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How to Change the Admin Color Scheme in WordPress (Quick & Easy)

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Do you want to change the admin color scheme in WordPress?

Changing the color scheme of the WordPress admin lets you create a custom dashboard for you and your team. The color scheme can match the design of your brand, or just feature your favorite colors.

In this article, we’ll show you how to change the admin color scheme in WordPress easily.

How to change the admin color scheme in WordPress

Why Change the Admin Color Scheme in WordPress?

If you’re not a fan of the default admin color scheme in WordPress, then you can easily change the color scheme to something you like.

You can also change the color scheme to match the design of your WordPress theme, or even add a dark mode feature.

This can be useful if you have a membership site or online store where users can log in to your site, and want your website and admin dashboard to offer a similar experience.

You could also use a different admin color scheme for your staging site to more easily tell it apart from your live site.

That being said, let’s show you a few different ways you can change the admin color scheme in WordPress. You can use the quick links below to jump straight to the method you want to use.

How to Change the Admin Color Scheme with WordPress Default Settings

WordPress has a built in feature that lets you choose from a few predetermined color palettes for your WordPress admin dashboard.

To change the admin color scheme, simply login to your WordPress admin dashboard, and then navigate to Users » Profile.

After that, select the new color scheme in the ‘Admin Color Scheme’ section by clicking the radio button.

Select new admin color scheme

There are 9 different color schemes to choose from, including Default, Light, Modern, and more.

As you click different options, the color scheme will automatically change.

Admin color scheme change example

Once you’ve selected a color scheme you like, you need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the ‘Update Profile’ button.

Save new admin color scheme

You can also control the admin color scheme for other registered users on your WordPress website.

To do this, go to Users » All Users, and then hover over the user and click the ‘Edit’ button.

Edit user color scheme

Then, simply follow the same process as above to change the admin color scheme for that user.

Once you’re finished, make sure to click the ‘Update Profile’ button at the bottom of the page.

How to Create Custom Admin Color Schemes in WordPress

If you want even more color choices for your admin dashboard, then you can create custom color schemes and upload them to your WordPress blog.

To do this, go to the free WordPress Admin Colors website and click the ’Start Creating’ button.

Click start creating button

Then, enter a name into the ‘Color Scheme Name’ box.

This name will show up in your WordPress admin panel as a new color option.

Enter color scheme name

After that, you can fully customize your color scheme by clicking the color options in the ‘Choose your colors’ section.

To change one of the existing colors, click the color and choose your new color from the popup. You can click anywhere on the color picker, or enter a Hex code for a specific color.

Click to customize colors

Once you’re finished customizing your color scheme, click the ‘Generate Color Scheme’ button at the bottom of the page.

This will create the color scheme code that you need to add to WordPress.

Click to generate color scheme

On the next page there will be two different code files.

You need to download the CSS file and copy the code snippet and paste it into your favorite text editor. We will be adding these to your WordPress files.

Download CSS and copy PHP code

If you haven’t done this before, then check out our guide on how to copy and paste code in WordPress.

You can add the code snippet to your functions.php file or by using a code snippets plugin.

For this tutorial, we’ll use the code snippets plugin WPCode. It’s the easiest and most beginner-friendly method of adding code snippets to your WordPress site.


First, you need to install the free WPCode plugin. For more details, see our beginner’s guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you’ll have a new menu item labeled ‘Code Snippets’ in your WordPress admin bar. Clicking on it will show you a list of the code snippets you have saved on your site. Since you’ve just installed the plugin, your list will be empty.

Go ahead and click on the ‘Add New’ button to add your code snippet in WordPress.

Click the Add New Button to Add Your First Custom Code Snippet in WordPress

Next, you’ll see the ‘Add Snippet’ page. Navigate to the ‘Add Your Custom Code (New Snippet)’ option and click on the ‘Use snippet’ button.

Add your new custom code snippet in WPCode

Then, give your code snippet a name. This can be anything to help you remember the purpose of your code.

Now you can paste the snippet you copied above into the ‘Code Preview’ box. You also need to select the ‘PHP Snippet’ as the code type from the dropdown list on the right.

Name and add new code snippet

Next, you need to select the insertion method for your code snippet.

You can leave it on the ‘Auto Insert’ method, so it will automatically insert and execute the code snippet in the proper place.

Pick the insertion method for your custom code snippet

After that, toggle the switch from ‘Inactive’ to ‘Active’ and then click the ‘Save Snippet’ button in the top-right corner of the screen.

This will save the code and activate the new admin color scheme.

Save and activate your custom code snippet

Now you need to upload the CSS stylesheet you downloaded earlier to your theme directory in your WordPress hosting account.

To do this, you can use an FTP client, or the file manager option in your WordPress hosting control panel.

If you haven’t used FTP before, then you might want to check out our guide on how to use FTP to upload files to WordPress.

First, you need to connect to your website using an FTP client, or the file manager in cPanel. Once you’re connected, you need to navigate to the /wp-content folder.

Select wp-content folder FTP

Inside the wp-content folder, you will see a folder called themes. This is where WordPress stores all the themes your website uses or has used in the past.

You need to click on the themes folder, and then open up the folder for the theme you’re using.

Open themes folder and select theme

Then, upload the display.css file that you downloaded.

Your CSS file will have the name that you chose earlier.

Upload new CSS file

Note: If you change WordPress themes, then you will need to upload the CSS file to your new theme folder.

After that, navigate to Users » Your Profile.

Then, you can select the new color scheme you just created.

Select custom color scheme

If you want to use this color scheme, then make sure to click the ‘Update Profile’ button at the bottom of the page.

How to Control the Default Admin Color Scheme for New Users

When a new user creates an account, they’ll have the option to customize their color scheme. But, you may want to control the default admin color scheme or prevent users from changing the color scheme altogether.

The easiest way to do this is by using the free plugin Force Admin Color Scheme.

First, you need to install and activate the plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, navigate to Users » Profile and then select your admin color and click the ‘Force this admin color scheme on all users’ checkbox.

Check force admin color scheme checkbox

After that, click the ‘Update Profile’ button at the bottom of the page.

Now the default admin color scheme will be the same for all new and existing users on your site.

The plugin also disables the admin color scheme selector for all of your users. The only users who can change this color are those with admin access.

We hope this article helped you learn how to change the admin color scheme in WordPress. You may also want to see our expert picks on the best WordPress landing page plugins and our guide on how to choose the best domain name registrar.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

46 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Dayo Olobayo says

    I always forget the exact steps to change the color scheme but having this guide bookmarked saves me a ton of time whenever I want to refresh the look of my admin dashboard. Thank you.

  3. llarron says

    Works brilliantly! The standard colour schemes are so boring and never match brand colours this is a great addition to the back of a website and easy to do. Thanks.

  4. Puck says

    I’m trying to make this work but it won’t show up on the users panel. I followed the exact steps as shown above. Do you have any tips? :)

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you are not using it, to change everyone’s admin color scheme, you would need to use the plugin method from this guide and ensure you save changes.

      Also, if you have a caching plugin, you may want to clear your caching to ensure it updates.


    • WPBeginner Support says

      That’s perfectly fine, its a personal preference if you change the colors or not :)


  5. David Swanson says

    Spend a lot of time in wp-admin. Havn’t found away to make your own color sceme. Might need to take a weekend and create a plugin that does that with a few color wheels.

  6. 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).

  7. 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

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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 ….

    • 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.

  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. 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.

  16. 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.

    • Mark Bailey says

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

  17. 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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