Filters: Generico Filter

Maintained by Picture of Justin Hunt Justin Hunt
Generico is a simple filter for creating templates of code snippets and text that can be inserted into Moodle text areas.
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Moodle 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 3.0, 3.1

Generico is a simple templating filter, that allows you to set up text and code snippet templates for use in Moodle text areas. It will allow an unlimited number of templates to be registered. When Moodle encounters a Generico filter string it will use the data in the filter string to fill out the template, and insert it into the page. See it in action on the Generico course on the PoodLL demo site.

It is useful for ad-hoc template purposes where writing a new plugin would be overkill, or just for re-using common pieces of text. It can be used to centralise and manage the embedding of iframe content from video hosting services, and educational app providers.

In the latest version there are approx. 20 presets from which you can make templates. They include info box, tabset, accordian, lightbox, screenr and image gallery. And there is a companion Atto editor plugin for Generico. The combination of these two features make it possible to use Generico like the Wordpress shortcode plugins.

This 8 minute video walks through the basic Generico Filter and should give you a good idea of what it is, and how it works. 


You can define templates for use with the filter at:

Site Administration -> plugins -> filters -> Generico

A template consists of a "key", a "template," and some "defaults." 

The key is just a one word name, that tells Generico which template to use. 

The template is just passage of text that you want to use, and the parts of the template that you want to mark as variables you surround in @@ marks.

The defaults are a comma delimited list of variablename=value pairs. It is possible to specify multiple values for a single variable in the defaults. The Generico Atto editor plugin will display these values in a drop down list. eg size="100|120|140".  The first of the values will be the true "default."

Here is an example template.

templatekey: wildthings

template: Inside this box are @@thing1@@ and @@thing2@@

template defaults: thing2=Silly

A possible filter string for this "wildthings" template would look like this:


Generico would replace the above filter string with:

"Inside this box are Sally and Silly"

The filter string must follow this format,


The wildthings example above is trivial of course. Imagine using it to embed YouTube videos by registering the standard iframe code YouTube gives you, as a template. Then it would only be necessary to insert the id of the video in a generico filter string.



So that people can share the templates they have made, there is a system to share them called "bundles." On each template settings page there is a green bundle box.

If you click on the box, it will automatically download the "bundle" as a text file. If you then drag that bundle (or somebody else's bundle) onto the green bundle box of another template, it will fill up the template. Be sure to save the template after you have done that though.

There are a number of bundles that people have shared over in the this forum thread.


It is also possible now to add user profile variables to your templates. Just make the first part of the variable name USER: and the next part the name of the user profile field. It also works with custom profile fields. There are two "special" user profile fields, picurl and pic that respectively output the url of the user's profile pic, and their picture itself.


User's first name: @@USER:firstname@@

User's ice cream preference (custom profile field): @@USER:icecreampref@@
Users profile pic url: @@USER:picurl@@

User's profile pic:  @@USER:pic@@


If you are uploading Generico, first expand the zip file and upload the generico folder into:

[PATH TO MOODLE]/filters.

Then visit your Moodle server's notifications page.

Site Administration -> Notifications

Moodle will guide you through the installation. On the final page of the installation you will be able to register templates. You can choose to skip that and do it later from the Generico settings page if you wish.

After installing you will need to enable the Generico filter. You can enable the Generico filter when you visit:

Site Administration -> plugins -> filters -> manage filters


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Picture of Justin Hunt
Justin Hunt (Lead maintainer)
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  • Picture of Justin Hunt
    Tue, 24 Jan 2017, 10:59 PM
    Oh, thats too bad! A lot has changed in Moodle 2.9. Because Moodle started to use AMD in Javascript. It would be possible to add the Dataset variables features to the old version of Generico. But I do not have time to make those changes. From Moodle 2.9 you can use the latest version of Generico. I hope that upgrading is an option for you.
  • Picture of Carlos Chiarella
    Fri, 17 Feb 2017, 1:50 AM
    We need some help here. We upgraded the version of the plugin from 1.3.0 to 1.3.8. The plugin is now stripping out the html tags when it renders the code.

    in html view:


    Vivaldi! Il prete rosso, or “the red priest” in Italian. This was
    Antonio Vivaldi’s nickname because of his red hair and because he had
    trained to become . . . a priest! At the age of 26, he was forced to
    abandon priestly duties because of ill health.

    Perhaps leaving the priesthood allowed him to focus all of his energy on
    music. He continued to expand his reputation as an accomplished violinist,
    conductor, and a highly prolific composer.

