How to Make WordPress Easier for Clients By Removing Unnecessary Menu Options

By Craig Buckler
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WordPress menu

In my previous WordPress posts we discovered how to create a plugin, change the administration panel branding, and remove unnecessary dashboard widgets and meta boxes.

In this post, we’ll make some fundamental changes to the main administration menu. If you haven’t created an initial plugin, please read the first part. Welcome back — let’s begin…

The standard WordPress menu can be a little daunting — and third-party plugins often add further items. You can restrict user roles so clients do not see all menu items but, unless you’re using every WordPress feature, they’ll still see options which don’t apply to their site.

We’ll create a function which removes redundant links and simplifies the experience for your clients. Here’s the full code which you can copy into easy-admin.php:


// remove unnecessary menus
function remove_admin_menus() {

	global $menu, $submenu;

	// main menus removed for all users
	$restrict = explode(',', 'Links,Comments');

	// sub-menus removed for all users
	$restrictsub = explode(',', 'Categories,Post Tags');

	// main menus removed for everyone except administrators
	$restrict_user = explode(',', 'Media,Profile,Appearance,Plugins,Users,Tools,Settings');

	// sub-menus removed for everyone except administrators
	$restrictsub_user = explode(',', 'Updates,My Sites');

	// WP localization
	$f = create_function('$v,$i', 'return __($v);');
	array_walk($restrict, $f);
	if (!current_user_can('activate_plugins')) {
		array_walk($restrict_user, $f);
		$restrict = array_merge($restrict, $restrict_user);
		array_walk($restrictsub_user, $f);
		$restrictsub = array_merge($restrictsub, $restrictsub_user);
	}

	// remove menus
	end($menu);
	while (prev($menu)) {
		$k = key($menu);
		$v = explode(' ', $menu[$k][0]);
		if(in_array(is_null($v[0]) ? '' : $v[0] , $restrict)) unset($menu[$k]);
	}

	// remove sub-menus
	foreach ($submenu as $k => $p) {
		foreach($submenu[$k] as $j => $s) {
			if (in_array(is_null($s[0]) ? '' : $s[0] , $restrictsub)) unset($submenu[$k][$j]);
		}
	}

}
add_action('admin_menu', 'remove_admin_menus');

The lines at the top of this function determine which menu items are removed:

  • $restrict (line 5) contains a comma-delimited list of main menu items which will not be shown to any users — including administrators. In the example above, we’re hiding Links and Comments since they’re not used in our site.
  • $restrictsub (line 7) contains a comma-delimited list of sub-menu items which will not be shown to any user. We’ve disabled Categories and Post Tags which normally appear in the main Posts menu.
  • $restrict_user (line 9) contains a comma-delimited list of main menu items which are hidden to everyone except administrators. The example above disables everything other than the Dashboard, Pages and Posts. (Non-administrators would not normally see Appearance and Plugins, but other plugins could change that functionality).
  • $restrictsub_user (line 11) contains a comma-delimited list of sub-menu items which are hidden to everyone except administrators. We’ve disabled Updates and My Sites which normally appear within the main Dashboard menu.

simplified WordPress menu

If you don’t want any items removed for a specific value, set it to an empty array, e.g. $restrict = array();

The result is a far simpler administration menu which is free of dangerous options which could confuse your clients.

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