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Author's profile photo Chris Stiles

Branding your LMS email notifications quickly & easily

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of notifications in SuccessFactors Learning?  The thought of updating/designing each an everyone of them cause you to break out in a nervous sweat? You’re not alone. The good news is that there is one feature you can enable that will allow you to quickly (and easily) “dress up” the majority of your email notifications at once.

In this blog we’ll review the configuration changes that may be needed in your instance, review the processing logic, and finally provide some very basic HTML code that you can get started with.

What is a header/footer?

In the context of LMS emails, its the text that gets inserted at the top and bottom of all email messages that go to users.  Often we see customers add their logo and/or the company name at the top of messages and “fine print” or other instructional message at the bottom.

How do I enable Header/Footers?

You can create customer headers and footers for email notifications that go to users and supervisors (unfortunately, they do not apply to Instructors). You create the header and footer in People >> Organizations >> Summary inside the Email Notification Header and Email Notification Footer text areas. If the text areas are empty, the system ignores them.  More on Organizations shortly.

If you do not see the text areas for Header & Footer, they are not enabled.  Enabling  custom headers and footers is as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Go to System Administration >> Configuration >> System Configuration  >> LMS_ADMIN
  2. set enableNotificationHeaderFooter to true
  3. Click Apply Changes.

This change is immediate, so you can return to the organization summary page immediately after saving.

This is what an Org record (in Edit Mode) will look like before and after this configuration.


Before enabling Header/Footer


Once you’ve enabled Header/Footers, you’ll see two corresponding text areas.



After enabling Header/Footer


How do I know what Org/Header Footer will be used?

When setting up customer headers and footers for organizations, remember that organizations are hierarchical, so the header and footer that users see could come from the users’ parent organizations. When sending an email notification, the system starts looking for headers and footers at the users’ lowest organization and then works up the hierarchy until it finds a custom header and footer. When it finds either a header or footer, it stops looking and uses the header and footer at the current organization level, even if one is populated and the other is blank (for example if the header is populated with text and the footer is blank, the system stops going up the hierarchy, and sends the blank footer).

Sample Code

By way of example, if you were to find your top level organization (hopefully you have only one), and added the following sample code to the header and footer text areas, you would have yourself some fairly sharp looking emails arriving in your employee inboxes.


		<table border="0" width="800" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" align="center">

			<!--Header -->
				<td style="padding: 35px; text-align: left; font-family: Arial, Tahoma, sans-serif; color: #ffffff; font-size: 28px; font-weight: 600;  background-color: #3a5c77;" align="center" bgcolor="#3a5c77">Customer Name (maybe logo) here</td>

				<td style="padding: 35px; text-align: left; font-family: Arial, Tahoma, sans-serif; color: #000000; font-size: 15px;" align="center">


				<td style="padding: 0px 35px 30px 10px; text-align: left; font-family: Arial, Tahoma, sans-serif; color: #ffffff; font-size: 14px; font-weight: 400; background-color: #3a5c77;" bgcolor="#3a5c77">
					<br/>Please do not reply to this email.<p>
						<ul style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; color: #ffffff;">
							<li><b>For technical issues or general use questions:</b>Please contact the<a style="color: #ffffff;" href="https://yourcustomurlhere/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Global Service Desk</a>.</li>
							<li><b>For any other questions:</b>Please contact your<a style="color: #ffffff;" href="http://yourlinkhere/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">LMS Administrator</a>.</li>




Results of provided header / footer code



  • Does LMS support HTML5?
    • Yes. Although technically speaking, LMS in indifferent as to what you put in your templates and/or header/footer.  The LMS aggregates, and substitutes text (from the header/footer, message body, and database values that were substituted into syntax tags), which is then sent out as the email messages body.
  • Can we also “dress up” our calendar invites for classes?
    • Yes – see my previous blog HERE 
    • But the Header/Footer functionality, as described in this blog will not apply to your VCAL.
  • Can you put images in our email notifications?
    • Yes – provided they are hosted in a public location on the internet OR you use an alternative method supported by your email client (such as base64 encoded images).


  • Use in-line CSS.  email clients generally do not allow processing of external styles sheets.
  • limit the use of images.  Many email clients will block load images, or in general, can have a delayed load, depending on how high resolution/large they are. You can accomplish very nice things with HTML tables, colors and borders these days.
  • test your code in a lower environment first!
  • be careful if you are generating deep links for your emails.  If they are for specific environments, the URL will be different when you move your template to production.



In summary, we’ve review the configuration changes necessary to enable the Org header/footer feature, explained the logic of how header/footers are processed, and provided some sample HTML to get your starting dressing up your email notifications coming out of LMS.




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      Author's profile photo Karen Perez
      Karen Perez

      Thank you, Chris, for another great blog!

      Author's profile photo Katey Pavely
      Katey Pavely

      Thanks for this Chris. One question I have that you might be able to help me with though is that it's my understanding that if you blank out email templates that you don't want the system to fire (which we do - we only use a selected few across the LMS), if you start to use the org header and footer functionality, you can no longer be selective with which emails fire from the system.

      We were advised of this by our system implementation team - can you confirm if this is still the case? I'd love to use this functionality, but it's more important to us that we can control which system emails are sent so learners aren't bombarded with notifications whenever they interact with the LMS.

      Any advice on this would really be appreciated!

      Author's profile photo Chris Stiles
      Chris Stiles
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Katey,

      This is [still] true.  Once you implement the Org Header/Footer, the email will no longer be considered blank, and will send the header / footer with no "body".  there is unfortunately no workaround that I am aware of at this point in time.

      Good call out / warning for others.  Thank you for raising this!



      Author's profile photo Chris Stiles
      Chris Stiles
      Blog Post Author

      As a quick follow up, the provided code would work on each template, but then maintenance of notifications becomes cumbersome.

      Author's profile photo Katey Pavely
      Katey Pavely

      Thanks for confirming Chris, I thought that might be the case, but still some good ideas for updating the body of templates. I saw your VCAL post not so long ago and I'll be looking to make them look pretty(!) soon!

      Thanks again


      Author's profile photo Chris Stiles
      Chris Stiles
      Blog Post Author

      Good Morning Katey

      Your question prompted me to do some additional testing.  During an implementation a couple years ago, our experience was that the header/footer caused all emails to go out (even the ones that were "blanked" to prevent sending.)   If we look at the note just above the Org Header field, it suggested wrapping the body of the message in a paragraph <p> or break <br/> tag.  I gave this a try today and am having some initial success.

      For full transparency, this is the test I ran:

      I removed all text from the subject line and body for the student in the SystemEnrollmentNotification template.  Then I registered a student into a class.  In prior tests, this generated a VCAL and an email.  However, with the <p> tags in my header/footer, and the subject and body blanked, they got the VCAL (calendar meeting invite), but the usual corresponding email did not send.

      I am updating the header / footer sample above to include the paragraph tags I used.

      Thanks again for asking this!


      Author's profile photo Katey Pavely
      Katey Pavely

      Hi Chris

      Thanks for the update, and appreciate you taking the time to do some testing. That sounds promising! Updating the templates is on my long list of things to do in the system later in the year and I'll certainly carry out more tests of my own - fingers crossed I'll get the same results.

      Thanks again for going the extra mile on this for me!