Looking for up-to-date Help documentation? Documentation for the latest releases of Totara is now available at totara.help!

Visit the new Help site

All pages

The user preferences give access to settings/rules specific to a user.  They can be accessed from the User menu or via a link in the user's Profile page in the Administration block. The user menu can be accessed from the top navigation bar by clicking your name in the top right corner. 

Accessing user preferences via the user menu.

Site Administrators can also access the preferences of another user via a link in that user's Profile page.

The sections and information displayed are based on the user's permissions in the system and also whether functionality has been enabled at site level. 

User account

Links here allow users to edit their profile information and change their password, set their preferred language (if allowed) specify how they wish to receive forum messages and other notifications, choose a text editor (if allowed).

  • Edit profile: A user can edit their account and profile information including update their Password and upload a user picture from this link. Please see User accounts for more information.

    A Site Administrator may Lock certain profile fields to prevent them from being edited by a learner. This is usually employed where user accounts are created via another system such as an internal HR Management tool.  Please see Authentication for more information.
  • Change password: Where allowed, a user can also reset their password from the Change password link. All passwords must adhere to the password policy as set within the Administration block via Site administration > Security > Site policies.

  • Preferred language: Note that specifying a preferred language here will only affect the Totara Learn navigation and contextual help and not any course content.

  • Forum preferences: Withing forum preferences you can configure the following settings.
  • Editor preferences: If an HTML editor such as Atto or TinyMCE is selected, text input areas will have a toolbar with buttons for easily adding content. If Plain text area is selected, a format for text input areas such as HTML or Markdown can be chosen. The list of available text editors is determined by the Site Administrator.

  • Messaging: Messaging preferences allows a user to choose how to receive each of the various notifications they will receive from the LMS when both logged in or offline.

    The options displayed horizontally (such as task block, alert block, pop-up notification, email) are set by a Site Administrator via Message outputs.

  • Jabber message: If a Jabber server has been setup then Jabber can be used for messaging and a range of display and editing options. Please see Messaging and Message outputs for more information. 
    • Email format: A user can also specify the format for email messages, whether to prevent non-contacts from sending them instant messages and optionally temporarily disable notifications except those that are forced by the Site Administrator.
  • Security keys: It is possible to get a security key for use with external services, such as secure RSS feeds. The Security keys link will not always appear in the user preferences menu. It will only appear here if the Site Administrator has gone to Site administration > Advanced features and ensured the Enable RSS feeds option is ticked. Once this is enabled users can then access the security key link in the user preferences to generate and reset a security key. Site Administrators can also generate security keys for users, please see the Manage tokens section of the Web services help page


Here the user can manage and download their badges, set privacy levels and connect to their backpack. Within the badges section you will find links to:

  • Manage badges: All badges earned within the Totara Learn site by completing courses, course activities and other requirements can be managed within this area including whether the badges are displayed to all users or are private within the user's profile page
  • Badge preferences: Allows a user to specify the default visibility of the newly earned badges
  • Backpack settings: Allows the user to set up connection to an external backpack provider

See the Open Badges Help page for more information on using and managing badges, as well as connecting to external providers.


The user's roles and permissions may be viewed and updated here by a Site Administrator and roles assigned within the individual's account (user context). Within the roles section you will find links to:

  • This user's role assignments: Displays the user's permissions at the various contexts where applied (system, front page, program, category, course, activity/resource, block, and/or user)
  • Assign roles relative to this user: Assign a role at this user's context from the list available
  • Permissions: Show which capabilities the various user roles available within the site, have at this user's context
  • Check permissions: Check the capabilities specific users hold within this user's context

Please see the Roles and Glossary of terms Help pages for more information on roles, contexts, permissions, and capabilities. 


Where portfolios have been enabled and configured, their visibility can be set here on an individual basis.


Blog preferences may be set here and external blogs registered. Within the blog section you will find links to:

  • Blog preferences: A user may specify the number of blog entries which will be displayed per page
  • External blogs: A user may register an external blog so that it displays within this area
  • Register an external blog: When registering an external blog you may set the following 

See the Blogs Help page for more guidance on using and configuring external (and internal) blogs. 


What displays here depends on the permissions and roles of the user and the functionality enabled within the site. For example, if Event monitoring is enabled on the site, a link will be available in this section.

On this page

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?