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WordPress Administration Panel WordPress Plugins

WordPress PluginsDon’t like the look of the WordPress Administration Panels? Then change them with a WordPress Plugin.

Admin Themes can be designed manually by changing the /wp-admin/wp-admin.css stylesheet with changes ranging from complex to simple colors, or by using a WordPress Plugin called an Admin Theme Plugin. Some just change the look of the Admin Panels (the “skin”), while others add more options and features.

For information on how to create or change the look of the WordPress Administration Panels, see Creating Admin Themes in the , the online manual for WordPress Users.

Here are some WordPress Admin Themes to try out on your WordPress blog, and I’ve also included some WordPress Plugins to add drop down menus and other features to your Administration Panels.

WordPress Admin Themes

Tiger Admin Panel ThemeThe most popular Administration Panel Plugin is WP-Tiger-Admin Plugin. It creates a clean and simple layout for the Admin Panels with easy tab navigation on the side not the top, and everything is in an easy to read format and structure.

Spotmilk Admin Theme PluginSpotMilk, Admin Theme for WordPress features an interesting and clean look with a new WordPress logo design and spotlight-styled header image. There are new main and sub-menus, helping to put like items together. The boxy look is gone and there are new forms and fancy buttons.

Yellow Sword Fish created WP Admin Drop Down Menus for the SpotMilk Theme to add true drop down menus.

Based upon the SpotMilk Admin Theme, JS has developed the Js Style Admin + Drop Menus Plugin which makes some changes on the CSS and adds some pretty drop down menus based upon the Spotmilk Admin Drop Down Menus.

Yellow Sword Fish also created the WP Admin ‘Autumn’ Theme with drop down menus and an interface in fall colors.

Barunio Administration Panel Plugin ThemeWP Barunio Administration Plugin changes the Admin Panels to a yellow and orange gentle landscape. The menu of tabs is moved onto the left side and it uses the Custom Admin Menu Plugin for the sub-menus. Unfortunately, there are some problems with using this Admin Theme in IE.

Red and Black Admin Panel Plugin turns your WordPress Admin Panels into a black background with red and white letters. (Note: Might not style everything in WordPress 2.1)

Earthtones WordPress Admin Panel ThemeEarthtones Admin Theme Plugin for WordPress colorizes the Admin Panels in greens and browns, creating a soft, natural look.

WordPress Admin CSS-Reboot is another Admin Theme which uses gray tones with teal for the colors on the interface.

The X-Dashboard for WordPress was very popular. It allowed you to customize how your WordPress Admin Panels and Dashboard section from within itself or by adding new X-Dashboard Modules. I’m not sure if it works with the latest version of WordPress.

WordPress Administration Panel Enhancements

Don’t want to change your Admin Panels totally? There are some other options you can add to enhance your WordPress Administration Panels.

For those who like the blue admin bar that registered bloggers see, you can host your own admin bar on your blog, viewable only by registered users and contributors. Admin Bar

The following WordPress Plugins create Admin Bars, putting the key admin panel tabs right at the top of your screen for easy access and control. Most of these are also customizable, allowing you to set which menu tabs you want in the bar.

Hate clicking through the tabs to get to what you want? The WordPress Plugin Admin Drop Down Menu creates a drop down menu so you can slide your mouse from a tab to a sub tab and then choose which one you want. Instead of three clicks to get to somewhere, it now takes a little mouse movement and one click.

Want an even cleaner Admin Panel interface? Mark Jaquith’s Clutter Free WordPress Plugin allows you to choose which elements of the Write Post panel you want to see or not see, streamlining the look.

Semiologic’s Admin Simplified also allows you to remove much of the unwanted or often unused elements in the WordPress Administration Panels, including the excerpts, custom fields, and more.

And if you want the Post Preview feature gone, you can use Kafkaesqui’s Hide Post Preview WordPress Plugin (downloadable file) and it will take that away, making the reloading of posts for editing faster.

The Custom Admin Menu Plugin gives you control over how the WordPress Admin Panel tags are set and ordered. You can change the label name of any menu itme, create nested sub-menus, and move any panel to a top-level page or child-level, rearranging as you want and need.

Yellow Swordfish has created a variety of drop down admin panel menus to enhance any WordPress blog. WP Admin Drop Down Menus – Native Theme is another drop down menu option for WordPress Themes, but instead of a hover effect over the actual tags, this Plugin actually turns subtabs into drop down menus. You can also try WP Admin Drop Down Menus – SpotMilk Theme, and an WP ‘Advanced’ Admin Drop Down Menus for even faster access to various menus.

Do you have any favorite WordPress Plugins that change or enhance your Administration Panels? What do you use?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network


  1. Posted February 8, 2007 at 8:30 am | Permalink


    Thanks for listing my plugin here. Very cool!

