How to Customize the WordPress Dashboard

WordPress dashboard is the place from where you manage the website. By default, it comes with a black-and-white color scheme. But you don’t have to keep it that way. There are some clever ways to customize the dashboard that I will discuss in our today’s post.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to do the following –

  1. Declutter the dashboard page,
  2. Customize the menus and
  3. Redesign the dashboard.

Let’s get started by learning how to simplify the dashboard page.

Decluttering the Dashboard Page

When you install WordPress for the first time, it will display some introductory widgets on the dashboard. These widgets help you get started with the website, show some quick info, display the recent activity, allow you to make a quick draft, and keep you updated about the latest WordPress events and news.

Depending on your requirements, you may want to get rid of any or all of these widgets. Luckily, there is an easy way to do that. Look at the top-right corner of the screen where you will find a button titled “Screen Options.”

Clicking the button will bring a new section like the following –

As you can see, there are five checkboxes, and all of the boxes are checked. Uncheck any box you don’t need, and the widget will be removed from the dashboard. It will not be visible unless you check the box again.

Customizing the Menu

You need to install a third-party plugin to customize the dashboard menu. While there are several plugins to do this, I prefer WP Admin UI Customize.

Install and activate the plugin on your WordPress site. This will add a new item to the dashboard menu. First of all, click on the WP Admin UI Customize menu item to define which user role can customize the dashboard options.

Then, go to WP Admin UI Customize > Sidebar to edit the dashboard menu. This will take you to a page like the following –

You will find the current menu on the left side. This section shows the currently active menu items as they are displayed on the dashboard. You can drag and drop the menu items to change their location.

Besides rearranging the current menu items, it is also possible to add new items to the menu. Check out the available items in the “Available menu items” section on the right side. Just drag your chosen item to the Current Menu section and drop it to your desired location, that’s it.

Once you have finished customizing the menu, click the “Save” button and reload your website to find the new menu in action.

Exploring the Other WP Admin UI Customize Options

You may have noticed that the WP Admin UI Customize plugin comes with lots of other options. Let’s take a moment to check out some exciting features of the plugin.

In the “General” page, you can hide the update notifications about WordPress, themes, and plugins, hide the screen options and help buttons, and provide a custom footer text.

“Admin Bar” enables you to customize the menu displayed in the admin bar on top. You can drag and drop the current menu items on the LeftMenus and RightMenus sections, and add new menu items from the “Available menu items” section below.

“Meta Boxes” offers separate checkboxes to enable, disable, or set the default condition for various post and page meta boxes like publish, categories, tag, featured image, excerpt, and so on. It is also possible to rename the meta box fields.

If you want to control the options for creating, deleting, or assigning the menu, you can do so from the “Appearance Menus” section.

The plugin also allows you to customize the login form. You will find separate options to provide the logo URL, logo title, image URL, footer text, etc. It is also possible to use a custom CSS file to override the default styles.

Redesigning the dashboard

There are several WordPress plugins to change the look of the whole dashboard. Let’s take a look at the best WordPress plugins to redesign the dashboard –

  1. Slate Admin Theme: Slate is one of the most popular admin color scheme themes for WordPress. Installing and activating the plugin will immediately replace the default dashboard style with a Night Rider color scheme.
  2. Fancy Admin UI: Fancy will change the default color scheme to an elegant white and blue palette. The theme also works with mobile menus, which is a great addition.
  3. Material Admin Theme: If you want to replace the traditional backend design with a pleasant theme, the Material theme could be an excellent choice. It will also improve the menu icons and ensure a better contrast for the menu.
  4. Admin Color Schemer: Developed by the WordPress core team, this is a unique plugin that enables you to choose custom colors for your dashboard. It allows you to define the colors for the base, icon, highlight, notifications, button, text, menu, and so on.
  5. WordPress Admin Theme – WPShapere: This premium plugin offers full control to customize the admin section. You can choose any of the 16 ready-made templates or create your own by choosing custom colors. It also comes with a customizable login page, custom dashboard widgets, rearrange admin menus, etc. You can get the plugin for $19.
  6. Ultra WordPress Admin Theme: Ultra features 30 attractively designed admin color schemes along with the option to create custom themes. Other notable features include complete white label branding, menu management, multi-site compatibility, login screen customization, and superior typography options. The plugin is priced at $22.
  7. WordPress Admin Theme: This is another premium plugin to help you customize the dashboard menu and the color scheme. You can choose any of the 43 built-in color schemes or choose your own colors and create a unique scheme. It is priced at $19.

Final Words

Applying your own customization can bring some welcome changes to the old, boring design of the WordPress dashboard. This tutorial introduced you to the best ways to customize the WordPress dashboard.

So, which of these methods are you going to try? Let me know in the comments below.


I started this tech blog back in 2011 as a place to write down processes I took to fix my client systems and network. Now I write some tips and tricks to help others with the tech issues that one might encounter.

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