Customize Main Menu (Totara)

This article will cover basic Main Menu configuration and customization.


Configuring the Main Menu

Site administrators can customize 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.

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".
Menu Item Settings

Type Choose whether the menu item will be a Parent (container) for menu items or its own URL (link).
Parent item

Select either Top to create a top level navigation menu item, or another menu item to create a second or third level navigation item.

Item title

This 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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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