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Customizing WordPress Administration Panels

Tips for WordPress 1.5
While some of these tips may apply to WordPress 1.6, that version is still not available to the general public. These tips and tricks apply to WordPress 1.5.

WordPress is highly customizable. Every part and piece of the full WordPress version can be customized, including the WordPress Administration Panel. In general, it is highly recommended that you do not change these, as it makes it harder to upgrade your WordPress version, but if you keep a lot of notes on what you have done, and you accept that this will make upgrading more complicated, then the decision is up to you.

There are a lot of tips and tricks for customizing your WordPress Aministration Panels. Some of these involve changing the files that generate your Administration Panels, while others make changes using WordPress Plugins. In a future article, I’ll talk about changing the entire look of your WordPress Administration panels, but for now, let’s start small and look at some tips and tricks you can do to improve management and administration of your WordPress blog.

Write Post Panel

To change the size of the Excerpt box on the post.php which handles your Write Post Panel content, edit the wp-admin/wp-admin.css file section that states:

#excerpt {
	height: 1.8em;
	width: 98%;


#excerpt {
	height: 5em;
	width: 98%;

Be sure and hit SHIFT+F5 (Refresh) or Cntrl+Shift+R in FireFox to completely reload a fresh version of the page.

To change the size of the Write Post textarea, giving you more room in which to write your post, with a text editor, open wp-admin/edit-form-advanced.php and change:

$rows = get_settings('default_post_edit_rows');
if (($rows  100)) {
$rows = 10;
<textarea rows="<?php echo $rows; ?>" cols="40" name="content" tabindex="5" id="content">

Change $rows = 10 to $rows = 30 or whatever height works for you.

Save and upload the file to the site server.

Preview Draft Posts

Working on a complex layout in your Write Post panel? Need to see what the results will be before you post? Since the Post Preview window only shows text and what styles you provide in the wp-admin.css style sheet, you can go one step further and actually preview your post before you publish it.

  • While the post is still marked as DRAFT, click Save and Continue Editing.
  • At the top of the screen in the browser address bar, note the post ID number.
  • In another browser window, type in the address for a normal post on your site, replacing the permalink address, if you use them, with the post ID

The page in the browser will be a “preview” of your post within your Theme. If you see something that needs fixing, make the change in the first browser window where you are editing your post, click Save and Continue Editing and then click over on the second browser window and do a complete refresh. You should see your changes. You can also run this page through a validator to check for errors.

Remember, this can only be done when the post is a DRAFT. If you have published a post for future posting and you want to check it, you can change the status back to DRAFT and then you will be able to use this method.

Post Preview

The Post Preview is definitely inadequate. If you, like me, are tired of seeing the images and graphics not line up right in the Preview, add this to the wp-admin/wp-admin.css, or whatever your Theme image alignment styles are:

img.centered { display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; }
img.right { padding: 4px; margin: 0 0 2px 7px; display: inline; }
img.left { padding: 4px; margin: 0 7px 2px 0; display: inline; }
.right { float: right; }
.left { float: left }

Customizing Number of Posts on the Manage Panel

By default, the number of posts viewed on the Manage Posts panel is 15. I often have just that many posts awaiting future release. This doesn’t help me see the post coming out today. Fifteen posts is just not enough information.

To change the number of posts viewed within the Manage Posts panel, open the wp-admin/edit.php file in a text editor and around Line 70 look for:

$what_to_show = 'posts';
$posts_per_page = 15;

and change that to

$what_to_show = 'posts';
$posts_per_page = 50;

Make the 50 whatever number you want. Do not make it too high as it can eat up a lot of resources pulling so many from the database, if you are worried about things like that.

Below it a few lines is a line that displays on the screen that says:

_e('Last 15 Posts');

Change that to:

_e('Last 50 Posts');

More Administration Panel Tips and Tricks

Here are some more tips and tricks for changing the WordPress Administration Panels and administering your WordPress site or blog.


