Customizing the Wordpress Admin Bar

About 3 min reading time

Wordpress 3.1 brought us a lot of things; an admin bar amongst others. That one's been present on hosted Wordpress.com blogs for quite some time, and available as a plugin as well. At first I deactivated the bar at once, but later I realized it's pretty handy to have around. I usually make my own admin menus for quick access to stats, new posts and more, but the official admin bar is more versatile (I'm using the Wordpress function current_user_can("manage_options") in an if-statement to show the admin menu only to me). Anyway, how about customizing the admin bar? You know: add stuff, style stuff. Plugins and themes may add their own menus to the bar, as with the Wordpress.com Stats plugin I'm using, for instance. A small graph is shown in the bar if you've got the plugin installed, with a link to the admin stats page. Neat – as you see on the screenshot above it also shows the shortlink to the current page/post. The rendering of the bar itself builds upon a simple API you can hook into, but I haven't found any documentation in the Wordpress Codex yet though, so I'm gonna show some simple examples from what I've picked up from the Wordpress core. First we need a hook. The Wordpress developers advise us to use admin_bar_menu . Right on. Add this to functions.php :

add_action("admin_bar_menu", "customize_menu");

function customize_menu(){
    global $wp_admin_bar;

    // Do stuff
}

The customize_menu() is a handler which will do stuff with the admin bar. We also need to define the global $wp_admin_bar variable in order to call the API functions.

The API

The WP_Admin_Bar class includes the great add_menu() function which we use to add menus:

$wp_admin_bar->add_menu($args);

// Defaults:
$args = array(
   "id" => false,
   "title" => false,
   "href" => false,
   "parent" => false,
   "meta" => false
);

id (String) The id of your menu. Make sure it's unique – this will identify your menu, and also be used in the menu item's id attribute in the HTML code like this: <li id="wp-admin-bar-{$id}"> ... </li> title (String) The title of your menu. Will be shown on the front-end. href (String) The URL the menu post links to. parent (String) The id of the parent menu, if you'd want that. meta (Array) Some handy extra stuff: "html", "class", "onclick", "title" and "target". Ex: "meta" => array("onclick" => 'alert("Hi there");') . Note: the value of "html" will be added directly after your menu item in the bar. So with these guys you could construct something like this:

$wp_admin_bar->add_menu(array(
   "id" => "mymenu",
   "title" => "A custom menu",
   "href" => "http://google.com",
   "meta" => array("target" => "blank")
));

... which will produce this: Neat. Now you have a custom, top-level menu item. What if you'd like to link to pages in the Wordpress admin from your menu? Check out the admin_url() function. Use it to link directly to any page in wp-admin, like this: admin_url("nav-menus.php") . Incredibly good for plugin authors.

Dropdown menus

A menu item is cool and all, but it would be awesome to add more items and group them, like in a dropdown menu. We'll go ahead and to that with the parent key in the argument array. Add this below the previous code:

$wp_admin_bar->add_menu(array(
	"id" => "my-child-menu",
	"title" => "Child",
	"parent" => "mymenu"
));

It behaves just like any other menu, but you'll have to specify the parent key to the top-level menu's id. The children are automatically attached to the parent menu and shown on hover, as expected:

External data

So now it's completely up to your needs. Just use functions and variables as usual as you du in functions.php . For instance, just declare the global $post variable beside $wp_admin_bar and you'll have access to the current post's data:

add_action("admin_bar_menu", "customize_menu");

function customize_menu(){
	global $wp_admin_bar, $post;

	$children = get_children(array("post_parent" => $post->ID));

	$wp_admin_bar->add_menu(array(
		"id" => "mymenu",
		"title" => "Post: " . $post->post_title,
		"href" => "http://google.com",
		"meta" => array("target" => 'blank')
	));

	if($children){
		foreach($children as $c){
			$wp_admin_bar->add_menu(array(
				"parent" => "mymenu",
				"title" => $c->post_title,
				"href" => get_permalink($c->ID)
			));
		}
	}

}

Simple enough: get access to $post => Find eventual child pages => loop through and add to parent item.

Source

You'll find relevant source code in the files wp-includes/class-wp-admin-bar.php and wp-includes/admin-bar.php . Funny: I just realized I had switched to Chrome for the last two screenshots. You'll just have to put up with that.