Other: Navigation buttons

Maintained by Davo Davo Smith
Add customisable navigation buttons (next/prev/etc.) to the bottom of each activity page (Moodle 1.9/2.0+)
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Navigation buttons (for Moodle 1.9 / 2.0+)
This block adds customisable navigation buttons (first/previous/next/etc.) to the bottom of each activity/resource page in a course.

It is based on an idea from Penny Mondani: http://pennymondani.com
Thanks also to the US company that sponsored the development, who wish to remain anonymous.


  1. Download the file and unzip it somewhere convenient.
  2. On your server, in the 'blocks' folder, create a subfolder called 'navbuttons'
  3. Upload all the files inside the 'davosmith-moodle-navbuttons-???????' folder to this new 'navbuttons' folder on your server.
  4. Log in to your Moodle site as an administrator and click on the 'Notifications' option in the Admin settings block.
  5. You need to make a small change to one Moodle core file to make this work (the change is different between Moodle 1.9 & Moodle 2.0 - see the included README.txt for details).
  6. Add the block to a course (turn editing on, select 'Navigation Buttons' from the 'Blocks - Add' menu)
  7. Customise the button appearance by clicking on 'Edit the Navigation Button settings' in the newly created block.
  8. Check the message at the bottom of the screen (under the 'Save changes' button) - it should read "Navbuttons self-test: required core modifications have been completed successfully". If not, then go back to step 5 above and check carefully.

Note: The block is only visible to users who are able to edit courses modules. Deleting the block will remove the navigation buttons (they can also be disabled through the settings).

For a quick demo, there is a screencast available here:


Screenshot #0


Davo Smith (Lead maintainer)
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  • Davo
    Fri, 10 Nov 2017, 3:37 AM
    Seems to be working fine with Moodle 3.4
  • Picture of Ketan Chandaria
    Fri, 24 Nov 2017, 7:23 AM
    Hi Davo
    Thank you for this great plugin. I was hoping to achieve something different and possibly you could guide me.
    I have created a program (meta course) which is grouped with 4 courses ( using sub-course plugin). Now the navigation buttons appear only within the pages of a particular sub-course and from there the options of going back to the course main page (sub-course) or back to the program (meta course) main page works well. My challenge is how can i show the navigation button on the course (sub-course) main page so the learner has an option to go back to the program (meta course) main page without the need to again go into another page within this course.
  • Davo
    Sat, 25 Nov 2017, 12:04 AM
    Hi Ketan, I've never used the sub-course plugin, so this isn't something i can give you an easy answer to, off the top of my head.

    It sounds like it's probably a situation that would require some changes to the block code, but I can't really give you any clear guidance on that, without first spending some time trying to replicate your situation (which is something I'm unlikely to be able to do in the near future).
  • Picture of Ketan Chandaria
    Mon, 27 Nov 2017, 4:27 PM
    No worries Davo
    If you have any documentation then i can help look into it and let you know if i succeed so you can then add it to the plugin.
  • Davo
    Mon, 27 Nov 2017, 4:30 PM
    Ketan, I'm not quite sure what documentation you are after - there's developer docs over at: https://docs.moodle.org/dev/Main_Page . My plugin code has some comments in it, but I've not got a full range of technical documentation for it.
  • Picture of Sheila Owen
    Fri, 1 Dec 2017, 6:55 PM
    Hi Davo. Great plugin! Is there any way to place the nav buttons at the top of the page, within the navbar section, rather than the footer?
  • Davo
    Fri, 1 Dec 2017, 6:58 PM
    Sheila, I guess you could insert the core hack to output the buttons into a different place in the code to output them to a different place on the page. Probably somewhere in the header() function, but I couldn't tell you exactly where.
  • Picture of Sheila Owen
    Fri, 1 Dec 2017, 7:42 PM
    Cool. Thanks. I'll give that a go.
  • Picture of Sheila Owen
    Fri, 1 Dec 2017, 9:13 PM
    I haven't found where to put the code yet. I tried a few places but it didn't render. It's late here now, so I'll try again tomorrow. In the meantime, if anyone can think of how I can get the buttons in the top navbar area (in course pages only) I'd be happy for your input ...
  • Picture of Inter Jos
    Tue, 5 Dec 2017, 1:04 AM
    Hi Davo, I want to delete the plugin but when I do that (remove the navbutton map or remove it from the plugin page within moodle) i get this error:

    Warning: require_once(/.../moodledir/blocks/navbuttons/footer.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /.../moodledir/lib/outputrenderers.php on line 1283

    Fatal error: require_once(): Failed opening required '/.../moodledir/blocks/navbuttons/footer.php' (include_path='/.../moodledir/lib/pear:.:/usr/local/php70/pear') in /.../moodledir/lib/outputrenderers.php on line 1283

    How can I safely uninstall the navigation buttons?

  • Davo
    Tue, 5 Dec 2017, 1:06 AM
    Jose - just reverse the changes to outputrenderers.php that you made whilst installing the plugin (for reference, the instructions are here: https://github.com/davosmith/moodle-navbuttons/blob/master/README.txt#L35 )
  • Picture of Inter Jos
    Tue, 5 Dec 2017, 1:24 AM
    that's it, I forgot I changed that file. Works now, thanks.
  • Picture of marisol castro
    Thu, 21 Dec 2017, 5:45 AM
    Hi Davo,

    I modified the outputrenders.php file as instructed in the readme file but mine still does not work. I am running Moodle 3.3 with the Adaptable 1.5.3 theme.

    The output says Navbutton self-test: The line "$output = draw_navbuttons().$this->container_end_all(true);" has not been correctly added to outputrenderers.php - see README.txt for further instructions

    This is what I put in the php file:

    public function footer() {
    global $CFG, $DB, $PAGE;

    // Give plugins an opportunity to touch the page before JS is finalized.
    $pluginswithfunction = get_plugins_with_function('before_footer', 'lib.php');
    foreach ($pluginswithfunction as $plugins) {
    foreach ($plugins as $function) {

    require_once ($CFG->dirroot.'/blocks/navbuttons/footer.php');
    $output = draw_navbuttons().$this->container_end_all(true); {
    // Change this line to enable the navigation buttons

    $footer = $this->opencontainers->pop('header/footer');

    Am I missing something? Please help. Thanks!
  • Davo
    Thu, 21 Dec 2017, 3:01 PM
    Please switch to one of the standard themes (boost or clean) and see if it works. If it does, then to get it working with essential, you'll need to find where that theme overrides the 'footer()' function and add the core change there instead.
  • Picture of Jesse F.
    Fri, 23 Mar 2018, 6:21 AM
    Sidenote. If you're using the essential theme, the line of code you need is in: public_html/theme/essential/classes/output/core_renderer.php
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