WordPress Dashboard

You can think of your WordPress Dashboard like the homepage for your admin area. You won’t make any changes to your site from the Dashboard, but it provides a brief overview and links you to other administration pages where you will actually update your site.

Each section on the Dashboard is technically called a widget—more specifically, a Dashboard widget. There are 5 default WordPress Dashboard widgets, but some plugins provide additional widgets for reporting or accessing the plugin’s features.

Default WordPress Dashboard Widgets

Let’s take a look at the 5 default widgets that, together, make up your WordPress Dashboard.

01 Welcome

WordPress Welcome Dashboard Widget

The WordPress welcome widget is displayed at the very top of the Dashboard. It is most helpful for those who are brand new to WordPress. It provides links to help you with:

  • Customizing your theme
  • Where to write your first blog post
  • Adding static pages
  • Managing menus & widgets
  • Where to find additional documentation

You can easily hide the Welcome widget by clicking “Dismiss” in the upper-right corner.

02 At a Glance

WordPress At a Glance Dashboard Widget

The At a Glance Dashboard widget provides a few stats about the content on your site; specifically, posts, pages & comments. You can click on the links to manage each one.

It also shows you the current version of WordPress that you have installed, and which theme your site is using.

03 Activity

WordPress Activity Dashboard Widget

The Activity widget provides an overview of the recent happenings on your site, in regards to posts & comments. It presents you with the following:

  • The 5 most recently published articles
  • The 5 most recently added comments
  • Up to 5 articles that are scheduled to post in the future
  • Quick links to manage your comments

Clicking on a post link will take you directly to edit that post. For comments, action links are provided (on hover) so you can approve, mark as spam or delete comments without leaving your WordPress Dashboard.

04 WordPress Events & News

WordPress Events & News Dashboard Widget

A Dashboard widget for news has been around for a while, but WordPress 4.8 (June 8, 2017) added WordPress events to the widget.

At the top of the widget, you can enter your location to see up to 3 WordPress events coming up in your area. The events are pulled in from wordcamp.org and meetup.com.

5 recent WordPress news articles are displayed from a handful of sources, including:

05 Quick Draft

WordPress Quick Draft Dashboard Widget

The Quick Draft Dashboard widget is one of the few areas where you can actually add some content. The purpose of this widget is for quickly saving your ideas as draft posts, so you can polish them off at a later time.

It also serves as a reminder to finish up & publish your existing drafts, providing quick links to go directly to their edit page.

Customizing the WordPress Dashboard

One of the nice features about the WordPress Dashboard is that you can customize it. Let’s talk about several ways in which you can make the Dashboard work for you.

WordPress plugins can add many helpful widgets to the Dashboard, but this section will focus on the features of the Dashboard that are included with a default WordPress installation.

NOTE: All customization of the WordPress Dashboard is done on a per-user basis. Making changes to your Dashboard will not affect others logging into your site. Everyone gets their own, personal Dashboard.

01 Minimize Dashboard Widgets

To save space on your Dashboard, you can minimize a widget so that only it’s title is displayed. This reminds you that the information is available, but saves space for more important widgets.

Just click the arrow again at any time to re-open the widget.

WordPress Dashboard minimize widgets
Click on the arrow to minimize a Dashboard widget

02 Hide Dashboard Widgets

If you’d rather never see a particular Dashboard widget, you can remove it from the screen. Don’t worry, it’s not gone forever, but it will be completely hidden from view.

Hide WordPress Dashboard Widgets
Use the “Screen Options” feature at the top of your Dashboard
  1. At the top of your Dashboard, click Screen Options
  2. This will open a panel of checkboxes corresponding to your widgets
  3. Simply uncheck whichever widgets you no longer want to see
  4. Recheck the widget at any time to display it again

03 Reorganize Dashboard Widgets

You can also drag’n-drop Dashboard widgets to reorganize them on your screen. You have up to 3 columns (on larger screens) to place widgets in.

  1. Click-and-hold anywhere in the title bar
  2. Move the widget to it’s new location
  3. And release
WordPress Dashboard Customization animation
Animation showing how to customize your WordPress Dashboard

Adding New Dashboard Widgets

There are many plugins that add new widgets to your WordPress Dashboard. And if you’re a developer, you can create your own with the Dashboard Widgets API (PHP/JavaScript knowledge required).