From the first WordPress website I logged in to, I thought the menu in the admin section was designed almost with the intent of making it difficult for me to use. It seemed that everything I needed to select from the menu was located toward the bottom and was usually in a menu that I had not expanded. So, I expanded ALL the menus. That just meant that I had to scroll down farther to find what I was looking for. By installing a couple of simple plugins, I was able to rearrange the admin menu section in a way that worked better for me.
Install The Admin Dropdown Menu Plugin
This plugin can be installed either by FTP or through the Plugin menu. Once installed, activate it and get ready for the big change. Notice that all your menus will move from the left of your screen to the top of your screen and when you hover your mouse over the top level of the menu, it drops down and lists all the sub-menus that are available. This one feature alone was the biggest time saver from using this plugin as I no longer had to scroll down to the bottom of the left menu to find something I needed.
Under the settings menu, choose “Admin Menu”. Under Icons and Colors, the first item is Top Level Icons. By checking “Display original menu icons in top level links” the icons will show in the menu along with the words for the menu item. If you uncheck the box, the icons do not show. When this is checked, you can then choose to use “Compact Mode” if you wish. Compact Mode will remove the words and show JUST the icons. Personally, I don’t use Compact Mode.
Configure The Plugin To Your Tastes
Sublevel Icons – By checking this box, icons will also show beside the words in dropdown menus. I have this checked, but it could just as easily be unchecked as it serves no real purpose other than to show icons.
Finally, in this section, you can choose a color scheme. I like this because it allows me to get a little creative and relieve my eyes from the boredom of the standard WP admin scheme.
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The first item in this section, “Hide Header” is supposed to remove the WP toolbar, but it has not worked correctly since the WP Developer team changed it from an Admin Bar to the Tool Bar. But, that’s O.K. because it takes up only a small amount of space.
The second item may not even be important to you. It changes to horizontal mode if any of the drop downs are longer than your specified value. This is of very little value to me on my websites.
The third section is “Make Top Links Clickable” and I always keep this checked. I’d say this is more of a personal preference item than a right/wrong choice.
Finally, we have “Hide ’0′ Bubbles”. For example if you have no plugins that need updating, there will still be a “0″ in a bubble beside it on the menu to indicate that fact (as you see beside “Plugins” in the screenshot above). Ticking this box removes that bubble unless it’s something other than “0″. It doesn’t bother me to see a “0″ because I then know that the plugin update check is working. This setting applies to all menu items that could have a number bubble on them.
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Admin Menus Fixed
Rarely do I find two plugins by different authors that are made to work together, but this plugin is made to work with the Ozh’ Admin Dropdown Menu (or without it). In my opinion, the biggest disadvantage to the WordPress menu is that it moves out of sight and I spend too much time scrolling to get what I want – less when it’s horizontal though. The best solution would be if it were fixed at the top of the screen. This plugin does just that.
Download it, install it, and there’s NO setup. Admin Menus Fixed
When you scroll down the page, the menu stays at the top of your screen and greatly improves your ability to quickly find what you need. I find this helpful because no matter how long my list of plugins, posts, or pages is I still have my menu fixed at the top of my screen.
A Couple Of Minor Suggestions
Now that you have your menu in a horizontal position and it’s fixed to the top of the screen, you can make a couple of changes in layouts that can make your work even more efficient. Navigate to <Plugins><Installed Plugins> and click the “Screen Options” dropdown. Unless you have changed the default, the number of plugins to show on the page is probably set to 20. I change this to 999 so that my plugins all show up on a single page. Be sure to click the “Apply” button so that your changes are saved. I repeat this setting for Posts, Pages, Media, and Comments as well. If your website could have a lot of users, then you may wish to change this setting on that screen as well.
Now that you’ve reconfigured your WordPress admin section, there will be a short time of adapting to the new layout. But, I promise you, once you get accustomed to it, you’ll never want to go back. I’ve been using it this way so long that when I log in to someone else’s website and it’s configured the default way, I immediately take a couple of steps back.
If you found these suggestions helpful, please be sure to leave a comment (or two). We love to hear your feedback.
Download Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu
Download Admin Menus Fixed
Sitting At The Table by Jiri Hodan