20 Incredibly Useful Themes and Plugins to Boost your Admin Area

December 7th, 2008

Sometimes we just want to get our WordPress Admin area to look neat and professional just to add a bit more functionality and enhance the way we use it. In this case, WordPress Admin themes and plugins come to the rescue. Here are 20 WordPress Admin themes and plug-ins that expand the functionality of the admin area specially if design isn’t your primary skill set.

Of course WordPress 2.7 comes with a huge number of changes, a good chunk of them making some older plugins redundant. However some of us might need time to upgrade, until the vital plugins that we depend on gets upgraded too to be compatible with the new release.

If you need to create your own Admin WordPress theme you might find this post useful.

This post was the first request we receive regarding a post idea one of great readers wanted us to work on. We are looking for creative ideas – e.g. designs trends etc. Any suggestion is always welcomed.

So let’s get started and don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS-Feed and visit my twitter page : nourayehia if you want to follow to keep track on our last post in this series.

WordPress Administration Theme

1. Fluency

WordPress Administration Theme

A very clean WordPress admin theme created by “Dean Robinson” with a smooth grey color scheme, menus rearranged, main menus down left, sub menus across the top, support for several popular plugins including Ozh’s Admin Drop Down menus and NextGEN Gallery. Fluency only works with CSS2 compliant browsers (Firefox and Safari – and IE8!) at the moment.

2. Leopard Admin

WordPress Administration Theme

Inspired by Mac OSX Leopard, uses the power and flexibility of CSS to overlay the style on top of the original design.

3. iPhone / Mobile Admin

WordPress Administration Theme

Mobile Admin adapts the WordPress admin UI to be more friendly to mobile devices, specifically phones. The iPhone / iPod Touch browser was the first target, but most other mobile browsers are supported at a basic level, and plugins can be used to customize for specific browsers where desired.

4. JP Admin

WordPress Administration Theme

The Stylish Blue theme keeps the same default admin structure. Having a nice dark blue color scheme.

5. Planet X7

WordPress Administration Theme

Planet X7 WordPress Admin Theme A dark blue, white and yellow (link) theme compatible with Opera, Firefox, Internet Explorer 7 and, Internet Explorer 6 (there will be a few little problems in ie6).

6. WPhone

WordPress Administration Theme

Looking to manage your WordPress install via your phone. It creates an option while logging in to replace the default admin interface with one designed for your phone.

7. Easy Admin Color Schemes

WordPress Administration Theme

The Easy Admin Color Schemes plugin allows users to easily customize the colors of the administration interface for WordPress. It works by adding a new page to the Settings area in the WordPress admin interface. Users can use the simple form to change the look of the admin interface without needing to know a great deal about WordPress.

8. WordPress admin themer

WordPress Administration Theme

With the WordPress admin themer plugin, you can change that, and not touch a single line of your WordPress code.

9. Js Style Admin + Drop Menus

WordPress Administration Theme

This Admin theme is based on the SpotMilk Admin. With a drop down menu, available in 2 colors: blue and green.

WordPress Administration Plugin

10. Admin Management Xtended

WordPress Administration Theme

Adds some icons to the posts/pages management panel with AJAX-driven CMS-known functions like toggling post/page visibility, changing publication date and title without having to open the edit screens or reload the page, plus changing page order with drag’n’drop, inline category management and inline tag management, plus much more.

11. Dashboard Editor

This plugin allows you to add whatever you want to the WordPress dashboard through PHP and HTML even Sidebar Widgets. You can also wipe the entire dashboard or individually remove some of the more irritating sections like the Dev news, Planet WordPress and the getting started section.

12. Custom Write Panel

Custom Write Panel provides the functionality to create individual write panels similar to “Write Post” panel only with customized input fields. This plugin allows adding new input fields with a specific type. The following are the supported types.

13. Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu

WordPress Administration Theme

All admin links available in a neat CSS driven drop down menu. No need to click on “Manage” then “Pages” to edit pages, go to any admin page from any admin page.

14. Simple Tags

WordPress Administration Theme

This is a perfect tool to manage perfeclty your WP 2.3 and 2.5 tags

15. Lighter Menus

WordPress Administration Theme

Lighter Menus creates Drop Down Menus instead of the regular Admin menus for WordPress, so that you can browse items with one click. Fast to load, adaptable to color schemes, Lighter Menus comes with silk icons, a option page, and a design that fits within the WordPress interface taking the less room possible.

16. Category Selector Back to the Sidebar

WordPress Administration Theme

Removes that advanced category selector below the write panel. Adds a primitive category selector to the sidebar.

17. Pre-Publish Reminders

A simple reminder plugin that could be used from the administration panel within WordPress. Your reminders are input through the WordPress administration interface, and you can format them in a variety of ways. When displaying the reminders, each reminder has a checkbox that you can check to mark that you’ve completed that item.

