Course Certificates

A Certificate is a document earned by a Learner for completing a Course. Certificates display details about the completed Course and are available for viewing and download from the User Transcript

Certificates are configured at the Course level under the Completion section. From here, you can import a customized Certificate, update the Certificate to use a Custom Title, set an Expiry, and opt to allow Learners to upload Certificates earned outside the system.

This article provides instructions on configuring a Course Certificate, creating and uploading a custom Certificate to a Course, and other helpful tips.

Course Type Advisory

A Course Certificate may only be configured for Online Courses, Instructor Led Courses and Curricula. This option will not appear when editing a Course Bundle.


Enabling a Course Certificate

By default, a Course will not award a Certificate upon completion. If you want your Learners to receive a Certificate following the completion of their Enrollment, you must enable this option for the Course. The following method showcases how to enable a Course Certificate.

  1. Access the Admin Experience.
  2. Access the Courses report from the left hand side menu.
  3. Either create a new, or edit an existing Course.
  4. Navigate to the Completion section of the Add/Edit a Course page.
  5. Click the Certificate toggle to turn it ON.
    • With the Certificate toggled to ON, a series of settings will become available.


Certificate Settings

Once the Certificate toggle has been turned ON, a series of settings become available. This section contains information as it relates to each of the settings.


Certificate is a toggle that when clicked switches between OFF and ON.

OFF: A Certificate will not be awarded to a Learner upon completion of this Course.

ON: A Certificate will be awarded to a Learner upon completion of this Course.

Certificate Source

Certificate Source is where the actual template of the Certificate is decided.

This setting includes two select-able configurations:

File: Click the Choose File button to open the File Manager and select or upload a .PDF file. The uploaded file will be used as the template for the Course Certificate.

URL: Enter a valid HTTPS URL that points directly to an available .PDF resource online. If the URL points to a resource that requires additional permissions to access, the Certificate will not be able to use the resource.

Use Custom Title

Use Custom Title is a toggle that when clicked switches between OFF and ON.

OFF: The Title of the Course Certificate will be the Course Name.

ON: Below Use Custom Title will appear the Title field. The value entered in the Title field will be used as the Custom Title for this Certificate. This will replace the title a Learner sees on their Transcript and the Course Name value on the Certificate if it has been added.


Notes is a field where you can enter information specific to the Certificate.

The information entered here is only visible from the Admin Experience either by editing the Course or using the Certificates report.


Expiry allows for you to determine if the Certificate expires at a certain point in time after it has been awarded. Such as in the case of an accreditation awarded for a year only.

Expiry includes three selectable configurations:

No Expiry: This certificate, once awarded, does not expire.

Time from completion: Counting from when the Learner completes this Course. Time from completions allows you to set a number of years, months and days before the Certificate will expire.

Date: Date allows you to set the exact point in the future that this Certificate will expire. Click the calendar button to open a date selector. Once a date is selected, click the clock button to determine the exact time of date.

Certificate Upload

Certificate Upload is a section where you can allow Learners to upload and submit Certificates they have earned outside of your Portal. Click the Add Certificate Upload button to add a Certificate Upload.

After adding a Certificate Upload a set of new options will appear.

Edit Upload Instructions: Click this button to open a rich text field where you can input instructions for a Learner. This message will be presented to an enrolled Learner and should indicate instructions for them related to this Certificate Upload.

Label: The identifying title for this Certificate Upload. An example may be 'Drivers License'.

Approval: Determine if this Certificate Upload requires approval, and if it does, who is responsible for the approval. Options for Approval include Course Editor, Supervisor, Administrator and Other.

Reviewer's Notes: This field becomes available when Approval is required. Reviewer's Notes is a text field that is presented to the Reviewer (the individual responsible for approving the Certificate Upload).


Approving a Certificate Upload

The Course Uploads report will allow Administrators to view all Learner uploads through the Course Upload feature, including Certificate Course Uploads. This Report will allow filtering of specific data associated with the certificate upload, such as the Certificate Expiry Date, Certificate Issue Date, Certificate Issuer, and more.

For more information, please visit The Course Upload Report article. 


How to Make a Custom Certificate

Absorb LMS uses the Portable Document Format (PDF) format for Certificates. To configure your Certificate, you will need Adobe Acrobat or another PDF form editor. If you would like to have the Absorb Design team customize your Certificates, please inquire about our Fully Tailored Design option.

Absorb references Dynamic Fields included in the .PDF Certificate so information can be populated correctly when the Certificate is opened. At the bottom of this article is an attachment that includes the Absorb Custom Certificate Fields and examples of the Dynamic Fields.

Please advise the following method for creating your own Certificate:

  1. Create your Certificate's design and layout.
    • You can create the initial design in various programs (Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, etc.) if the size remains 8.5 x 11 inches (215.9 mm x 279.4 mm).
    • Be sure to leave room for the dynamic fields populated by the LMS such as Course Name or Learner Name.
  2. Save the certificate as a PDF file.
  3. Open your new PDF in Adobe Acrobat PDF writer to add dynamic fields.
  4. Use the Prepare Form tool.
  5. Copy the dynamic field name from the left column of the Absorb Custom Certificate Fields PDF.
    • Select Add a Text Field from the Prepare Form menu. You will be presented with a new blue text box on your PDF.
    • Place this text box in the section of the Certificate you want it located. A popup modal will display within the new Text Field, allowing you to paste the dynamic field you have already copied into the Field Name
  6. Continue adding as many fields as needed on your Certificate.
  7. Select Close to exit the Prepared Form and then Save your PDF file. You can now use this PDF as your Certificate.


Custom Fields

Absorb LMS allows you to configure Certificates with Custom User Fields. The data in these fields can also be passed to your PDF Certificate using the LearnerCustomFieldNameNoSpaces form field.

Where the Dynamic Field FieldNameNoSpaces is located will populate with the name entered into Portal Settings > Custom Field (with the spaces within the Custom Field name stripped out of the form field).

  • If changes are made in the LMS to that Custom Field name, your Certificates will need to be updated to reflect them.
  • For the Custom Field to be mapped correctly, all capital letter formatting must be respected (if any).
  • Custom Fields marked as Hidden will not dynamically populate on a Certificate.
  • Currently, the LMS does not support customizing the fonts of Dynamic Fields in PDF certificates. If the LMS does not recognize a font or font character, it will add substitution fonts, such as Arial.


Date Format

Please note that the date format on Certificates will match the format determined in Portal Settings > Defaults in the Report Date Format field. You can select from the drop-down from YYYY-MM-DD, DD/MM/YYYY, or MM/DD/YYYY. This will also update the date format within your Reports, so please be sure you are comfortable with your changes before saving the new format.


Example: Format Dynamic Fields



Course Certificate FAQ

This section contains information specific to unique interactions related to Course Certificates.


Generated Certificates Aren't Stored in the LMS

It is important to note that the term created isn't entirely accurate when it comes to discussing Certificates. More accurate, is the term generated. This is because when you click to view a Certificate, the Certificate is actively generated as a temporary file based on the Source and Dynamic Fields present. A Learner's Certificate is not saved in the LMS, it is not stored in the File Manager and for all intents and purposes does not exist. A Certificate will only appear as a temporary file when it is viewed. For this reason, we recommend a Certificate is downloaded, or printed by the Learner at the time it is awarded.

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