WordPress 3.1 was released in late February, and if you haven’t already upgraded, please do! If you need some help, watch my video tutorial on upgrading WordPress, or follow my illustrated instructions.
In addition to a slew of under-the-hood improvements, there are two obvious and outstanding new features that will make your life as a WordPress user soooo much easier. Today I’ll tell you about my second-favorite feature (my favorite will be the subject of tomorrow’s post).
On the outside, looking in
It’s a toolbar!
WordPress officially calls it the admin bar. It appears automagically when you’re logged in to your WordPress dashboard and you’re viewing your site:
No one sees it except for logged-in users (which probably means just you, and only when you’re logged in). Your site visitors don’t see it.
The admin bar gives you handy shortcuts to several parts of your WordPress dashboard, and a quick link to logout. And it alerts you when there are updates available so you can quickly update a plugin or two.
I used to keep two tabs open when I was editing my site — a Dashboard tab and a tab for whatever page or post I was working on. Now there’s no need for that, because I can toggle back and forth between the live site and my dashboard via the admin bar’s links.
The items in the admin bar are also contextual — different links appear depending on what page you’re viewing:
So you can edit a given page or post by clicking the appropriate admin bar link, instead of having to go to the dashboard page and then navigate to the page or post. Super-simple, and a big click-saver.
Some plugins also add items to the admin bar so you can manage them right from the front end of your site.
I’m sure I’ll discover other cool admin bar features as I use it more and more. For now, I’m just happy to cut down on the number of tabs I have open at any given time.
But I liked things the way they were!
I have heard some people say they are annoyed by the admin bar. If you’re in this camp, fortunately there’s an extremely simple way to banish it from your site.
Just go to Users –> Your Profile in your WordPress Dashboard:
…and uncheck the box next to “Show Admin Bar” that says “when viewing site.”
Of course, if what you’re really after is consistency, you could check both boxes, so the admin bar is always visible, even inside your dashboard.
It’s totally your call.
Just remember to click the blue “Update Profile ” button at the bottom of this screen (it’s not shown in this screenshot), or your changed checkboxes won’t take effect.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I’ll talk about my Very Favorite Super-Duper Thing about WordPress 3.1!