18. WordPress Tweaks Plugin

This multi-purpose plugin specializes in simple toggle-on/off changes. It adds many useful settings pertaining to comments, posts, SEO, security, the administration back-end, and much more. Some tweaks can even replace plugins that you may already have installed.

19. WP-CMS

WP-CMS is a plugin for WordPress that changes the functionality of the WordPress admin backend to act more like a CMS. The blog functionality becomes optional and the focus is on writing pages to make WordPress as user friendly for you and your clients as possible.

20. Adminimize

Visually compresses the administratrive header so that more admin page content can be initially seen. Adminimize is a WordPress plugin that lets you hide ‘unnecessary’ items from the WordPress administration menu, submenu and even the ‘Dashboard’, with forwarding to the Manage-page. On top of that, you can also hide post meta controls on the Write page and other areas in the admin-area and Write-page, so as to simplify the editing interface.

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56 comments for „20 Incredibly Useful Themes and Plugins to Boost your Admin Area
  1. Nachtmeister on December 7th, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Very Nice list. But some things are already realized in the WordPress 2.7 Beta.

    But thanks for this list. I didn’t know that there is so much stuff for the admin interface.

  2. amit on December 7th, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    “iPhone / Mobile Admin” plugin doesn’t work with WordPress anymore. I have v2.6.5 on my test install & tried to activate the plugin but wordpress says it has fatal error & can’t activate the plugin!

  3. Chris on December 7th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Nachtmeister is right, this is a great list, but 2.7 is imminent, and will negate the need for many of these plugins. The new admin panel is so different that many of these plugins will likely not work.

  4. Noupe on December 7th, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Of course WordPress 2.7 comes with a huge number of changes to make some older plug-ins redundant. However some of us might need time to upgrade, until our kind plug-in authors upgrade their plug-ins to be compatible with the new release.

  5. Cory on December 7th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    I can not wait to unleash some of these great features on my blog. The one Pre-Publish Reminders plug in install sounds very useful, specially when i have tons of custom fields to add before publishing :)

  6. Brandon on December 7th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Very cool. I rarely think about my admin area but want to try a few of these things on for size.

  7. Burnman on December 7th, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    The 2.7 RC1 admin interface is a whole new bag of apples compared to the old one, and the “production release” is nearly hear. I would spend some time doing some research to see which plugins & themes you already have are compatible before you consider adding any more. :)

  8. BeBizzy on December 7th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Love the themes. Always hated the default look to WP. I agree that many of the plugins will not be necessary when the next version comes out, but I have learned to wait on releases until it becomes stable.

  9. Free Xbox 360 Games on December 7th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    These are awesome. Thanks a lot.

  10. charles on December 7th, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    I’m still looking for a better way to upload multiple pics and movies. Maybe even a flv converter for the admin section. Well I can dream can’t I

  11. insicdesigns on December 7th, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    awesome list. good job.

  12. Alison on December 7th, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    this was a very very useful post. I applaud you on this. THANK YOU!

  13. Earl Grey on December 7th, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    If you add all these plugins your wordpress will crawl to a slow speed.
    You have to be careful you dont overcomplicate something thats very simple.

  14. Hidden Pixel on December 7th, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Good one…

  15. Harris on December 7th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    This is a completely useless list. Just download WordPress 2.7. It’s faster to do just about anything. Plus, there’s a WordPress app for the iphone, so you don’t need one of these other stupid things.

  16. Frank on December 8th, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Yes, Adminimize works with WP 2.7 and you can use the samller deisgn of WP with the same colors. It give a little bid more functions in WP 2.7 with this plugin.

  17. kiran on December 8th, 2008 at 3:49 am

    Good post.Thanks you very much for the nice information.

  18. erichansa on December 8th, 2008 at 4:15 am

    Hmm, this may be out of date considering the recent WordPress update, which did change a fair amount of the admin panel.

  19. beetFreeQ on December 8th, 2008 at 5:08 am

    Well, this list would have been a good idea some months ago, but now, only a few days before the launch of WP 2.7 it’s not really useful anymore. Many of the functions are already implemented in 2.7 and others won’t work anymore, especially the themes I guess.

    Also you should have checked, if the mentioned plugins work in 2.6 or 2.5 because you listed some, that haven’t been updated for more than a year and aren’t working anymore…

  20. Pavan Kumar on December 8th, 2008 at 6:47 am

    Ozh Admin Drop Down Menu won’t work for wordpress 2.7, also it is not needed. I expect the same case with all drop down menus as the navbar of wp 2.7 is shifted to left rather than the top area…

  21. Kris on December 8th, 2008 at 6:53 am

    Cool. Thanks for the list :)

  22. andol on December 8th, 2008 at 7:22 am

    it better to post another post to illustrator how to change default wp administration theme.

  23. Steven Frechette on December 8th, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Good post.Thanks you very much for the nice information…

  24. Christopher Ross on December 8th, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Thanks, these are awesome suggestions! I use the first for my own blog, it’s a lot more efficient than the default theme but here’s hope for 2.7 :)

  25. bonik on December 8th, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Cool. Thanks for the list..

