Create Your Own Admin Color Scheme

May 3rd, 2008
WordPress Plugins

Here at, we have already discussed how you can change the color scheme in the WordPress 2.5 administration panel from Classic to Fresh. We have also highlighted an awesome plugin that was written by Kaspars which gives users up to 8 different color schemes to choose from. However, what if you want to create your own color scheme? Thanks to a plugin written by James Dimick called Easy Admin Color Schemes, users can now create their own flavor of the WordPress 2.5 back end.

Default Easy Admin Color Schemes

After downloading and installing the plugin, you can access it by browsing to SETTINGS-COLOR SCHEMES. There are three color schemes to start you off, Classic, Fresh and Washedout. The plugin does not allow you to delete nor edit the Classic and Fresh color schemes. This makes sense as you wouldn’t want to screw up a default skin only to have to reinstall WordPress to fix the issue. However, you can edit the Washedout color scheme which introduces you to the plugins functionality.

The plugin starts off by giving you the chance to name your color scheme. Next, give your color scheme four primary colors. If you don’t know of a six digit color code, there is a small arrow to the right of the text field that will open up a color picker. Opening the color picker and then selecting a color will automatically place the corresponding color code into the text field.

Creating your own color scheme

Once you have your four primary colors in order, the next step which is the longest of them all is to go through all of the CSS specific code and change the color code values to something else you prefer. There at least 10 different CSS files which make up the styling of the administration panel. There are more if you want to include support for RIGHT TO LEFT text. This plugin takes all of those CSS files and puts them in one place for you to edit, which makes things so much easier. Also, for those who have javascript enabled in their browser, you can view a live preview of what the changes will look like on an active WordPress administration page. Very handy as it cuts down on the browser refreshes.

One thing that I think this plugin is missing is an easy way for users to share their creations. If a download or save link could be added to the color schemes which would automatically package the necessary files together which could then be saved to my desktop for distribution, this would make the plugin a home run.

If you are looking at adding some spice to your WordPress back end, give this plugin a try. I don’t think it could be any easier than this plugin. The only problem with creating a color scheme is figuring out where each CSS class or DIV is defined. That’s where FireBug comes in.

Good luck and if you happen to create a color scheme using this plugin, be sure to say so in the comments.




  1. James Dimick (23 comments.) says:

    Wow! I don’t think I could have even described my plugin that well. :P Great writeup! And thanks for featuring me! :D

    Your idea about being able to export schemes was actually an idea I had when I was making the plugin. I just wasn’t sure how I should go about it. I could set it up so it outputs it in plugin form (which is how it has to be for it to work with WordPress on it’s own). Or I could just export the raw CSS which then could maybe be imported back into my plugin via an upload feature or some such method. With that approach though the user on the receiving end of the scheme would have to either know how to make it into a plugin themselves or have to download my plugin (unless they already have it). Or even worse, somehow edit the core WordPress files so that scheme is used.

    So, I’m not entirely sure… Or, what if I added the ability for both? You could choose to export the scheme for use with my plugin OR a stand-alone version which outputs it as it’s own WordPress plugin.

    If I could get some feedback on what the desired method for implementing such a feature would be, I would be very happy to make it happen. I think it’s a wonderful idea!

    Again, thanks for talking about my plugin. I created it so people can easily utilize the new color scheme features in WordPress. Without the plugin, the color scheme functions aren’t exactly that useful to the not-so-technical among us. My plugin hopefully helps in that area somewhat.

  2. Neil (30 comments.) says:

    Great job folks ;)

  3. selif (1 comments.) says:

    I upgraded a test blog to 2.5 and I think that this is a good step in the right direction. Thing is, I don’t get why they had to go changing the layout of the Admin pages in the first place. Yeah, I’ll appreciate being able to put the colors back the way they were but what I’d really appreciate even more is the ability to change the layout of the admin pages back to what they were in 2.3.3. This one flaw in the new version is the biggest deal breaker in the upgrade department. I’ll eventually have to do it but I’m going to keep liking the idea less and less until there’s an Admin theme that can make 2.5 look like 2.3.3

  4. Dalton (1 comments.) says:

    Interesting… I wish I had known about this last week when I built a custom plugin just to change my admin color scheme! It would have made my work a lot easier.

  5. Alejandro Martínez (3 comments.) says: is better =)

  6. Robert (1 comments.) says:

    Has anyone created a WordPress theme based off of 2.5 admin? I love the new look and feel.

  7. John (35 comments.) says:

    Just… what… I… always… wanted… … ?!?

  8. Michel (3 comments.) says:

    Great plugin! :-)

    Still, as many others, I am waiting for a good, reliable way to change the whole WP Admin look & feel back to 2.3.3. I don’t like 2.5.x Admin and there thousands of other users of WP which do not like it, too.

    Some things in 2.5 are better, actually, but the ‘Write’ page (Write new post/page) is almost terribly redesigned. Categories and Tags at the bottom, un-needed scrolling up & down, empty sidebar, reduced screen size, inability to re-arrange the panels (tags, categories, date&time, etc.)… the list is endless…

    Currently, you cannot actually create an Admin WP theme, which can safely put categories & tags to the sidebar, or make re-arrangement of panels again available. You’d have to edit core files, to achive this, and this ain’t a good idea…

    And looks like Matt & Co. do not like the idea of putting cats & tags to the sidebar, as a few bugs/enhancement requests, which were related to this, were simply deferred…

  9. James Dimick (23 comments.) says:

    Hey Jeff and everyone, I just updated the plugin to version 2.0. The plugin now has import/export functionality and I have also fixed several bugs. Please give the new version a shot and see if it works. Let me know what y’all think. :)


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