New Plugin Reorders the WordPress Admin Menu Using Drag-and-Drop

reorder-admin-menu

Every WordPress administrator has different needs when navigating the admin. For example, one may require frequent access to the Posts menu and rarely touch the Appearance menu. Another admininistrator may have a certain custom post type that is accessed more frequently than any other menu item.

In some cases plugin developers take their liberties placing their menu items at the very top of the admin. Jetpack is a prime example of a plugin that assumes preeminence above Posts, Media, Comments, and other more frequently used publishing items.

Admin Menu Manager is a new plugin that allows you to take control of the admin and order menu items to suit your workflow. The plugin, created by Pascal Birchler and the folks at required+, adds a simple drag-and-drop interface for decluttering and reordering menu items.

As you can see in the demo, Admin Menu Manager allows you to drag menu items from top level to a sub-menu or pull sub-menus out to top level for easier access. The plugin is unobtrusive and doesn’t require its own settings page.

“I got the idea for this particular plugin when I stumbled upon a similar one that used a drag and drop interface just for reordering menu items,” Birchler said. After searching for other comparable solutions for the admin, he decided to take it one step further and produce a proof-of-concept. The result was a useful new plugin.

“I learned that such side projects are great for adapting new technologies and digging deeper into WordPress,” he said. “This is already my third plugin leveraging Backbone.js in my first three months working at required+. Before that I had no idea how to use this library.

“Also, I now know that the WordPress admin menu can be quite a mess. I mean, there aren’t even unit tests for it. I’ll see how I can change that in core.”

Birchler said he counts himself lucky that his employer offers him time to work on open source projects. Before he started at required+, the company had no plugins listed on WordPress.org. Now they are up to five after polishing up a few that were lying dormant on GitHub for awhile.

Version 1 of Admin Menu Manager is now available on WordPress.org and the team is working on adding the following features to version 2:

  • Completely remove (and restore) menu items
  • Edit existing menu items and their icons
  • Add custom items to the admin menu

In its current state, the plugin is a good option for re-arranging the admin to suit a client’s needs or for simply getting Jetpack and other less-frequently used menus out of your way.

New users often complain about how confusing the WordPress admin can be, especially when many active plugins are adding their own top-level menus. With the features promised in version 2, Admin Menu Manager has the potential to become a solid tool for decluttering the admin.

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17 Comments


  1. Great, I have experienced themes with lots of menus added to the standards built-in and it´s a mess. I will do use it.

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  2. You can drag-n-drop the metaboxes. Why not the menu? I’m surprised this hasn’t been done before as it meets such an obvious need. This should be a core feature.

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  3. Will have to check this one out for sure. I am a bit torn on it….

    On one hand, great to organize your dashboard to better suit your own needs and workflow

    On the other hand, if someone takes it upon themselves to rearrange the menus, hands it over to a newbie without letting them know, and then they go to some tutorial that shows them some totally different, well, another layer of confusion. Especially if one is removed.

    Carefully used, it will be a very good plugin.

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  4. I installed and activated it, but can’t seem to drag and drop anything…..

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    1. That seems strange, do you have any plugins installed that might already alter the admin menu? Could you please open an issue on either Github or WordPress.org in the forums?

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  5. @Marko

    Hardly an option. Hasn’t been updated in over a year.

    Requires: 3.8 or higher
    Compatible up to: 3.8.7
    Last Updated: 2014-3-30
    Active Installs: 500+

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  6. @Marko @Ron This plugin was an inspiration for mine, but it really only does reordering, nothing more. You can’t move items to sub level or vice-versa. You can’t add custom items nor remove them.

    Plugins like Admin Menu Editor do have such features, but not such a nice UI.

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  7. Great idea for a plugin, anything that will make life easier for the end user – like ordering the menu items more logically – can only be a good thing. Will road test it later.

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  8. I *wanted* to love this, but after installing it, I’ve tried NUMEROUS times to re-order things, but they simply won’t stay in place after saving. And now, the last two times I’ve tried to reorder again, the “save” link extends past the bottom of the browser window, and I can’t scroll any farther down to click on it. Seems a bit buggy. Will keep it installed in case it’s updated. Thanks! :)

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    1. I was made aware of a bug with reordering sub level items on the support forums and added a fix to the development version.
      WordPress automatically sticks the admin menu under some circumstances, which annoys me as well. I think I can fix that too :-)

      Give me another week or two to finish version 2.0!

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  9. Very handy if you have a theme or plugin that adds a lot of menus that you probably don’t need at the top!

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