Cal State Training Resources

How to Create Custom Notification Templates

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This article covers how to create custom notification templates that can then be attached to learning activities.


  • Custom Notification templates should be created with HTML.
  • Notifications can be attached to learning activities.
  • Customizing notifications allows more targeted language and the use of campus branding.
  • It is recommended to use a program like Adobe Dreamweaver or other HMTL software to create the notification template and paste the code into CSU Learn.
  • Best practice is to utilize the sample HTML coding / language (link) as a starting point.

If you are interested in learning more about notification templates and macros, please review the SumTotal Notification User Guide.

How to Create Notification Templates

Step 1: Go to Administration > Quick Links > System Notification Templates.

Green step one is to click on Administration. Green step two is to click on Quick Links. Green step three is to click on System Notification Templates.

Step 2: Click on NEW under the search field.

Green highlight box showing the location of the New icon.

Step 3: Fill in the following required fields: 

  1. Name: Type in your notification name.
  2. Template Type: Click on Browse to find the template type. All templates contain workflow logic so be sure to select a template type that matches the purpose of your custom notification. Or to make it easier, select the template type that aligns with the notifications you will be sending out.
  3. Primary Domain: Leave it as your campus domain.
  4. Language: Leave English (United States).
  5. Subject: It is optional to add marcos in the subject line.
  6. Body: *HTML Required

Best practice is to utilize the sample HTML coding / language as a starting point for creating notification templates.

Green step one is the Name field. Green step two is the Template Type field. Green step three is the Primary Domain field. Green step four is the Language field. Green step five is the Subject field. Green step six is the Body field.

Step 4: Once you select a template type, the Valid Placeholders field will populate with macros that are available for this template (each macro is enclosed within a percentage sign %).

If you don’t see the macro you want, then it’s not available for this template. Do not try to manually add the macro as it will leave the information blank.

Green highlight box showing the location of the valid placeholders field.

Step 5: Copy/paste relevant macros into the subject and body of your notification (be sure to include the % on either side of the data value).

Subject and Body fields have text and marcos examples.

Step 6: You can also add HTML to format your text. Preview changes by clicking the book icons to the right of the Body field.

Green highlight box showing the location of the books icon.

Step 7: When you are done, click on the OK button

Green highlight box showing the location of the Ok button.

This concludes how to create a notification.

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