Feature Select/Feature Visibility confusion


In a product that has and uses a number of sophisticated technical features, one of the things that causes confusion on a regular basis is the fairly straight-forward Feature Select section.

The confusion arises not from how to use the interface, but in what it actually does. This misunderstanding probably arises from a perfectly understandable assumption, based upon how many products, and even the FortiGate in some contexts, work.

In the Feature Select or Feature Visibility panel (the name will depend on the version of the firmware), there is a list of a number of FortiGate features that can be used and configured. Next to the feature name is a sliding toggle icon. Slide the toggle to the left and the icon is grayed out. Slide the toggle to the right and it is a nice bright color. Which bright color, will depend on which color theme is being used on your FortiGate. The grayed out icon representing a disabled status and the colorful icon representing the feature is on.

The erroneous assumption that gets made here is that disabling the feature in this panel disables the feature on the FortiGate. What is actually happening is that the feature is being disabled within the GUI. It does not stop the feature from working on the FortiGate. 

This screenshot shows what the Network section of the GUI looks like with every feature turned on.

 Now, we go into the Feature Select and turn off Advanced Routing.

Then we go back to the Network section to see what changes have taken place.

You’ll notice that now there are fewer options under the Network heading. The following options are no longer available:

There are reasons for this non-intuitive approach. The reason for having a setting to remove something from the GUI is that there are so many settings because the FortiGate can do so many things, that it is a good practice to remove the clutter of options that are not going to be needed. The reason that large chunks of features and functions are not disabled is that there is a lot of interconnectivity between the various feature and settings. Disabling a feature that you don’t think that you’ll be using may include some settings that, while you don’t see them, affect a feature that you do use.

Colorful Bonus:

It’s off topic, but this is a fairly short post so I thought that I’d throw in a little bonus piece of information. Just because it made reference to the possible color variation of the toggle switches, here are the instructions for changing the color theme:


The option is located under System > Settings, down in View Settings. The Theme field has a drop-down menu you can use to select a base color for the interface. The number colors and colors available depends on the version of firmware.


If you’re a command line cowboy, those settings are shown below. 

# config system global

(global) # set gui-theme ?
green       Green theme.
red         Red theme.
blue        Light blue theme.
melongene   Melongene theme (eggplant color).
mariner     Mariner theme (dark blue color).

(global) # set gui-theme green

(global) # end
Bruce Davis

Bruce Davis

Technical Writer at Fortinet
Bruce has been working with computers, and related technology, since before the World Wide Web was a thing. He has worked in system and network administration. He has even dabbled in technical support. He has made the switch to technical writing as part of his deep, dark and dastardly plan to make the arcane machinations of IT technology more easily understood by the poor folks who use it.
Bruce Davis

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