Admin tools
  • 21 Jun 2022
  • 6 Minutes to read

Admin tools

The following admin tools can be managed by a Site Administrator under Quick-access menu > Plugins > Admin tools > Manage admin tools.

Acceptance testing

This is used to automatically test Totara functions using a Behat tool. Behat is a behaviour-driven development (BDD) tool written in PHP. It can parse a human-readable list of sentences (called steps) and execute actions in a browser using Selenium or other tools to simulate user interactions.


Add-on installer

This lets you install third-party add-ons from zip files or from a Totara site. 

Totara does not provide support for third-party plugins.

Assignment upgrade helper

An administrator tool for upgrading assignments in Totara 2.2 and older to the new assignment module in Totara 2.4 onward.

The tool_assignmentupgrade plugin has been removed as of Totara 13.

Availability condition management

Availability conditions allow trainers to restrict an activity or section so that only certain users can access it. 


Capability overview

A Site Administrator can generate a capability overview report via Quick-access menu > Users > Permissions > Capability report. The report allows the administrator to select a capability and one or more roles. The report will show the role and its permission level for that capability. See more about permissions in the roles documentation.


Check User Timezones

This tool checks the time zones specified in the profiles of your users. In order for time zones to work correctly a location-based time zone should be specified, e.g. America/New_York, Europe/London, Asia/Singapore. Some time zone abbreviations (e.g. CET, EST) and UTC offsets (e.g +/-4.5) will not calculate Daylight Savings changes correctly. This tool will allow you to change unsupported time zones to an approved format.


Convert to InnoDB

This only applies to administrators using Totara with a MySQL database, as it is about migrating the MySQL storage engine


Course upload

A Site Administrator can upload multiple courses via text file in Quick-access menu > Courses > Upload courses. In addition to creating new courses, this functionality may also be used to update or delete courses, or import content from another course. For information on using this functionality to create course templates, see Upload multiple courses.


Database transfer

The database transfer tool enables a Site Administrator to migrate their Totara site from one database to another, for example from MySQL to Postgres. The tool is currently classed as an experimental feature and may be found via Quick-access menu > Development > Experimental > Database migration. There is also a command line script in admin/tool/dbtransfer/cli/migrate.php.


DB search and replace

Admins can search and replace text. For example, URLs in their Totara database using the search and replace tool at http://yourTotara (replacing '' with the address of your Totara site). This is useful when a Totara site is moved from one server to another. 

A database backup is highly recommended before running the search and replace. 

Development data generator

Populates test site with data to help test Totara functions.


Event monitor

Allows Site Administrators and Trainers to receive notification when certain events happen. To do this, a rule needs to be created for the event to be monitored, and then users need to be subscribed to it to be notified.


File types

Allows file types to be defined so they are recognised by Totara.


Health center

This is a tool for detecting miscellaneous problems on your site. It can be accessed by browsing to the URL

The Health center tool is no longer maintained, and may give misleading results.

HR Import

Used to import data from an external system into Totara. User, position, and organisation hierarchies can be imported.


Inbound message configuration

If incoming mail processing is enabled, users are able to reply to forum posts via email and send files to their private files as email attachments. 


Language customisation

Words or phrases (in any language) used on the site may be easily changed by a Site Administrator using the language customisation feature.


Language packs

Language packs are available for a Site Administrator to install on your Totara site via Quick-access menu > Language > Language packs. Simply select the languages you require from the list of available language packs and click on the Install selected language pack button.


Log store manager

When you view a course, complete a quiz, or grade a student a log of that activity is recorded in the log store. 

The log store manager is used to enable, disable and manage the settings of any log store plugins in use on the site. Core Totara includes the following log store plugins: Legacy, Standard, and External database. Other log store plugins can be installed if required.

This feature is controlled via Quick-access menu > Plugins > Logging > Manage log stores.

Multilang upgrade

Used to add multi-language content using HTML tags.


PHPUnit tests

PHPUnit by Sebastian Bergmann is an advanced unit testing framework for PHP. It is installed as Composer dependency and is not part of the Totara installation. To run PHPUnit tests, you have to manually install it on your development computer or test server. Read the PHPUnit Manual documentation.


Profiling runs

PHP has two significant profilers: XDebug and xhprof. XDebug is well known and understood, and its trace output is supported by tools like KCachegrind. Xhprof is a profiler released by Facebook's engineering team, designed for capturing profile traces on live servers.


Question engine upgrade helper

The question engine upgrade helper is an admin tool for sites which have been upgraded from a pre-Totara 2.2 version. Totara 2.2 onward uses a new question engine.

You can reset any quiz that has been converted, and then redo it, but you should only do that if you have a good reason to do so (and you don't have to).

Scheduled task configuration

A Site Administrator can schedule routine tasks very precisely via Quick-access menu > Server > Scheduled tasks. Administrators can specify the minute/hour/day/month or day of the week the task is to be run. It is also possible to reset the task to its default setting or disable it completely.


Spam cleaner

Use the spam cleaner report located under Quick-access menu > Reports > Spam cleaner to locate user accounts responsible for spam and other nasty stuff, and help you delete them. 

In addition to user profile descriptions, comments, blog posts and messages are also searched for keywords.


Template library

The template library is a tool designed to help theme designers and developers build themes as well as easily customisable plugins.


Timezones updater

The Update timezones page provides administrators with the option to update their local database with new information about world time zones. This is important because of daylight saving changes that many countries use. If the update is completed successfully, Totara will inform you how many entries were updated and which location was used as a source. The Timezones updater can be found within the quick-access menu via Location > Update timezones.


Unsupported role assignments

Unsupported role assignments are role assignments in contexts that make no sense for that role, such as the Course Creator role in the course or activity context, or the Trainer role in the user context.


User upload

A Site Administrator can upload multiple user accounts via text file by going to Quick-access menu > Users > Accounts > Upload users. There are many robust options for uploading information (fields associated with a user) with this method; from enrolling users in multiple courses with course-specific roles, to updating user information in the user profile to deleting users from the site. 

Totara Sync can be used to replace user upload, as most user information can be uploaded and audiences can be used to enrol users in courses.

XMLDB editor

The XMLDB editor is a tool for making the .xml files that specify how Totara should set up its database tables. Previously, developers had to make separate .sql install files for mysql and postgres, but now only database-neutral file is needed, which supports many more databases. 

To be able to handle files properly, the web server needs write access to all db directories where the install.xml files reside (and to the files themselves, of course). If you cannot click either the load or create link, that means that you either have not created the /db directory, or that it is not writable by the webserver.

© Copyright 2022 Totara Learning Solutions. All rights reserved. Some content originally obtained via GPLv3 license and continues to be available under GPLv3. All other content is the sole copyright of Totara Learning Solutions. 

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