User profile fields

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.3. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: User profile fields.


Administrators can create new user profile categories and fields in Settings > Site administration > Users > Accounts > User profile fields.

Certain fields can be "locked" in Settings>Site Administration>Plugins>Authentication>Manual accounts. Users are not allowed to change the locked fields.

Profile fields may be a menu of choices, text area, text input or a checkbox and may be required or not.

New profile fields will appear on each user’s profile page unless "Who is this field visible to?" is set to "Not visible" in which case only the administrator can see the field. The fields can also be displayed on the signup page if "Display on signup page?" is set to "Yes" (although note that they will never be displayed if set to "Not visible").

You can set the order in which your custom profile fields appear under the associated profile category using the up/down arrows on the User profiles fields page.

To create a new profile field, select the profile field format you require from the dropdown list.

Common Settings

All new fields must be given a unique Short Name and a Name (this is displayed on the profile page). You may also choose to enter a Description for the field for your own reference.

There are also a number of configuration options common to all custom profile field types:

Is this field required?
This option specifies whether this is a mandatory or optional field for user accounts.
Is this field locked?
This option determines whether once information is populated in this field, it cannot be edited by the user.
Should the data be unique?
If you need the information populated in your field to be unique across the system (such as an ID number) select Yes to this option and the profile page update will perform a validation check on the data entered.
Display on signup page?
Depending on the authentication method in use on your Moodle site, you may have some users creating their own accounts. If you would like this custom field to appear on the registration or signup page, select Yes.
Who is this field visible to?
Each custom field can be given one of three visibility settings:
  • Visible to everyone
  • Not visible
  • Visible to user
The Not visible setting would typically be set by an administrator who wants to hold private data on the users. The Visible to user setting would normally be selected for a field that holds sensitive information, while the Visible to everyone setting can be used for any type of information.

Specific Settings

There are also a few field type Specific Settings requiring configuration around default value and size.


If the site administrator bulk uploads user data via .csv file, it is essential to use the correct convention to represent the new profile field. The convention is profile_field_shortname

Replace 'shortname' with the actual short name used for the new profile field eg. dob. So the field should read something like profile_field_dob.

Also, you will need to visit Settings > Site Administration > Users > Accounts > User Profile Fields > Create new Profile Field before attempting to upload a file using it. Creating an upload file first with custom profile fields without creating the User Profile Fields first in Site Administration will result in the error profile_field_shortname is not a valid field name.

Uploading Date Field

When upload a custom field that is a Date/Time field, be sure to not include an appostiphe (') or dashes (-). For example, 2004-12-01 should be entered in the .csv upload file as 2004 12 01.

Examples of use

  • House System

Many schools have a 'House' system where students and staff are assigned to a given House. For example, a school has eight houses, named after its founders: Adderton, Coolock, Gorry, Loretto, McAuley, Mercedes, Tighe and Whitty. The site administrator can add a user profile field that offers a 'Menu of choices' to the user. A default value can also be selected. If the administrator decides to bulk upload House data for users via a .csv file, it is important to represent the above array of values as Adderton, Coolock, Gorry, Loretto, McAuley, Mercedes, Tighe and Whitt in the file. That is to state, if a user belongs to Adderton House, the value 'Adderton' should be entered for the 'House' user profile field in the given record.

  • U.S. States

This can be used to improve ambiguous postal addresses by including (for example) the State.

See also