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How to Change the Admin Color Scheme in WordPress 3.8

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How to Change the Admin Color Scheme in WordPress 3.8

WordPress 3.8 introduced an entirely new WordPress dashboard design. The new design is responsive, modern, and beautiful. However some of our users did not like the dark color scheme. Well if you’re not a fan of the dark color scheme, then you’re in luck. By default WordPress comes with 8 different admin color schemes. In this article, we will show you how to change the admin color scheme in WordPress 3.8. We will also show you how to add even more admin color schemes for WordPress 3.8.

For those who haven’t updated yet, this is what the dark theme looks like:

WordPress 3.8 Dark Theme

Now if you want to change to a different color scheme, then simply go to Users » Your Profile of your WordPress admin area. There you will see total of 8 different color schemes.

Default admin color schemes in WordPress 3.8

Now to add even more admin color themes, you need to install and activate Admin Color Schemes plugin. After activating the plugin, simply go to Users » Your Profile and you will be able to see 8 additional new color schemes to choose from.

Adding more admin color scheme choices in WordPress 3.8

WordPress admin color schemes give users a way to personalize the dashboard. For users who spend a lot of time in the admin area, composing posts and moderating comments, these color schemes may bring refreshing change to the work environment.

In our company the default color scheme and the midnight color scheme seems to be the favorite. Hopefully we will get to see more admin color schemes and user interface iterations in the future. For the time being, give these color schemes a try.

Poll: which one is your favorite color scheme? Leave a comment to let us know.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Barry says:

    @maxpen:disqus did you find a solution? i want the same thing

  2. Max Pen says:

    I want to know where they store the files of each theme and how to create one.

  3. GP Diller says:

    I think it was a very juvenile move on behalf of the WordPress team to force such an unprofessional, overly trendy design trend down all their users throats without including a color scheme that somewhat resembles the normal admin interface.

    Flat design does not belong heavy interfaces like admin dashboards. These require more separation than flat design can provide. In about 5 years the designers will all look back and realize all of this and by that point the “bleeding edge” designer will be posting screenies on Dribbble of their deep designs (which somehow they’ll manage to make overly complicated).

  4. Eleanor says:

    Personal settings? I looked everywhere on the dashboard and could not find it, Weird thing is, when I click on my profile I can see the color change page flash by before the page that has Proofreading and the rest of the settings. So it’s there, just can’t access it. ~Eleanor

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Strange, did you try temporarily disabling all plugins?

      • Eleanor says:

        Yes it still does the same thing. I don’t mind the black design but would be nice if worked like it’s supposed to. ~Eleanor

  5. Justin says:

    As a plugin/theme developer, is there any way to grab the colors to apply to our plugins/theme admin panels so we can match the chosen color scheme?

  6. Peter says:

    This plugin adds one more admin color scheme, which is similar to the light grey and blue colors of old (WordPress 3.7) admin panel, strikes a balance between earlier classical view and new flat view. Makes visible menu separators between menu blocks and menu items:

  7. Rima says:

    Terrible move. Don’t fix something that ain’t broken. The light scheme is too light and the dark is too dark. I want my old color scheme back!!

    • Rudy says:

      Couldn’t agree more. The old color scheme was perfect, I totally dislike the black color in the admin menu, and the choices you have to change it aren’t good either – the grey (light scheme) is way too light. Absurd move.

    • Doug says:

      I think you missed the point…you can change them up yourself. You can go back to what you had, but let us who wanted more have the option of having more.

  8. rose reynolds says:

    i like the sunrise

  9. Giovanni M says:

    It would be great if you guys would include a “do-it yourself” solution to adding color schemes in addition of passing it off to a plugin.

    • Sheryl says:

      I agree — it’s what I had expected, given the article intro.

      Eventually I may poke around and find out for myself where I can alter the colors, and hard code in new combinations.
      For now, I just need to get some work done –now that the Default dark theme is no longer an impediment :)

      The plugin is a good midway option, although I thought the plug in would go one additional step, allowing users to create their own custom colored theme. (good use for kuler)

      To authors: Thanks for the article!
      I could not spend another moment in WP on those Default colors!!
      I hated the new theme and it wasn’t obvious how to change it.

