The Joomla! Community Magazine™

Administrator Templates - Does your backend need an upgrade?

Written by | Tuesday, 01 November 2011 00:00 | Published in 2011 November
One of Joomla!'s best features is how easy it is to change the look and feel of a website simply by using a different template. But many users may not know that the look and feel of the backend administrator's area for a Joomla! website is also defined by a template, and backend templates can be changed just as easily as frontend templates. This article shows how to do that and also gives links to some different current free administrator templates.

Why you should consider changing your administrator template

How the Joomla backend works is probably pretty familiar to you if you are an experienced Joomla! user. But a new administrator template may simplify your backend work by adding shortcuts to common tasks, and by presenting more relevant information in the dashboard area, additional menus, or backend modules. So even if you know your way around the Joomla! backend, you might save some time by switching to a new adminstrator template. Also, you may simply enjoy the different look and feel that a different administrator template provides. That can be an important consideration if you spend a lot of time in the backend of Joomla! websites.

If you build websites for clients and leave ongoing website updates and maintenence to them, a new administrator template may help your clients to get their work done more easily as well. That can mean less customer support work for you, leaving you more time to work on more productive tasks. It can also mean you will have  happier clients who will say good things about your work to others, which can end up bringing you new clients.

How to install an administrator template

You install Joomla! administrator templates the same way as you install Joomla! extensions. There is  more than one way to do that, here is one simple way:

  1. Choose an administrator template from the provider or another trusted source, and download it in .zip format to your computer.
  2. Log in to your Joomla administrator backend.
  3. From the main horizontal menu in the upper area of any administrator backend page, choose Extensions -> Extension Manager.
  4. Click on the Browse button in the Package File section of the new page, then navigate to the location of your administrator template file, and select the .zip format administrator template file.
  5. Click on the Upload & Install button to install your Joomla administrator template.

How to change your administrator template

Follow these steps to switch your Joomla! administator template:

  1. Log in to your Joomla administrator backend.
  2. From the main horizontal menu in the upper area of any administrator backend page, choose Extensions -> Template Manager.
  3. From the Template manager page, find the dropdown box on the right side of the page labelled - Select Location -, and choose Administrator from that dropdown.
  4. A new page is displayed that lists all of your installed administrator templates. Look for the column labelled Default. Your currently selected administrator template has a gold star in that column. To use another template, click on the white star in the Default column that is in the same row as the new template you want to use. The gold star will now appear in the row of your newly selected template.

A sampling of free administrator templates

Below are are links to some free Joomla! administrator templates. Click on the links, check out their screen shots, read about their features, download them (make sure you get the proper version for your website) and give them a try to see if you like them better than the default Joomla! administrator template. It's great that these members of the Joomla! community have chosen to generously share these administrator templates, so leave a comment below to express your thanks along with your other comments!

Do you have other favorite Joomla! administrator templates? If so, leave a comment below and share what you have learned with the rest of the community about how it feels to upgrade your backend!

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Paul Orwig

Paul Orwig

Paul is a freelance web solutions provider based in Parker, Colorado, USA. He is the President of the board of directors for Open Source Matters, a former member of the Joomla! Community Leadership Team, a former Webmaster for the Joomla! community portal, and he was the founding Lead Editor for the Joomla! Community Magazine.