  2. Posted February 8, 2007 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Especially for the getting rid of the post preview plugin, thanks. Somehow (I’m guessing messing with my .htacess stuff) I made it so it shows whatever is on the front page at the moment, not the post I’m working on.

    Since I never use it anyway for blog anyway, this will be a great plugin to get rid of what I’ve essentially made a useless feature.

  3. Posted February 9, 2007 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Great post. I never knew there were so many admin panel themes out there.

    I take it these are all supposed to work with the latest version of WordPress, right?

  4. Posted February 9, 2007 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    They “should”. There have been some changes to the wp-admin.css in the latest version, so it might not be as “clean” a switch as you might like. Check with the author to see if they have a WordPress 2.1 version.

  5. Posted February 9, 2007 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    A mashup of Tiger-Admin and SpotMilk would be the best of both worlds. I tried using them together but it really didn’t work well. I suppose it would, if I got rid of the Tiger sidebar navigation.

  6. Posted February 19, 2007 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Ditto on the TY for listing my theme! btw this is the link to the wp 2 version:

  7. Posted March 8, 2008 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Great list. I think sometimes that admin plugins are overlooked by many people, and most WP bloggers don’t realize that the Dashboard can be tweaked, modded, and completely retrofitted to make work so much easier.

    I with that WordPress would work out different dashboards for different scenarios – like working as a team, a daily poster, semi-often poster, a video blogger, photoblogger, company blogger, etc – kind of like the way Macromedia first made Fireworks and Dreamweaver, and the first time you ran it asked questions like “are you a coder, are you a designer, etc…”

  8. Posted April 26, 2008 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Hello! I had found this article very useful a few months back.

    Now with wordpress 2.5 and the new admin panel out though, I think not many of them will still be working.

    Anyway, I was running some client sites that really needed a uniform look in and out of the admin panel and so I developed my own 2.5 plugin.

    It’s called Qwerty Admin Panel Theme and it is based on the 2.5 admin. It’s got an extensive color selection screen in the Design menu that allows you to change the colors to anything you like, and also it swaps the panel images so you can place your own and links your site’s /favicon.ico to display on the admin panel as well.

    It might not be as fancy as some of the other plugins here, but it was made with future compatibility in mind — It works fine with 2.5 and (in it’s default state) it’s only changing color information. So even in the case of another major reconstruction of the admin panel it’s not going to be hard to bring up to date.

    Anyway, I was hoping you might be interested to feature it here, or post some feedback back at the plugin page. I’d be very interested to hear what you have to say.

    Thanks for your time and this nice blog.

  9. Posted May 11, 2008 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I with that WordPress would work out different dashboards for different scenarios – like working as a team, a daily poster, semi-often poster, a video blogger, photoblogger, company blogger, etc

  10. Posted May 11, 2008 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    @ hidrolik vinç:

    I don’t know how a daily or semi-often “poster” blogger would need something different as it is better to have consistency so no matter which blog you are working on, the parts are in the same place. The same with the other types of bloggers.

    WordPress is highly flexible and there are a number of Plugins, as you read here, that will add all kinds of goodies to the interface. I don’t think WordPress should put such things in the core as it just bulks things up and they are working very hard to keep it fast loading.

  11. Posted May 3, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I do not work with Blogspot. As for WordPress, please see the list on my Contact Page to find someone to help you or the list on Thank you.

  12. popo
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    Lorelly, is there a way to prevent multiple authors from using crazy fonts and colors? Or inserting their own images? I’d like to control the visual environment on a multi-author blog a little better.

    • Posted July 6, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      You can set up the ksses.php file or use a Plugin that strips out unwanted HTML including font codes.

  13. Zinebase
    Posted November 21, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,
    I am looking for a plugin that would allow me to sort pending posts by author/contributor. I know you can click on the authors name and see all posts by that author but I was looking for something that allows you to see sort it that way in the initial post page. Also Is there a plugin that adds a publish option in the pending posts list without having to go into the post

  14. Posted April 29, 2012 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    Hi lorelle, as a newbie I am absolutely confused with all this jargon. Guess its going to take me a while to grasp. In the meanwhile though I would like to monetize my wordpress with an infolinks plugin. Would you please tell me in dummies language, how to do it? It would be much appreciated.
    Best regards,

    Ritu Anand

    • Posted April 29, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      You cannot monetize a site. You will have to get a site set up with a web host and use the self-hosted version of WordPress. I don’t know what “infolinks” are but it sounds annoying. I do not offer monetization help. There are thousands of sites that do, though take most of it with a grain of salt, sugar, mustard, and every other condiment as they serve up a quick solution that will probably hurt you in the end.

      • rituanand
        Posted August 9, 2012 at 5:18 am | Permalink

        Hi Lorelle, thanks for the information you gave me. It is much appreciated. Have an awesome day.:)

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