report manager can also add filters to help viewers refine the information displayed. Filters will appear at the side of the report view page.

There are a number of different filters available for each report, depending on the report source selected.

Filters have one or a series of dropdown menus where different options for data filtering can be entered.

After entering any search filters the report will automatically update the report results.

Click Show more... to show all available sidebar filters.

Report filters.

Saved searches

When viewing a report and using the search feature you can save searches to quickly return to them at a later date. A saved search allows report viewers to replicate a search and/or filters as required, or to share a search and/or filters with other report viewers. For example, in the Courses report you could save a search to only display courses from a specific Course category.

Saved searches can also be used when setting up scheduled reports.

Saving a search.

Follow these steps to save a search:

  1. Enter the search terms and filters you want to use.
  2. Click Save this search.
  3. Enter a Search name so you can identify and use the search parameters later.
  4. Select Private or Shared for the Availability setting. If you select Shared then other users will be able to use the saved search. Only you will be able to delete or edit it.
  5. If you are the report creator you can tick the Default view checkbox. If you do enable this setting then the saved search will be the default view for any other users viewing the report. This is useful if you want the search results to be pre-filtered, particularly for reports with a large number of results. Other users are able to remove the default setting (for themselves only), override with a default view of their choice or enter their own search terms.
  6. Once you have configured the settings, click Save changes.

Creating a saved search for a report.

Once you (or other users) have created at least one shared saved search then the Saved searches section will be available at the top of the report. From here users can select different searches using the View a saved search dropdown list. As the report creator you can also select which saved search will be used as the default by choosing the search from the dropdown and clicking Set as your default view.

The Saved searches section of a report.

Use the Manage your saved searches page to edit or delete a saved search. Here you can see a list of saved searches visible to you (you will not be able to see other users' Private saved searches).

In the Options column you can either edit () or remove () the saved search.

Any user with the totara/reportbuilder:managereports capability (by default this is Site Administrators and Site Managers) can view and manage all shared saved searches.

Exporting reports

A report can also be exported into a variety of file formats. As a Site Administrator you can specify which export formats are available by navigating to Quick-access menu > Reports > General settings, then check the options you want to enable for the Export formats setting. Select the required format via the Export as dropdown menu and click the Export button to generate the file.

Columns hidden using the Show/Hide Columns option will also be included in the report export.

Exporting a report.

Viewing email addresses

It is possible to view email addresses in the report builder, although the value Email is private may be displayed when viewing the User's Email column in a report.

If problems with the visibility of the user email field are encountered, check the following few settings and capabilities.

To grant visibility to email addresses ensure that visibility is enabled:

  1. From the quick-access menu go to Users > Permissions > User policies.
  2. For the setting Show user identity ensure that Email address is checked (this is normally enabled by default).
  3. Click the Save changes button. 

The site:viewuseridentity capability will also need to be enabled (set to Allow) for the relevant role. By default this is enabled for the Trainer, Editing Trainer and Manager (not Staff Manager) roles, however this is a course context capability, so the user's role must be assigned in the system context to grant visibility in Report Builder.

It is also important to note that the column User's Email (ignoring user display setting) should be added to the report. The Email column respects email visibility regardless of permissions, which could lead to the warning that Email is private, even when viewing as a Site Administrator.

Alternatively an administrator can set the capability site:viewuseridentity to Allow for the Authenticated User role and then restrict the report to the Trainer role in any context. This would provide access to the Trainer to view the user's email address in the report.  Note that this change would expose user email addresses to enrolled users in the course context so a role override at the course or category context would be required.

Performance management related data

Site managers can not access report columns relating to a user's performance by default.

This include the following columns: 

Appraisal Answers: Learner's Answers, Learner's Rating Answers, Learner's Score, Manager's Answers, Manager's Rating Answers, Manager's Score, Manager's Manager Answers, Manager's Manager Rating Answers, Manager's Manager Score, Appraiser's Answers, Appraiser's Rating Answers, Appraiser's Score, All Roles' Answers, All Roles' Rating Answers, All Roles' Score.

Goals: Goal Name, Goal Description

To give site managers access to this data the role must be updated with the following capabilities:

  • totara/appraisal:viewallappraisals
  • totara/hierarchy:viewallgoals

For more information on assigning roles and permissions please see Roles.

Totara Academy

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Reports in Totara. Here you can learn more on how to use reports, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

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