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WordPress Dashboard Overview

The Dashboard

The dashboard is the first screen that you will see once you log into the backend of your WordPress site. There are several things here to be aware of.

The dashboard contains the following:

  • Toolbar
  • Dashboard Menu
  • Screen Options
  • Help
  • At a Glance
  • Quick Draft
  • Activity


While In the Dashboard

At the top of the page you have the Toolbar. This is a quick way to get to any other sites that you have via the My Sites dropdown at the top left. From your Site Name you can view your site. New allows you to quickly start a new news item, page, or content block.

On the right hand side “Howdy, username” is a quick way to access your profile or to logout. You can access these options by hovering your mouse over the “Howdy” text.

While Viewing Your Site

If you view your site while logged in you will notice that you still have access to the Toolbar at the top of the page.

NOTE: If you are logged in and do not see the Toolbar, simple refresh your page (this is done by hitting F5 on a Windows machine or Command+R on a Mac or you can use your browser’s refresh option).

While viewing your site, you will notice a few more options on the Toolbar: Site Name, Customize and Edit Page. Under your Site Name, instead of a dropdown to view your site you now have quick links back to the Dashboard, Widgets and Menus. Customize will take us to a screen where you can quickly change the Header Image, Menus and Widgets. This will allow you to quickly change out the top graphic for Department themes. Edit Page will open the page that you are viewing so that you can quickly make changes.

NOTE: The Toolbar and Edit Page options can be used instead of the search options on All Pages. If you have a large site and need to make changes to a specific page, it may be easier to login to your site, visit the url of the page you intend to edit and select Edit Page from the top Toolbar than to try to locate the page in All Pages.

Dashboard Menu

Dashboard menuOn the left-hand side of the Dashboard is the Dashboard Menu. This menu will appear on every page while you are in the Dashboard. This is where you will find all the options to update and configure your site.

Hovering your mouse over each of the main menu options will display a submenu with various choices for that menu option. Once you click on a main menu option, that particular menu will expand to show additional options within that section (if there are any).

Dashboard Menu Options

This is where you can easily return to the dashboard or view additional sites you may have access to (if applicable).

This is where you can create a new News Post. You can also create and update your Categories and Tags. For more information see our Creating a News Post tutorial.

This is where all your uploaded images, documents and PDFs are stored. You can browse through your Media Library, edit and update the files.

This is where you create and maintain all your pages.

Content Blocks
This is where you can create and update your current Content Blocks. Content Blocks are useful for information that needs to be repeated across several pages. This allows you to update the information in one area instead of across multiple pages. You can create a Content Block with and then place it into the Page or Post using the button above your content area.

This screen leads to the Contact Form 7 plugin, which allows you to create a new contact form or edit current forms. You can view information on creating a contact form above your current forms under Get Started or you can view the Getting Started with Contact Form 7 page.

NOTE: You will need to know some basic HTML to format the form and email.

This is where you customize your site. You can manage your Widgets and Menu and update your header graphics (in the department theme).

This screen lists all the existing users for your site, and allows you to update your profile. If you need additional users added to your site, please contact your Content Owner.

This gives you access to available tools as well as the option to export your content.

This plugin allows you to create slideshows.. There is a screen that tells you how to get started and another that shows you how to create or edit your current slideshows.

NOTE: The DisplayBuddy plugin is where College Theme editors will go to change out the images for their frontpage banner and their frontpage announcements in the bottom right corner.

Contact Form DB (if applicable)
This shows any captured information from Contact Form 7.

Video Tutorials
On this screen are several short videos that cover the basics of using WordPress including Creating a New Post, Creating and Editing Pages, and Using the Media Library.

Collapse Menu
This option will hide the menu and only display their icons instead. Clicking the small arrow icon again will expand the menu back to its original size.

Screen Options and Help


Below the Toolbar at the top right are the Screen Options and Help tabs. Clicking either of these options will cause a panel to slide down from the top of the page. Screen Options allows you to show or hide different modules depending on the screen on which you are currently working. Help opens up to offer some additional information and links back to WordPress Documentation and Support.

At a Glance

The At a Glance module provides a quick summary of the number of Posts and Pages on your site along with a link that will take you to the related screen to manage that content.

Storage Space will show you how much space your site is using and the amount and percentage of used space.

NOTE: If you use all of your allotted space, you will be unable to upload any new images or documents until you free up some space. Remember to resize your images, compress your PDFs and optimize your Word documents to keep file sizes down. View our page on how to reduce your media library usage.

Quick Draft

The Quick Draft module allows you to quickly and easily write a new draft of a News Post. Enter your desired title and content and click Save Draft. This will save a draft version of your News Post. You can then go in and add any additional content or images before publishing the New post.


This module shows any upcoming scheduled or recently published News Posts.

Last updated: 3/24/2020