toolbar extras

Toolbar Extras – Make the Admin Toolbar Work for You

Every time I work on a site I am reminded by the absurdity of the default admin menu shortcuts.  For example, the main links back to the dashboard from the front-end are Dashboard, Themes, Widgets, and Menus.  While those links are nice, I go to the Plugins admin page much more often.  In this post, I’m going to do a walk-through of the Toolbar Extras plugin.  It adds a lot of functionality to the default admin bar.  There is a video and below the video is a summary with screenshots.

The point of the plugin is to save you time and mouse clicks by adding quick links to features and settings.  It has built in support for the Elementor, Oxygen and Gutenberg builders.  By default, it is setup for Elementor, but you can change it from its settings page.  There is also support for several popular page builder themes: Astra, OceanWP, Generate Press, and Genesis themes.   Additionally, there is support for a few popular plugins, like All in One WP Migration and Code Snippets.

Toolbar Extras Build Menu

You install the Toolbar Extras plugin from the WordPress directory.  When you activate it you get an addition top “Build” menu.

toolbar extras build menu

The Build menu is available from both the back and front of the site.  It provides quick internal links for Elementor and your theme as well as links to external resources.  Elementor is a front-end builder, so you no longer have to work your way back to get to its admin menus.

Main Dashboard Menu

The main dashboard menu gets a big enhancement.  There is a developer menu, that you can enable from the plugin options page, as well as links to the admin areas.  These links include fly outs to the sub-menus.  Note there are links to the plugin area (which makes me happy).  In addition to core WordPress areas, there are also links to some popular plugins pages.

toolbar extras dashboard menu

Toobar Extras Settings Menus

You can get to the Toolbar Extras settings area from the Dashboard menu (near the bottom) and from the Settings -> Toolbar Extras menu.  The first tab is for the “General Settings.”  Most of the settings are so you can customize the plugin for yourself.  I don’t usually change these much, but it is worth noting that this is where you can switch the default page builder.

toolbar extras general settings

If you scroll down that page further, there are a list of settings areas.  If you find some of the menus added to be distracting, the settings are grouped by area and you can turn off the ones you don’t want.

toolbar extras general settings areas

The second tab is for “Smart Tweaks” and I usually only change the first one, to enable the colored toolbar on the front.

The third tab is “For Development”.   The first option gives an alert on the toolbar that you are on a development site.  It gets this by checking the site URL, though you can also set that manually.  You can also set a color for the toolbar.  Further down this page is an option for “Developer Mode” that adds additional menu items to the Dashboard menu.

toolbar extras for developers menu

The “Add-Ons” tab lists some of the Toolbar extras addons and the “About & Support” tab gives some information about the author and the history of the plugin.  There is a donation link there and if you use the plugin and like it then I’m sure the author would appreciate a good review.

Your Own Admin Menu Option

If you go over to the Appearance -> Menus page you will find that the plugin adds a new menu location “Site Toolbar Menu”.  This allows you to use the regular WordPress menu options to create you own custom Admin Menu.  Create a menu and assign it to that location.  You can create a top level item by putting a “#” in the link box and then your menu name, such as “Quick Links”.  If you have plugins that add menu items you want to get to quickly, you can add them to your new menu by going to the page you want to add and copying the URL.  Back in the menu editor, you can paste that URL in for your menu item.  Links to things like you hosting control panel, images sites, or maybe your social media sites might be ideas of links to add.

toolbar extras admin menu

User Menu and Profile Links

There are a few menu links also added to the bar on the right, under your profile picture.  These links go to the user settings and profile pages as well as to the Elementor Role Manager page.

toolbar extras user and profile links

Related Addons

In the WordPress plugin directory, there are several related addons that give you extra menus for those items.  If you are using the Oxygen Builder plugin then the addon for it adds lots of menus similar to the Elementor ones shown above.  For example, there are also addons for BuddyPress, Genesis Framework, and Gravity Forms.

Conclusion

If you are using Elementor or Oxygen then the Toolbar Extra plugin is a nice enhancement.  Even if you are not using one of those page builders, you can set the builder for Gutenberg and get quick links for it.

The developer, David Decker, has done a good job.  The plugin has lots of options and you will probably want to spend some time going through the settings to tweak things for yourself.  I guess that’s the point of the plugin.  We no longer have to be stuck with the limits of the default admin toolbar.

Feel free to leave a comment if you’ve used the plugin or have questions.

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