screen options

Screen Options Feature in WordPress

So what is that Screen Options tab at the top of most pages in WordPress? It’s not really too intrusive, but what does it do exactly? Well, for those of you who have not been daring enough to click the little guy, I am going to cover what that little tab does.

Before I begin, I want to make it clear that different pages have different options inside the “Screen Options” tab. It only makes sense that you don’t have the same options in the Media window as you do in the Posts or Pages window. So keep in mind that we will be covering a lot of different options in different windows, but the only way to really know and understand what each one has, is to click it. Don’t worry, any changes you make can be changed back with a simple click of the mouse.

So since I am making a post about this, we will go ahead and start with the Posts screen options tab. Go ahead and open another window and navigate to your administrative back end panel. You can click on Posts and see all the posts on your site. If you click the screen options tab in the upper right hand corner, the tab will drop down to look a little something like this:
Screen Options tab on the Posts menu
You will notice that each of your posts have a few things listed after it such as author, what category it is in, tags, comments and such. Now say you are the only author on your site. You are going to be the only author, and you will probably not add another author, then why list the author for each post? You know who it already is. You! So no need to put that information in and clutter up your window. So go ahead and uncheck the box next to author. Voila! Now when you look at the same Posts window, the Author listing after every post is gone. A little cleaner and organized. If you open up your screen options tab and click the box again, the author listing will be right back where it was. Just like that, you are making the administrative panels a little more organized. Not too scary now is it? The other check boxes on this screen options tab work the same way. One to take note of is the number box with “Posts” listed after it. This changes the quantity of posts listed in this menu. That way you can make the list shorter instead of having to scroll through dozens to get below the post listing on the page.

Moving on, we find ourselves at the individual post screen options. This can be found when you are editing an individual post. This is most likely where you will be editing the screen options as well as on the pages menu. For the individual post screen options tab, you will notice there are way more options to choose from.
Screen options tab on the individual post edit screen.
The checkboxes work the same as they did on the All Posts window. Uncheck to remove them from view, and check to add them. You are able to do things like view likes and shares, remove the writing helper, and add tags with a simple click. Using the screen options tab here allows you to easily modify your individual posts on the fly. It can come in handy, especially if you are an administrator or editor and are modifying things for another writer’s post.

Now, going through the other sections such as Media, pages, links, etc. you will find that they are all mostly the same as the post and individual post options, some of them just have fewer options. With that, the other section you will find most helpful would be the WordPress Back End screen options (The tab on the side labeled “Dashboard”). This helps to create a custom view of your back end to make it more fluid to your working style. Many will choose to stick with the default options, but if you find yourself wishing you could see something specific on the “Dashboard” page, check the screen options tab. You may find exactly what you are looking for is already built-in to WordPress, and you don’t need to go hunting for a Plugin. Here is an example of how mine is configured and some of the options that are available. Keep in mind, if you aren’t sure what something does on yours, click it to give it a try. If you don’t like it, then you can just change it right back. Simple as that.
Screen options tab on the Back End screen
I hate to sound like a broken record, but I want to re-emphasize this one point. Everyone is going to have something different depending on what Plugins you have installed, so if you aren’t sure what something does, click it and see. You don’t always need to go find a new Plugin to accomplish whatever it is you are trying to do. Sometimes it is already built-in to WordPress. Look around your separate pages and see what you can do to modify the way it looks to add features to your site easily. Some of these can really increase productivity by not having to go to separate pages to make these changes. You can always undo a change you made and change it back to the way it was. So go ahead and give it a try.

One thought on “Screen Options Feature in WordPress”

  1. Great exploration of the Screen Options menu and how to change the pages on your Administration Panels.

    Just a note, these are called Contextual Menus, and very important to adding help and customization options to WordPress Administration Screens.


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