Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 3.7. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle may be available here: Private files.

Private files

From MoodleDocs

The private files area

Each user has a private files area for uploading and managing a set of files. If enabled by the administrator, users can also email files to their private files area.

Overview of Private files

The private files area can be accessed from the Navigation drawer in the Boost theme or the My private files block. If the private files repository is enabled by a site admin, it is available as a source within the filepicker when selecting files to use in a course.

Private files management

To add a file to your private files area

  1. If you are using the Boost theme navigate to the Private files link. Alternatively, navigate to your dashboard and to the Private files block.
  2. Click the link 'Manage private files'
  3. The file manager will appear.
  4. If desired, create a folder for your file(s)
  5. Click on the Add button to upload from the File picker or drag and drop from your desktop. It will look like the files are already there, but they aren't until you do the next step!
  6. Click the 'Save changes' button


  • Once uploaded, files will appear as thumbnails. Clicking the icons top right will display them in table or list view as an alternative.


Emailing private files as an attachment

  • This requires the administrator to have enabled incoming mail processing in Site administration>Server>Incoming mail configuration>Mail settings and Email to private files in Site administration>Server>Incoming mail configuration>Message handlers.
  • When these settings are enabled, users will see an email address in their private files screen:
  • This is the email address to which the email including the attached file should be sent. It will appear after cron in the user's private files after cron has run.
  • For a demonstration of emailing to private files, watch the Usability screencast from Moodle HQ, starting at 1m8s.

Making an alias/shortcut to a file in the private files area

If a file is uploaded into your private files area, it is possible when using it elsewhere on Moodle to select it as an alias/shortcut. This means that if you update the file in your private files area, it will automatically update elsewhere on Moodle.


See Working with files for more information.

Private files size limit

The size limit for each user's private files area is set by a site administrator in User quota in Administration > Site administration > Security > Site security settings.

Checking space used by Private files

Private files storage

Non-admin users such as students and teachers see a message informing them how much space they have used when they upload a file to their Private files


See the discussion: How do you check space used by Private files? to see how, as an admin you can see private files usage on your site.

Preventing access to Private files

  • To prevent all users having access to Private files, the administrator should disable the repository in Administration>Site administration>Plugins>Repositories>Manage repositories. and in Administration>Site administration>Users>Permissions>Define Roles edit the authenticated user role and set the capabilities 'moodle/user:manageownfiles' and 'repository/user:view' to prohibit.
  • If only students are to be prevented from accessing private files (but teachers etc, allowed) then a new role should be made and assigned system wide. See FAQ 6 in Repositories FAQ for more information.

Private files capabilities