    So virtuosic was his violin playing that a German architect who heard him
    play in 1713 stated that “it is hardly possible that anyone has ever played
    or ever will play in such a fashion.”

    "} {GENERICO:type="narration_end"}

    When the page is in view mode, the

    tags are removed. We are using Moodle 3.0.7.
    It worked before when we were using Generico 1.3.0 and Moodle version 3.0.5. Any ideas of what might be happening?

  • Picture of Carlos Chiarella
    Fri, 17 Feb 2017, 1:52 AM
    The p tags are being removed.
  • Picture of Anderson Hsu
    Mon, 1 May 2017, 10:07 AM
    Dear all,
    How can we add database connection and sql by using Generico Filter plugin as shown as the link
    Thanks a lot.
  • Picture of Georg Wiesinger
    Wed, 26 Jul 2017, 6:31 AM
    Hi, congrats for this wonderful plugin! I tried to insert a lightbox (configured from your presets) on Moodle 3.3.1 but it didn't work, nothing happens, page only scrolls to top! Any idea what I'm might doing wrong?!

    Kind regards,
  • Picture of Marvin The Martian
    Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 8:05 AM
    Hi Justin! I'm trying to use Gernerico in Quickmail block. There is no "G" in the text editor and I have used the 'welcomesuser' template and modified it to 'dearusersfirstname'. My code snippit was placed in the body of the letter as '{GENERICO:type=dearusersfirstname},' (no quotes of course), and it didn't customize the output. should i have used HTML mode?? Hmm...
  • Picture of Justin Hunt
    Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 7:04 PM
    Hi Marvin, Is the Generico filter enabled at site admin -> plugins -> filters -> manage filters ? And have you installed the Generico plugin for the Atto editor and added "generico" in the Atto toolbar settings? You need to do both of these things.
  • Picture of Marvin The Martian
    Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 10:18 PM
    Thanks for the quick response, Justin! I have activated the Generico filter in the manage filters section before all this. I have just installed the Generico Atto editor icon and it now shows up in the Atto editor. Thank you! However, this Generico filter doesn't seem to work in Quickmail. It only displays: {GENERICO:type="dearusersfirstname"}. Should there be quotes in the Generico tag??
  • Picture of Justin Hunt
    Sat, 2 Sep 2017, 5:31 AM
    What happens if you put {GENERICO:type="dearusersfirstname"} into a forum post? My guess is that it will work, though Quickmail will not.
    Probably Quickmail doesn't pass the text through the filter system.

    Not sure if this is what you are trying to do, but trying to use Generico tags in email text really is problematic. If the text is filtered before it is sent. the user specific information won't be correct. Generico will use information of the logged in user. You might be able to get around that because Generico can perform custom database queries. But the next hurdle is to get Quickmail to send the post processed text. My guess is that you would need to customize Quickmail to pass the email text through the Moodle filter system, and then use that post processed text (not the original) when sending.
  • Picture of Marvin The Martian
    Sat, 2 Sep 2017, 7:18 AM
    Thanks again for the quick reply Justin. I was hoping for a "Well it worked for me" response. lol. I will think of another way. I will still have uses for Generico though. Thanks for the great plugin!
  • Picture of Alexander Lebeth
    Tue, 10 Oct 2017, 7:36 PM
    Hello, I would like to define a variable like variable=a|b|c but as a fourth option, it shgould be possible to enter manually a custom value. How is this possible? Or is there a workaround to achieve a similar functionality?
  • Picture of Justin Hunt
    Wed, 11 Oct 2017, 6:26 AM
    In the atto editor, you will just see a drop down list, and Generico provides no inbuilt way to present the 4th option as a text field. But in the actual filter string that is inserted on the page, of course its possible to just type in any value. You might say that in the instructions. Or if you wanted you could add the "other" field as a separate variable, and also have "other" as the 4th option. Then in the template you would check for the selection of the 4th option other, and if it was selected use the value of the other field. This is probably only going to be easy if you are using these variables in javascript. In plain html templates, it would be a bit of a head spin.
  • Picture of Alexander Lebeth
    Wed, 11 Oct 2017, 4:16 PM
    Thank you Justin, this is a good workaround.
  • Picture of Alex Thaimor
    Thu, 30 Nov 2017, 5:15 PM
    I am new to this site.I am very glad to see your post.Thank you for your information.
  • Picture of MAurice Kokonya
    Thu, 30 Nov 2017, 11:31 PM
    Hi Justin,
    I have updated my moodle instance to 3.4, I was previously using Generico, are there plans to have Generico for moodle 3.4. Thanks.
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