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Site administrators can customise the contents of the Main menu bar via the user interface in order to add, edit or remove navigation menu items. The visibility of navigation items can also be restricted to members of an Audience.

(The video above was taken from the Dashboards and basic theming course in Totara Academy). 

Configuring the Main Menu

Go to Site administration > Navigation > Main menu to display the configuration page listing existing navigation menu items and their hierarchies. 

The capability totara/core:editmainmenu controls access to the configuration pages where allowed users can:

  • Select the corresponding edit icon (Edit (cog) icon) to update navigation item settings
  • Re-order page items using the up/down arrows
  • Show/hide page items from the navigation bar (eye icon)
  • Delete custom navigation items

Default menu items use built-in access controls however addition restrictions can be added if required.

Main menu configuration page

Navigation items from disable, uninstalled or missing plugins also appear in the Main menu configuration area under Unused.  Menu items are never deleted automatically.

Creating menu items

Create custom navigation menu items by clicking the Add new menu item button.

When adding custom menu items a URL for the link and an Item title must be specified. The link can be a full URL (starting with http:// or https://), or make a link relative to your organisation's Totara Learn site URL by starting with a forward slash ' / '. For example, "/course/index.php" would point to "[your-totaralearn-url]/course/index.php".
TypeChoose whether the menu item will be a Parent (container) for menu items or it's own URL (link).-
Parent itemSelect either Top to create a top level navigation menu item, or another menu item to create a second or third level navigation item.-
Item titleThis is the string that appears as the navigation item name.If the multi-language filter is enabled, these can be multi-lingual strings.


Controls whether users can see a navigation item. There are three options:
  • Show / Show when accessible
  • Hide
  • Use custom access rules (see custom access below)

Show will display if there are no perquisites to a user accessing the item. Show when accessible will show if an item has permission requirements (see more below).

Selecting Use custom access rules will enable the custom Access tab.

Open link in new windowIf checked, the link will open in a separate window.-

Custom access

To add a custom access rule to a navigation item:

  1. Select Site administration > Navigation > Main menu.
  2. Select the Edit icon (Edit (cog) icon) against the corresponding menu item
  3. Select Use custom access rules under Visibility and Save changes.
  4. Select the Access tab to define the access rule.
  5. Select whether all or any of the Restrict access criteria need to be met to view the navigation item.
  6. Fill in the criteria for the role, audience, and/or preset rule.  
  7. Select Save changes.

An administrator cannot delete the default 'hard coded' menu options but, from a user’s point of view, hiding them has the same effect.

Show when accessible requirements

Show when accessible will show if an item has permission requirements - if selected the item will only show to users with the relevant permissions to access it. The item may still be shown to a user through another method, but would not show in the menu bar unless they have the permissions to access it. 

Users will need to be logged in, and not a guest user, in order to view the menu item. 

The table below shows the requirements for access for each of the permission-controlled menu items. 

Menu itemAccess requirements


User must be logged in, no additional special restrictions


The dashboard feature has to be enabled and there has to be at least one dashboard available for the user.

Record of Learning

User must have permissions to access at least one Record of Learning. 


  • Latest appraisal: User must have an assigned appraisal
  • All appraisals: User must have an assigned appraisal
  • 360 feedback
  • Goals: User must have at least one goal
User must have access to at least of one the performance menu items. 

If you set all of the items to Show when accessible then the user will only see items they have access to. For example if I have access to a 360 feedback instance but cannot access any goals then I will only see the 360 feedback menu item. 


User must have reporting team members.


User must have at least one assigned report.

Find Learning

User must have some learning visible to them.

Find Learning (Legacy catalogues)

  • Courses
  • Programs
  • Certifications

User must be logged in, no additional special restrictions.


User must be logged in, no additional special restrictions

Learning Plans

User must have at least one assigned learning plan.

My Bookings

User must have at least one active seminar booking. 

Preview site policies

User must be logged in, no additional special restrictions

Required Learning

User has to have at least one program or certification.

Resetting the main menu

To revert to the standard Totara Learn Main Menu, site administrators can use the Reset menu to default configuration button.  If any custom menu items have been previously added, a prompt will be displayed to specify whether to permanently delete these items or move them to the Unused section so they are hidden but available in the menu for later reuse or reference.

Reseting main menu confirmation screen

URL placeholders

When defining custom navigation item URLs, you can include the following placeholders:

  • ##userid## - Current user id.
  • ##username## - Current username.
  • ##useremail## - Current user email.
  • ##courseid## - Current course ID.

They will be dynamically substituted for the appropriate value at the time when the page is viewed.

On this page

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Dashboards and basic theming in Totara Learn. Here you can learn more on how to customise your site's appearance, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

Provide feedback about this page using the link in the bottom right of this page. 

Still have questions? Why not post them in the forums of the Totara Community?