Getting to Know Your WordPress Dashboard

We see it all the time, but we don’t give much thought to it because when we log in to our WordPress install, we are on a mission to complete a specific task. Of course, I am talking about the WordPress dashboard! If you’re new to WordPress and feel overwhelmed when you first log in to your site, here’s a brief overview on how to what to expect from WordPress dashboard

What goes on in the Dashboard?

More often than not, the WordPress Dashboard is home to a lot of widgets conveying various types of information. Out of the box with a fresh install, it’s already comprised of a welcome section with quick links to various tasks, but also includes recent activity, “at a glance” content, a quick form for quickly typing up a post and setting it to draft status, and a WordPress News RSS feed.

Default WordPress Dashboard orientation
Default WordPress Dashboard orientation.

As you begin to piece together your website and install plugins, they may add their own widget areas to the Dashboard to display related information. It can get messy and overbearing quickly.

What can I do with widgets on the Dashboard?

There are three primary things you can do with the various widgets appearing on your site’s dashboard: move them around, collapse them, and remove them from display.

Moving widgets

If you click and drag your mouse on the title bar for each widget, you will find that you are able to arrange them however you like. While dragging, you’ll see an outline appear for where they will eventually end up if you were to let your mouse up. Arrangement can be made either vertically, or between the two columns. This allows you to put important information front and foremost and demote information that is not as important to you.

Dashboard widget being dragged for a new arrangement
Dashboard widget being dragged for a new arrangement.

Collapsing widgets

If you would like to temporarily hide the display of the widget but not remove the widget completely, you can collapse the display by clicking the arrow located on the right side of the title bar. To re-show the contents, simply re-click the same arrow to toggle it back into view.

"At a Glance" widget in collapsed state.
“At a Glance” widget in collapsed state.

Removing widgets

If you would like to completely remove the widget from display, freeing up the screen and removing clutter, you can do so by clicking on the Screen Options tab at the top of the page.

Screen options tab in displayed state.
Screen options tab in displayed state.

What this will do is reveal a hidden panel that will display a list of all available widgets with checkboxes next to them to toggle their displayed state. To remove any of the widgets, simply click the associated checkbox to be unchecked, and to re-add any, re-check the same checkbox.

"WordPress News" toggled to not display in Dashboard.
“WordPress News” toggled to not display in Dashboard.

Conclusion

Hopefully this quick tutorial has helped understand the WordPress Dashboard a bit more and helped your website management become a little more organized.

As you can see, there’s plenty of flexibility to customize and display only what you want to see. Have questions? Leave it in the comments! We’d love to help you out.

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