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Filters allow you to determine how specific text on your site can automatically be managed and transformed to make it more useful for your learners. These might be options around specific content or treatments to text added to the site.

A Site Administrator can enable filters across the site via the Administration block within Plugins > Filters > Manage filters.

Manage filters

To manage filters you can go to Plugins > Filters > Manage filters from the Administration block. 

Here you will find a page that lists all of the available filters on the site and gives the opportunity to perform a range of actions including:

  • Enabling/disabling filter using the Active? column
  • Rearranging filters using the arrows in the Order column
  • Setting an application destination for the filter with the Apply to column
  • Configuring the filter with the Settings column
  • Removing the filter from the site with the Uninstall column

Manage filters

Enabling a filter

You can enable or disable any available filter from the Manage filters page (Plugins > Filters > Manage filters) using the Active?  column. In this column each filter has a dropdown menu with three options:

  • On: The filter is turned on across the site
  • Off, but available: The filter is not enabled across the site but can be enabled within a course or activity by a Site Administrator or Editing Trainer
  • Disabled: The filter is turned off across the site

Applying filters

Alongside each filter there is a dropdown menu in the Apply to column that has two options:

  • Content: Will apply the filter to content within a page only (activities, resources, descriptions etc.)
  • Content and headings: Will apply the filter to all content and headings

Filter settings

When a filter is enabled it may have additional settings, these can be managed by clicking on the Settings link alongside the filter on the Manage filters page or by clicking on the filter name in the Administration block. 

Common filter settings

There are some common filter settings that apply to all filters and can be configured via Plugins > Filters > Manage filters > Common filter settings.

Filter uploaded files

Decide whether to apply enabled filters to uploaded files. You can choose from:

  • None
  • All files 
  • HTML only
The option All files refers to all text and HTML files only, it will not apply to SCORM files for example. 
Filter match once per page

Within a page any enabled automatic linking filters will only generate a single link for the first matching text instance found on the complete page. All others are ignored.

Filter match once per text

Automatic linking filters will only generate a single link for the first matching text instance found in each item of text (e.g., resource, block) on the page. All others are ignored. 

This setting is ignored if the Filter match once per page setting is enabled. 

Available filters

There are a number of filters available in Totara Learn as standard. These include:


MathJax is a JavaScript display engine that takes text input in LaTeX, MathML, or AsciiMath notations and displays the equation using a layout and symbols more commonly understood by learners. The Mathjax filter also improves the look of buttons and preview within the equation editor that is part of the Atto text editor.

You can also see more on TeX notation.
Activity names auto-linkingThis filter scans text for activity titles that exist in the same course and creates a link.   To use this filter effectively you should use descriptive activity names. For example; an activity name of 'Test' would cause the word 'Test' to be linked to the activity every time it appears on the course page.
Multimedia pluginsThis filter associates multimedia files uploaded with the correct media players.See also Media embedding.
Word censorshipThis filter blacks out words that are included in the list in the Word censorship settings.-
Algebra notationThis filter converts algebra equations entered in TeX notation into GIF images. It requires the TeX notation filter to be enabled.-
Database auto-linking
This filter will create links to a database entry where the name/title (word or phrase) of the database entry is used within the same course in which the database is located. Links will be added to forum postings, pages, labels, etc.

If entries are required before viewing, the database auto-linking filter should be disabled. This is because the database auto-linking filter can't determine whether a user has submitted the required number of entries.
Email protectionThis filter scans all text on the page for email addresses that the user may have entered (it's in case a learner adds an email to a forum post or a teacher adds one to a course bio, etc.) so that outside search engines and guests can’t see user's email addresses. This protects your users from spammers and other attackers. While the email protection filter scrambles emails for other parts of the Totara Learn system, it will be ignored when displaying emails in reports. -
Display emoticons as images

This filter converts emoticon characters into images. 

For exampleis displayed as 

Glossary auto-linkingThis filter scans text for glossary entry titles and works in the same way as the Activity Names Auto-linking filter. In addition to this filter, individual glossary entries should have the This entry should be automatically linked box checked.-
Multi-Language Content

This filter enables resources to be created in multiple languages. When turned on, it looks for <span lang="xx" class="multilang"> tags, which indicates that the resource contains multiple languages. Then it selects and outputs the best language for the current user based on the language selected on their profile.

If your site uses a child language pack then the first span tag must be the parent language. For example, if your site uses en_us then the en span tag (as parent language) must be first i.e.

<span lang="en" class="multilang">your_content_in English</span>
<span lang="de" class="multilang">your_content_in_German_here</span>

If the course setting for Force language is set to a particular language this filter won't be able to change the displayed language.

Only spaces, tabs and enters can be used between the individual languages in the multilang block. 

Please review the HTML in source view.

If you are adding multi language content to Custom Main menu select Headings and Content in the multi language filter settings.

To add multilang tags yourself you will need to view the source code in the HTML editor, and add the tags there.

The multilang filter does not work with the course short name. The course's short name is a unique course identifier, so multilang filter can't be used.

TeX notationAllows you to represent mathematical symbols in Totara Learn.You can also see more on TeX notation.
HTML TidyThis filter checks whether HTML code is XHTML-compliant, tidying where necessary.-
Convert URLs into links and imagesThis filter will convert valid web addresses into hyperlinks or an associated image.-
On this page

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Plugins and Advanced Features in Totara Learn. Here you can learn more on how to use plugins and advanced features, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

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