  26. Scott on December 8th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Where the heck is blogengine.NET?

  27. Chadwick on December 8th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Very interesting info – im new to it so any info is great. Thanks

  28. Rick on December 8th, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Just a heads up. Ozh’s drop-down menu plugin seems to break apart in 2.7, at least in release candidate version 1.

  29. Jeromy on December 8th, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Great list! Thanks!

    I have been trying to figure out how to make my theme more user friendly. I have found some paid themes out there that offer back end functionality that, it seems, some of these plugin deliver. The one that came highly recommended is semiologic pro. It has a price tag of $300 and I just can’t afford to spend that.
    I am really looking for some way to take my blog to the next level of presentability and profesionalizm but have been quite challenged.

    I have a question I wonder if anyone can shed some light on. We all know WordPress is one of the best Blog platforms. But I have been seeing some other applications that I am trying to figure out. Joombla, Mambo, ect, CMS. These seem like great tools but I just haven’t been able to fully understand there application.
    Would a CMS be used to manage a WordPress Blog, or replace it?
    Another question that comes to mind,
    With WordPress and the host of plugins and such, can one put together (with little techi skill) a working theme that has the features and such of a paid premium theme? I am very much at the point of redoing my blog and I am trying to think of the best way to start. Now that I have considerably more experience with all this Jazz, I thought I would take care to set it up the best way I can.

    Cheers! And thanks for providing Kick Ass Webdeveloper help!

    Jeromy (AKA Hillbilly)

  30. Apam on December 8th, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks for the list. Previously I use #15 but now I use #13. 8)

  31. Espen Liland on December 9th, 2008 at 1:32 am

    Sweet list. I found at least two that will, provided they can keep what they promise, make life a little bit simpler for me. And yes, many of these won’t be working with WP 2.7 and perhaps even become redundant, but remember; some of us have clients on the 2.6 branch that will remain there unless they suddenly feel the urge to pay for further upgrades.

    PS! The link in the headline at #18 is wrong :O

  32. Deca on December 9th, 2008 at 7:25 am

    This is a nice list. I will definitely be using it later on. Thanks!

  33. Jamis on December 9th, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Thanks for the list. Previously I use #15 but now I use #13!!

  34. Dainis Graveris on December 10th, 2008 at 10:48 am

    very unique themes and plugins, pretty useful – thanks!

  35. Ewout on December 11th, 2008 at 2:51 am

    Great article! Thanks!

  36. Dean Robinson on December 11th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Just a note on Fluency, the current versions (1.x), won’t work with the new WP2.7. I’ve mostly finished v2.0 and it should be released on 12/12.

  37. Patareco on December 11th, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for this!

  38. Nuoc hoa on December 11th, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    I’m trying these plugin.
    Thank you very much

  39. reezluv on December 15th, 2008 at 1:15 am

    thanks..useful links

  40. Buzzchewan on December 20th, 2008 at 3:26 am

    Thanks for these plugins.

    The best i found is :

    1- Intsall Fluency admin
    2- Intsall OZH admin drop down menu

    The combinaison of two are really cool.

  41. Erik on December 20th, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for this!!!

  42. rizzy on December 22nd, 2008 at 6:38 am

    Actually I like the current Admin theme better then any of the above.

  43. alizee on December 24th, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Thanks for these plugins.

    The best i found is :

    1- Intsall Fluency admin
    2- Intsall OZH admin drop down menu

    The combinaison of two are really cool..

  44. hal? y?kama on January 10th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    very good templates , thankssss

  45. ngan hang on January 15th, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Really like the iPhone theme.

  46. Luis Rivera on January 3rd, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Very nice the first in the list i install it and function very well in WP 2.9

  47. Nabil on July 22nd, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Too bad none of these work in WordPress 3.0…

  48. MichaelWeb on February 24th, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Nice, but I prefer to add my own administration panel to themes.
    What do you think ?

  49. Maurice on March 7th, 2011 at 4:50 am

    Awesome stuff guys, I had no idea different admin themes were available, I’ll finally be able to fix the dam maximum width ‘feautre’.

  50. Saeed Neamati on March 31st, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Great post.
    I searched Google for admin theme design training videos. But I couldn’t find anything.
    Can you also author a post about admin theme design?
    Thank you

  51. Mark on June 6th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks for the article.Wordpress is a great CMS.

  52. Michael Carter on November 2nd, 2011 at 11:22 am

    It is a good list. But the one I desperately need is WordPress admin themer. The link is broken. Does anybody know where I can download it?


  53. thedigitaldashboard on May 8th, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Awesome stuff guys, I had no idea different admin themes were available,

  54. Ashok on May 30th, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Good one.but i use 3.3 version

  55. Linesh Jose on June 2nd, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    very good designs. I like the fluency and leopard them. please check out Blue Admin,. A clear and clear admin panel theme :

  56. lee on February 5th, 2013 at 4:47 am

    I like Simple Tags