      WP should have Defaulted to colors we are accustomed to,
      and in a prominent location, advertise where we could change it.
      Dark was so unpleasant, distracting, and difficult to read.

  10. Rob says:

    Thanks for the article. I can’t believe on WP 3.8 none of the colour options included the old colour scheme which people are used to and is far easier on the eye in my opinion. WP needs to learn if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

  11. Jenny Lens says:

    Whomever designed these color schemes needs serious lessons about eye strain, user friendliness, color theory and more. I cannot believe they totally eliminated the plain vanilla, easy to read, pleasant dashboard. They are outta their minds to think this is a good move. The last thing I want to see are horrible color schemes designed by fools who don’t understand how disturbing these colors can be to many people. I was a huge WP fan and advocate. I never stop sharing its benefits. But this is a big, bad mistake. I am stunned ….

    • Alison Foxall says:

      The “light” scheme seems to be vastly similar to the old color scheme.

    • Sheryl says:

      Black is very difficult to read..maybe if I had my screen brightness way up, the text would be more readable? But then the disturbing contrast and eye strain would also be more pronounced.

      No reason they couldn’t have given us an option closer to what everyone is accustomed to working with.

      I also chose the Only light option they presented. The other non-dark option is a possibility, but a slight downer.

  12. Benjamin Beck says:

    Exactly what I was looking to get done. Thanks for putting this up so fast!

  13. Ian Allan says:

    Yep. I LOVE the new look, but I also find it VERY frustrating. There is so little contrast in the comments area that I find it difficult to work out at-a-glance which comments I have responded to and which I haven’t. Changing the color scheme does not affect the color of comments.

    • Charles Kosman says:

      Ian, I couldn’t stand the comment color either. They definitely should have made it stand out more. Pretty simple fix is to just edit the default color.min.css file.

      Search for #fefaf7 in wp-admin/css/colors.min.css and change with #FFFF88 in both locations. #FFFF88 is an easy to see yellow but you can put any color you want in there.

      Hope that helps anyone looking for a quick fix. If you’re using a different color theme (for example Midnight) then the css file will be in wp-admin/css/colors/midnight/colors.min.css.

      • Sheryl says:

        Thank You!!

        Notice that the admin bar that appears at the top of our website when we are logged in does Not Change to reflect the chosen theme. It remains black no matter what:( I expect it to be the background color of our chosen admin theme.

  14. Brook Acklom says:

    Sorry, I don’t like any of the new schemes at all. I have a top-of-the-range 24″ HiRes monitor fed by a good graphics card and get severe colour fringing on most text in the dashboard.

    PLEASE let’s have a plain, old-fashioned Black, White + shades of grey option.

    The old colour scheme was much better IMHO.

  15. Eden Chen says:

    Good post,

  16. Sean Davis says:

    I kind of love this part of the new update. Midnight is my favorite one at the moment.

  17. Aksam Zarook says:

    Its great wordpress is improving and keeping up with current trends like flat design and mobile browsing. But I think they should have left a option for us to continue using the old color scheme and look. I have used wordpress as the cms for several clients and trained them and made user manual with browser shots of the admin panel for them. Now this update is forcing us to change the admin look of these client’s without any option. The even the closest available color schemes and look is too different than the 3.7.1 look. I don’t think my clients will like a change like this thrust on them.

  18. adolf witzeling says:

    Nice! My favorite One is the “Flat Theme”. How about a tutorial how to create your own color scheme? WP Beginner Rocks! Keep it up.

  19. Alan says:

    Not for the beginner, but if you want to set the default scheme for all new users (we choose midnight by coincidence) across your site or multi-site, its fairly simple infact just a couple of lines of code.

    I documented that here on my blog

    • Mark Bailey says:

      Alan, thank you! That is exactly what I was hoping to find in this article…how to set the default!

  20. jennifer hyndman says:

    I went to the dashboard, and then to ‘users’, but the colors were not under ‘my profile’ for me, they were under ‘personal settings’.

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