How-To: Configure WordPress Dashboard Layout Columns

Jan 10, 2015Blogging & Content4 comments

[mashshare]
This issue is one that has been bugging me for weeks. WordPress 4.1 recently came out, and with it no ability to configure the number of columns in the admin dashboard layout. That means you’re still stuck with a 4-column layout. Well, that is, unless you change it yourself. Here’s an easy way to update the WordPress dashboard layout columns to exactly the number of columns you want. As always, be sure to back up your site before making these modifications – just in case.Disclaimer: I am not a developer, but I am a tinkerer. I had a problem and I found a solution that I hope helps others frustrated with this issue.

Step 1 – Locate your Theme Functions (functions.php) file

Edit WordPress Theme Functions.phpThe ability to edit some themes may be limited, depending on the theme and your install. Typically the functions.php file is editable by going to Appearance | Editor in the WordPress navigation bar on the left.

Step 2 – Add this code to your functions.php file

The following code will allow you to configure the number of columns on your WordPress dashboard. The default is four (4), but you can set it to 1, 3, 5 or any other number:// force to 1 or 2-column dashboard function shapeSpace_screen_layout_columns($columns) { $columns['dashboard'] = 2; return $columns; } add_filter('screen_layout_columns', 'shapeSpace_screen_layout_columns');function shapeSpace_screen_layout_dashboard() { return 2; } add_filter('get_user_option_screen_layout_dashboard', 'shapeSpace_screen_layout_dashboard');

Step 3 – Set your desired number of columns

There are two pieces to the code above that control how many columns display:$columns['dashboard'] = 2; – this line sets the number of columns recognized by the system.function shapeSpace_screen_layout_dashboard() { return 2; } – this line displays the appropriate number of columns on the dashboard.Both of the above lines should be set to the same number of columns. If you want to display 3 columns, set both to 3. If you’d prefer a single column, set both to 1 (etc). Setting these to different numbers shouldn’t break your site, but you may have widgets “disappear” if these settings differ from each other.Pro Tip: If you’re going to reduce the number of columns you display on your WordPress Dashboard, move all of your existing widgets into that number of columns before you make the above changes. It shouldn’t be catastrophic if you don’t, but you may have to re-add widgets to your Dashboard if you don’t.

The End Result + Child Theme Note

The end result of these configuration changes should be exactly the number of columns that you want in the WordPress admin dashboard. See below as an example.Admin Dashboard 2 Column LayoutIt should be noted that making a code change directly to a WordPress theme may have consequences. If the theme is updated by the developer, the column layout code may be over-written. You’d have to repeat the steps above every time the theme is updated. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to apply the changes to a WordPress child theme instead.

What do you think?

Do you have WordPress admin dashboard configuration tips to share? Be sure to leave a comment below!

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