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 allows 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 templates for an info box, tabset, accordian, lightbox 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. 

How it works

Templates for use with the filter are available at:

Site Administration -> plugins -> filters -> Generico -> templates

A template primarily consists of a "key", a "template," and some "defaults." (It can also load CSS and Javascript. But for now lets keep things simple.)

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. Instead 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 and the template would do the rest. e.g



Generico comes with about 20 template presets. By default they are not set up as templates yet. To create the actual template:

  1. Open an empty template settings page
  2. Select a preset from the dropdown list at the top of the page
    This will fill in the fields on the template settings page.
  3. Press the "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the page.


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 the fields on that template settings page. Be sure to save the template after you have done that.

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

And there is a special category here on the Moodle plugins directory for sharing templates:


It is also possible 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@@


Generico installs like any Moodle plugin. Please see here for more information on that process:

On the final page of the installation you will be able to register templates. its best to skip that step, and just press "save changes." Later you can do this from the Generico template settings pages.

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

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

More Documentation


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Picture of Justin Hunt
Justin Hunt (Lead maintainer)
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  • 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 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.
  • Picture of May Mullin
    Thu, 26 Apr 2018, 6:41 PM
    Nice that you can set up text and code snippet templates for use in Moodle text areas with this plugin. I also use a Wordpress shortcode plugin for articles on Tuxbrain so I am really excited if you can really use it the same.
  • Picture of Mahesh Babu Telakula Sathyan
    Fri, 27 Jul 2018, 7:46 PM
    This is a fantasic plugin. It makes it easy to use templates and the changes get reflected in the content pages. I am try to add the "genrico"icon to the atto editor. The error that I get is The plugin 'generico' cannot be used; it does not appear to be installed. I am on Moodle 3.5 and Atto Text editor plugin is installed.
  • Picture of Justin Hunt
    Mon, 30 Jul 2018, 8:33 AM
    I think that you have not installed the Generico Atto icon plugin. It is separate to the filter. It is here:
  • Picture of Yannick Vrolant
    Fri, 24 Aug 2018, 8:22 PM

    I have installed both the Generico Atto icon plugin and the filter (which I have activated) but the "G" button won't show in the Atto HTML editor : any idea of what might be missing to make it all work ? (am using Moodle 3.4 - Build: 20171113)

    Thanks for helping,

  • Picture of Justin Hunt
    Fri, 24 Aug 2018, 8:31 PM
    Have you added the word "generico" in the Atto toolbar settings? You need to do that manually. Moodle doesn't do it for you. Thats the most likely issue. The other possible issue is that you are using TinyMCE without knowing it. There is no Generico icon for TinyMCE
  • Picture of Yannick Vrolant
    Fri, 24 Aug 2018, 8:35 PM
    Hi Justin,

    Thanks a million for a very quick and efficient answer as I had not added the "generico" word in the Atto toolbar settings !


  • Picture of Yannick Vrolant
    Tue, 28 Aug 2018, 4:46 PM

    I'd like to make use of the Youtube Lightbox template in order to embed a video that is hosted on a Chinese platform (some Youtube equivalent). Here is the link to the original video :

    And here is my own unsuccessful attempt at trying to modify the code for the template body, (am adding a few spaces in there for the code to be displayed as text in my comment) :
    < a href="#" data-featherlight="#@@AUTOID@@" >< div class="filter_generico_ytl" >< img src="" width="@@width@@" height="@@height@@" / >< / div >< / a >< div style="display: none;" >< div id="@@AUTOID@@" >< iframe width="@@videowidth@@" height="@@videoheight@@" src="" allowfullscreen >< / iframe >< / div >
    Any idea on how to make this work ?
    Thanks a million for helping !


  • Picture of Yannick Vrolant
    Tue, 28 Aug 2018, 4:48 PM
    (following my previous post) : if this may help, here are the embed code and iframe widget code available from the platform (am adding a few spaces for displaying the code as plain text) :

    < embed src="" allowFullScreen="true" quality="high" width="480" height="400" align="middle" allowScriptAccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" >< / embed >
    IFRAME =
    < iframe frameborder="0" width="640" height="498" src="" allowfullscreen >< / iframe >
  • Picture of Justin Hunt
    Thu, 30 Aug 2018, 8:20 AM
    Hi Yannick. Lets have this conversation in the Generico forum. I have posted a solution to using videos with Generico there. ..
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