4.9. Enabling Certificates

This topic describes how to enable certificates in your instance of Open edX.

4.9.1. Overview

Organizations and course teams can generate certificates for learners who pass a course. Learners can view, print, or share their certificates.

For information about certificates, see Setting Up Course Certificates in Building and Running an Open edX Course or Print a Web Certificate in the Open edX Learner’s Guide.

To enable this feature on your instance of Open edX, you must enable a feature flag in both Studio and the Learning Management System and complete the configuration tasks described in this topic.


Before proceeding, review Guidelines for Updating the Open edX Platform.

4.9.2. Enable Certificates in Studio and the Learning Management System

To enable certificates, you modify the lms.env.json and cms.env.json files, which are located one level above the edx-platform directory.

  1. In the lms.env.json and cms.env.json files, set the value of CERTIFICATES_HTML_VIEW within the FEATURES object to true.

    "FEATURES": {
  2. Save the lms.env.json and cms.env.json files.

  3. If it does not exist already, create the folder /tmp/certificates owned by the user and group www-data. Depending on your configuration, this folder might not survive reboots, and so might need to be created by a script.

  4. Run database migrations.

4.9.3. Configure Certificates for Your Open edX Instance

  1. Access the Django Administration website for your instance of Open edX. To do this, go to https://<host name of your Open edX instance>/admin. For example, this might be https://YourOrganization.com/admin.

  2. Under Site Administration > Certificates, add an HTML View Configuration, and select Enabled.

  3. Modify the configuration parameters. You must set the following certificates-related parameters for your Open edX instance.

    • platform_name
    • company_about_url
    • company_privacy_url
    • company_tos_url
    • company_verified_certificate_url
    • logo_src
    • logo_url

    For each course mode, such as “honor” or “verified”, define certificate_type, certificate_title, and document_body_class_append. The mode name should match your course mode name exactly. An example follows.

        "default": {
            "accomplishment_class_append": "accomplishment-certificate",
            "platform_name": "YourPlatformName",
            "company_privacy_url": "http://www.YourOrganization.com/our-privacy-policy",
            "company_tos_url": "http://www.YourOrganization.com/our-terms-service",
            "company_verified_certificate_url": "http://www.YourOrganization.com/about_verified_certificates",
            "logo_src": "/static/certificates/images/our_logo.svg",
            "logo_url": "www.YourOrganization.com"
        "honor": {
            "certificate_type": "honor",
            "certificate_title": "Honor Certificate",
            "document_body_class_append": "is-honorcode"
        "verified": {
            "certificate_type": "verified",
            "certificate_title": "Verified Certificate",
            "document_body_class_append": "is-idverified"
        "base": {
            "certificate_type": "base",
            "certificate_title": "Certificate of Achievement",
            "document_body_class_append": "is-base"
        "distinguished": {
            "certificate_type": "distinguished",
            "certificate_title": "Distinguished Certificate of Achievement",
            "document_body_class_append": "is-distinguished"
  4. Save the configuration parameters and exit the Django Administration website.

  5. Restart the Studio and Learning Management System processes so that the updated environment configurations are loaded. Discontinue Audit Track Certificates

Organizations that offer certificates to audit track learners who pass a course can discontinue generation of this type of certificate. For example, your organization makes a strategic decision to offer certificates only to learners who select an enrollment mode other than “audit”. Learners can continue to audit courses, but they no longer receive certificates.

An outline of the steps you might take if your organization decides to stop offering certificates for learners in the audit track follows.

  1. Stop advertising audit track certificates for new courses.
  2. Identify running courses that offer an audit track certificate and, for those courses, determine the course end date that is furthest in the future.
  3. Select a cutoff date for generating audit track certificates that is after the last course end date identified in step 2.
  4. Set AUDIT_CERT_CUTOFF_DATE to a date in YYYY-MM-DD format. Specifying this date ensures that certificates are not generated for audit track learners in any course after the specified date.

The AUDIT_CERT_CUTOFF_DATE feature flag affects only the generation of audit certificates. Learners who audit courses continue to receive grades, which are shown on the course Progress page.

4.9.4. Customize Certificate Templates For Your Organization

Set up the templates for certificates that your organization will issue. Base templates are included, but you must ensure that they are customized for your organization. For example, you can change the images that appear on certificates for each course mode that your organization supports, as well as fonts and colors that are used on certificates.

Assets for HTML certificates exist in the following locations.

  • lms/templates/certificates - this folder contains .html files for certificates. The file valid.html is an example of a certificate file. Files with names that start with an underscore, such as _certificate_footer.html, are partial files that can be referenced in the main certificate .html files.

  • lms/static/certificates - subfolders of this folder contain assets used in creating certificates, such as images, fonts, and sass/css files.


    The organization logo on a certificate is uploaded in Studio. For details, see Setting Up Course Certificates in Building and Running an Open edX Course.

4.9.5. Configure Certificates Within Each Course

Within Studio, course team members with the Admin role can create and edit a certificate configuration that is used to generate certificates for their course, including adding signatories and images for organization logo and signature images for signatories. For details, Setting Up Course Certificates in Building and Running an Open edX Course.

4.9.6. Generate Certificates For a Course

To generate certificates for a course, run the manage.py script with the following settings. When the script finishes running, grades are calculated for learners who are enrolled in the course, and certificates are generated for eligible learners.

  1. Obtain the course ID for the course for which you are generating certificates. When you view course content in your browser, the course ID appears as part of the URL. For example, in the URL http://www.edx.org/course/course-v1:edX+demoX_Demo_2015, the course ID is course-v1:edX+demoX_Demo_2015. For some courses, the course ID contains slashes. For example, edX/Demox/Demo_2014.

  2. Run manage.py with the following settings, replacing {CourseID} with the actual course ID. Do not include beginning or trailing slashes.

    ./manage.py lms --settings=aws ungenerated_certs -c {CourseID}

    For example,

    ./manage.py lms --settings=aws ungenerated_certs -c course-v1:edX+demoX_Demo_2015.


    If the LMS is running on a server that does not have https support (such as a locally run fullstack for testing) you will need to use the --insecure flag so that the certificate generation service contacts the LMS on http instead of on https.

  3. View the certificate generation status for a course using gen_cert_report. An example follows.

    ./manage.py lms --settings=aws gen_cert_report -c course-v1:edX+demoX_Demo_2015.