  1. Posted April 12, 2006 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    Read this post with interest as I’m thinking about a fairly drastic mod to the Write Post page:

    Kas has written some nice code to split a post into two columns:

    $content = split("<!--nextcolumn-->", $post->post_content);


    To use this, I add <!–nextcolumn–> into the post where I want the next column to start.

    Would it be possible to create a customised ‘Write Post’ page, that actually displayed these columns in 2 distinct text areas? (For the benefit of a client.)

    Pages with one column would revert to the default editing layout of course.

    I’m more of a hack&paster than a coder but would be interested to hear thoughts on tackling the above 🙂

  2. Posted April 12, 2006 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Anything is possible, still, the idea of the Write Post area is to show you the raw text and then the “actual” view when you hit SAVE and CONTINUE EDITING in the Post Preview area. There you would see the columns take effect. Still, with the new WYSIWYG Rich Text Editor replacing the draft post view, I have no clue since I am not a fan of that thing. I do believe that messing around with the raw text makes it harder to edit. The Post Preview gives you the look and feel of the end result, so why mess with the upper editing window?

    Still, this is a brilliant design hack to create two columns within the text. You’ll have to return to the Support Forum for an answer to this one, sorry. And good luck pushing the WordPress envelope.

  3. Posted September 29, 2006 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Ah well, thanks for your thoughts! I’m still on a quest for this… but know a few plugin coders now who might be able to pull this off 🙂

  4. Posted September 29, 2006 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Again, since you can “see” the results of the 2-25 column layout once you hit Save and Continue Editing, why should you “see” it in the WYSIWYG editing window? I’d say that was overkill. It means digging into the WYSIWYG editor and modifying how it displays content for a very specialized use within the edit textarea. That’s a serious rewrite of code.

    Again, you will have to ask on the WordPress Support Forum, and be very clear that you want the column effect inside of the Edit textarea so that the change is not in your web page design (Theme) but in the WYSIWYG editor area. Or contact the author of the various WYSIWYG editor WordPress Plugins for Editing Posts.

  5. Richard
    Posted February 15, 2007 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Would be interested in any solutions you have to managing comments in 2.1

    Ideally all the comments should be instantly visible at once (the FULL comments) and it should be possible to go down the page and edit them all, approve them etc. before finally pressing ‘submit’ and having the whole lot processed at once

  6. Posted February 15, 2007 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    For my opinion and whines about WordPress blog comment handling, see The Number One Flaw in WordPress: Comments.

  7. gulflee
    Posted December 1, 2007 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    hi Loreller, nice tips can i know, is it possible to change/customize the write/edit post to a form style so user can enter the post just like filling a form? could it be too tricky ? thanks in advance

  8. Posted December 1, 2007 at 10:51 am | Permalink


    If you know CSS, you can change the Write Post panel. It’s not hard, just time consuming, but since it is already a form (turn off the Rich Text Editor) why make it more “formy”?

  9. Enrique Pascual
    Posted August 21, 2008 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    hello people, exlent post!! thanks for the tips, i’m a uruguayan programmer, i reside in uruguay south america, so sorry my english, and please try to undestand my question, i want to change the admin panel layout, buy not only the look and feel, i want to hide some options depends of the user, for example to contributor role, i want hide in the post screen the create category option, this user can’t create categories, so is not necessary show this option, if this possible??? what i want is hide some options depends of user. I appreciate your help!!! Thanks.

  10. Posted October 15, 2008 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    i noticed that you are directly hacking the core. If people want to be able to update the core to the next version without trouble, they can use plugins to achieve some of the same. for example, put this in the plugins directory and enable it.

  11. Posted October 15, 2008 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    the code did not show up in the last post. here it is with backticks, hopefully it will work now



  12. Posted October 15, 2008 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    sorry for all the posts, maybe now

  13. Posted October 15, 2008 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    function remove_add_categories() {

    add_action(‘edit_form_advanced’, ‘remove_add_categories’);

    update_option(‘default_post_edit_rows’, 10);

  14. Posted October 15, 2008 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    remove the two ** to get the code to work.

10 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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