How To Use the WordPress Dashboard

If you’ve logged into WordPress even once, you’ve seen the WordPress Dashboard.

To be clear, I’m talking about the Dashboard screen — the first thing you see when you log into WordPress — not the entire WordPress admin area, which is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Dashboard.

Impatient users may click away from the Dashboard in a rush to move on to something more important like writing a post or moderating comments. That’s unfortunate because there’s quite a bit of information and functionality hidden on this under-appreciated page.

The Dashboard provides a snapshot of the current state of your WordPress website.

In this article, we’ll take a tour of the WordPress Dashboard’s main features. Along the way, I’ll provide some tips for customizing the Dashboard to meet your needs.

Note: If you’re having trouble with your WordPress login, be sure to visit our tutorial on the subject.

Dashboard Modules

The Dashboard is made up of a collection of modules that contain blocks of information about your website.

These standard modules are available on every WordPress website:

  • Welcome. If you’re just starting with WordPress, this module will help orient you to your new website. The Welcome module includes links to the most common WordPress tasks, from writing a post to customizing your theme settings. This module also includes links to training and documentation.
  • At a Glance. In the beginning, there’s not much to see here. But as your site grows, this module provides a quick overview of how many posts, pages, and comments have been published on your site. At a Glance also includes your WordPress version number.
  • Activity. This is the pulse of your website. The Activity module displays the title of the most recent posts and snippets from the latest comments. If something happened recently on your site, you’d find it listed here. Click any of the Activity links to jump right to the action.
  • WordPress News. The latest news from the WordPress world is presented in a constantly updated feed. Keep an eye on this module for news about WordPress updates and security releases.
  • Quick Draft. The Quick Draft module is the quickest way to create a new post. That being said, this feature is quite limited. It’s unlikely that most users will ever take advantage of the Quick Draft module.

Dashboard Modules Added By Plugins and Themes

Besides the standard Dashboard modules, you may see additional modules added by plugins or themes.

For example, this BackupBuddy Dashboard module shows how many edits you’ve made since your last backup.

BackupBuddy Dashboard Widget

And this Yoast SEO Dashboard module displays a summary of your post SEO scores, with links to view a list of posts that match each score.

Yoast SEO Dashboard Widget

Customizing Your WordPress Dashboard

Now that you have a better understanding of how the WordPress Dashboard works, it’s time to customize your dashboard to meet your needs.

It’s great that plugins and themes can add modules to the Dashboard. Unfortunately, those modules can become overwhelming as the Dashboard becomes cluttered with information that may not be relevant to your needs or interests.

Fortunately, it’s easy to hide what you don’t need and re-arrange the remaining modules to emphasize the information that’s most important to you.

Hiding Dashboard Modules

Click the “Screen Options” tab positioned in the upper right corner of the Dashboard page. Doing so reveals a list of checkboxes. The list includes one checkbox for each module on your Dashboard. Hiding a module is as simple as unchecking the box next to the module name.

Rearranging Dashboard Modules

To change the position of the modules on your Dashboard, simply click and drag a module to your preferred location. Use this technique to position the most important modules at the top of the screen. That way you won’t have to scroll to see important information that you might otherwise miss.

These Dashboard customizations are tied to your WordPress account. Every time you log in the Dashboard will be arranged just as you like it.

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12 thoughts on “How To Use the WordPress Dashboard”

  1. Kirk,
    Many thanks for these very useful videos.

    As someone who was new to Wordpress only a few days ago, and in a hurry to proceed, your videos are the most useful training I’ve found so far. They cover the things I need to know at this stage, are concise, well paced and well presented. I’ve watched them all!

    Thank you

  2. Very clear information – thank you. I agree with Deborah – I only wish I had found this training months ago – I would have saved so much time.

  3. I too wish I had found you long ago. I would have more site up by now. Thank you and keep up the good work.

  4. I like the few vids I watched so far, – – just wish the sound was more consistent.

    You seem to ‘trail off’ a lot when speaking.

  5. Thanks for the feedback Tom, and sorry about that. Audio quality is becoming more consistent as the videos are updated with each new version.

  6. Thank you so much for the site. It is my 2nd day on Wordpress and i am learning very fast all thanks to your videos.
    I have a question. How do i upload my picture to my profile on the site? I would like people to see it when i leave a comment. At the top left it has an ‘edit profile’ button but there is no option to upload a picture.
    Thank you in advance.

  7. Goncalo Ramos Garcia

    Hi Kirk,
    I have a blog form more than one year and I don’t have pluggins on my dashboard. How is this posible?

  8. Hi Goncalo,
    The plugin box is probably hidden. Try clicking “Screen Options” in the upper right hand corner of your screen. Check the box next to Plugins and you should see those on your dashboard.

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