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WordPress 3.8 Dashboard Changes


Written by

Dave Warfel

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4 minutes

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The WordPress Dashboard has seen several improvements in 3.8. We’ll take you through all the changes to the dashboard widgets, and show you screenshots side-by-side of how the Dashboard looked in 3.7 compared to how it looks now.

Screen Options

One thing you’ll notice is that there are far fewer screen options on the Dashboard in WordPress 3.8. Several dashboard widgets have been condensed or combined into one, and even one was entirely eliminated (Incoming Links widget).

WordPress Dashboard (3.8) - Screen Options

Welcome Screen

The welcome screen hasn’t changed much. It still offers all the same links to help you get started with your site, but the fonts & styling take on that of the new UI.

WordPress Dashboard (3.8) - Welcome

Right Now / Site Content

In 3.7, the “Right Now” widget used to contain the following info:

  • Total number of pages, posts, categories & tags
  • Total number of comments, and breakdowns for each comment status
  • Your WordPress version, the active theme & number of widgets
  • (if installed) Basic Akismet stats about comment spam

Some of this information isn’t very useful, and users weren’t getting much value from it. The “Right Now” title also doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially in today’s social media world of “real-time”, “news feeds,” etc.

WordPress 3.8 replaced the “Right Now” widget with “Site Content.” This includes:

  • Total number of pages, posts & comments (removing categories & tags, and not breaking down each comment status)
  • Your WordPress version & active theme (removing the number of widgets)

WordPress Dashboard (3.8) - Right Now

WordPress News / Plugins / WordPress Blog

The Dashboard contained 3 widgets that displayed information about WordPress news & plugins. That has now been condensed into 1 widget. In 3.7:

The WordPress 3.8 Dashboard condensed all of these into 1 widget called “WordPress News.” Both feeds are included, and now only 1 popular plugin is displayed (removing the newest plugin).

WordPress Dashboard (3.8) - News/Plugins

QuickPress / Recent Drafts / Quick Draft

WordPress 3.7 had 2 widgets related to Drafts.

  • Recent Drafts – displayed up to 5 of your latest posts saved as drafts
  • QuickPress – a mini form to use for publishing (or drafting) ideas quickly, without going all the way into the “New Post” screen

The WordPress 3.8 Dashboard has condensed these into one, and renamed it “Quick Draft.” The form is displayed at the top of the widget, and no longer allows you to actually publish the content. You can only save it as a draft. Below the quick draft form, your most recent drafts will be listed, with links to go to the edit screen.

WordPress Dashboard (3.8) - Drafts/QuickPress

Recent Comments / Activity

You used to see a “Recent Comments” widget that would display up to 5 of your most recent blog comments. WordPress 3.8 has removed this widget, and added an “Activity” widget. This new widget includes:

  • Posts/Pages that are scheduled to publish soon
  • Posts/Pages that have recently been published (up to 5)
  • Recent comments (up to 5), with links to approve, spam, etc.
  • Links to each comment status type, so you can view all comments that need approval, or delete spam comments

This new activity widget is supposed to more closely mimic that of a news feed, and truly show what the “Right Now” widget didn’t show in 3.7. Truth be told, it still has a long way to go. But this is a step in the right direction.

WordPress Dashboard (3.8) - Comments/Activity

Site Stats

If you have the Jetpack plugin installed, and enabled the Site Stats module, you also see Site Stats on your Dashboard. No changes have been made to this widget, but you will notice the fonts have been updated to match the new UI.

WordPress Dashboard (3.8) - Site Stats

Incoming Links

The “Incoming Links” widget was reportedly broken in 3.7 (and many versions prior). This was completely removed in 3.8. You probably won’t even notice it’s gone.

WordPress Dashboard - Incoming Links Removed

Adding Custom Dashboard Widgets

The process for adding custom Dashboard widgets has been updated, as well as the code for removing the new widgets that were introduced. There are several new functions introduced to access the new widgets. There are no Codex pages as of yet, but you can use the Dashboard Widgets API, and look through the source code for the following functions:

WordPress 3.8 Dashboard Widget API Functions

Dave Warfel

LinkedIn  •  X (Twitter)Dave has been working with WordPress since 2011. He's built 100s of client sites and almost a dozen of his own. He's tested almost every plugin you can think of, hosted with at least 10 different companies, and gone down every SEO rabbit hole you can imagine. When's he's not tinkering with new software, you'll find him in the mountains of Colorado, trail running, summiting peaks, and rippin' downhills on his mountain bike. 🏔️🏃🚴🤸

7 responses to “WordPress 3.8 Dashboard Changes”

  1. Wil C. Fry Avatar

    Would sure like the option (as in the previous version) to show more than 5 recent comments on the dashboard Activity module.

    1. Dave Warfel Avatar


      If you take a look in the core /wp-admin/includes/dashboard.php, on line 646, you’ll see the function that displays the recent comments. The $total_items parameter is limiting it to 5.

      I’m sure you can change that with a simple filter added to a custom plugin or your theme’s function.php file… I just can’t find documentation on how exactly to do it. Can any plugin developers help us out?

    2. Dave Warfel Avatar


      See this thread on how to get more than 5 recent comments back into your Dashboard Activity widget.

  2. jess Avatar

    Great post here, thanks for sharing! Super stoked about this new UI. Amazing what a difference it makes. Cheers!

  3. James Lehmann Avatar

    Is there any way to bring back the detail which used to appear in the “Right Now”/”Site Content” box? ( see ) I’ll admit that the left-hand column was pretty much useless, but I was pretty dependent on the right-hand column to see at a glance how many pending comments and spam comments I had. I’m sure that information can be found somewhere else, but I miss seeing it as the first thing in the dashboard.

    1. Dave Warfel Avatar


      I don’t have any code to help you create a custom widget to show that info again, but you could create a dashboard widget using the Dashboard Widgets API (

      Also, in case you missed them, you can get number of spam comments & number of pending comments at the bottom of your “Activity” widget (screenshot). And if you use Akismet, number of spam comments is displayed in the “At A Glance” widget, as well (screenshot).

  4. Chris Avatar

    The Recently Published section under Activity, the LINKS “Seemingly” to the Recently Published Posts, are just to the wp-admin area.. is this a bug? It really seems like one. And quick fixes?

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