Customizing the Drupal 7 Dashboard
The Drupal Dashboard is an area of your site only available to you and your other administrators. It provides a quick overview of what is happening on your site. It is managed in a way that is very similar to the block structure of your user-visible site. It’s best to start with a picture of what the dashboard is:
Note that this (default) dashboard has the “Recent content”, “Search form”, and “Who’s new” blocks enabled.
Blocks are Drupal 7′s functional units. They all do a specific task, largely independent from the other blocks.
Let’s say that you would like to have other blocks in your dashboard besides the defaults. There is a way to do this. Click on the link that says “+ Customize dashboard”. You will see an area on the top of your dashboard that looks like this:
Each of those dark areas are additional blocks that you can add to your dashboard. Just grab on with your mouse and drag it to the area of the dashboard where you would like to see it, and ouila, you’ve just expanded your Drupal administrators dashboard. You can also move existing blocks around this way.
Can’t find the block you’d like in the list they gave you? Want something different than the 4 choices of additional dashboard blocks? Don’t worry, you can add them. After opening up the customization drop down, click the link that says “Add other blocks”. This will take you to an entirely other area with lots of options. Your new area looks like this:
Here you can add non-default items to your dashboard. There are three regions in the dashboard.
A region in Drupal is a layout area where you put blocks. For example, a sidebar or a header are regions of your webpage.
The three regions in the dashboard are:
- Dashboard (main) This is the large region of your dashboard. In the default theme it is on the left and takes up about 2/3 the width of the dashboard.
- Dashboard (sidebar) The other 1/3 of the width of the dashboard. This is the sidebar. It is on the right in the default theme.
- Dashboard (inactive) Remember the dark blocks we were able to drag and drop? These were in the Dashboard (inactive) region.
- - None – Not really a region, but it is what appears when a block is not assigned to a region.
If you would like to place a nonstandard block in one of the three regions, just change the drop-down box in the column “Region” to the location where you would like to see your block. You can also drag and drop the blocks around to the different regions.
Caution: Make sure you hit the “Save Blocks” button at the bottom of the screen before proceeding, or you will lose all of your changes.
Each block also has a configure button to change settings within the block itself. Every block has unique configurable settings that you can change and tweak. This is covered more extensively in my post on Drupal 7′s structure. The only thing you need to know that isn’t covered in that post is that your default theme for the dashboard is “Seven (administration theme)”.
This pretty much covers the dashboard. Like I promised, there’s not a whole lot to it and it is pretty simple. If you still have questions, chances are, someone else has the same question. Post a comment with any questions and I will be happy to help you out.