Adventures in Machine Learning

Customizing Django Admin Templates: A Guide to Full Control

Overriding Django Admin Templates

Are you struggling to customize the look and feel of your Django admin interface? Do you feel limited by the default templates provided by Django?

Fear not! In this article, we will dive into the world of customizing Django admin templates.

Templates Used in the Admin

Before we begin, let’s first understand what templates are used in the Django admin. Django admin is powered by the Django template engine, which is a powerful tool for generating dynamic web pages.

It makes use of several templates to generate the admin interface, including:

1. base_site.html: This is the base template for the admin site.

It contains the basic structure of the admin interface, including the header, sidebar, and footer. 2.

base.html: This is the base template for each admin page. It defines the basic structure of each page, including the title and content sections.

3. app_index.html: This is the template used for displaying the list of models under each app in the admin interface.

4. change_list.html: This is the template used for displaying the list of objects for a particular model.

5. change_form.html: This is the template used for displaying the form for adding or editing objects in a model.

Customizing Admin Templates

Now that we know the templates used in the Django admin, let’s dive into customizing them. The first step is to figure out which template you want to customize.

To do this, you need to know the template hierarchy used by Django.

Template Search Order

The Django template engine searches for templates in a certain order. It starts with the app-specific templates and then looks for the templates in the global templates directory.

The search order is:

1. app-specific templates


global templates

3. Django’s built-in templates

To override a template, you simply need to create a new template with the same name in the appropriate location.

For example, to override the change_list.html template for the blog app, you would create a new template called change_list.html in the blog/templates/admin/blog/ directory. Django would then use this template instead of the default one.

Overriding Admin Templates

Now that we know how to override templates in Django, let’s take a look at some common use cases for customizing the Django admin. 1.

Adding Custom CSS and JavaScript: By default, Django admin does not allow you to add custom CSS or JavaScript. However, you can easily override the base_site.html template to include links to your own files.

Simply create a new template called base_site.html in your app’s templates/admin directory and include your links. 2.

Adding Custom Filters: Django admin provides a number of filters for searching and filtering data. However, sometimes you may need a custom filter to suit your specific needs.

To add a custom filter, you need to override the change_list.html template and include your filter form. 3.

Customizing the Change Form: The change_form.html template is used for displaying the form for adding or editing objects in a model. You can customize this template to suit your needs, such as by adding or removing fields, or changing the layout of the form.


Customizing Django admin templates might seem like a daunting task, but with the right knowledge, it’s a breeze. Understanding the template hierarchy and how to override templates is the key to unlocking the full potential of the Django admin interface.

So go ahead, customize away, and create a beautiful and functional admin interface that suits your needs.

Customizing the Logout Page

The Django admin interface is a great tool for administering your website or application. Despite its many features, there may be times when you need to customize certain aspects of its appearance, such as the logout page.

In this section, we will explore the steps to customize the logs_out.html and how to add a new template directory. Overriding logs_out.html

The logs_out.html template is responsible for displaying the logout page for the Django admin interface.

Customizing this template is straightforward and only requires creating a new template file with the same name within your app’s admin folder and updating the link in to point to the new template. To get started:


Create a new template file with the name logs_out.html in your app’s admin folder. 2.

Customize the template file with the desired changes, such as adding images or changing text. 3.

Open the file in your app and find the path for the logout view. 4.

Update the link to the logs_out.html template by modifying the template_name parameter to point to the new template file. With these simple steps, you can easily customize the logout page to meet your needs.

Adding a New Template Directory

In some cases, you may need to add a new template directory to your Django project. A new template directory can be useful when you want to keep your app-specific templates separate from the global templates.

Here’s how you can add a new template directory:

1. Create a new folder for your template directory.

For example, let’s call our new directory my_templates. 2.

Add the new directory to the TEMPLATES setting in In the DIRS list, add the absolute path to your new directory.




‘BACKEND’: ‘django.template.backends.django.DjangoTemplates’,

‘DIRS’: [


‘/usr/share/templates/’, # global templates


‘APP_DIRS’: True,

… },



Create a subdirectory within your new directory that matches your app’s name. For example, /my_templates/myapp.

4. Create the template file with the desired name and save it in the directory you just created.

You can now reference this template file in your views and urls as usual.

Full Control Over Admin Templates

Customizing the appearance of your Django admin interface can be a daunting task, particularly if you are unsure where to start or if templates are deeply nested. Fortunately, with some understanding, you can navigate Django’s intricate template hierarchy and gain full control over the admin templates’ appearance.

Let’s explore some common use cases for customizing the admin templates with examples.

Deeply Nested Django Admin Templates

Django’s admin templates are deeply nested to allow as much flexibility as possible. However, this means that overriding specific templates can be more difficult, particularly if you’re not familiar with the template hierarchy.

Fortunately, Django provides an easy way to see the full template hierarchy for any admin page. Insert {% debug %} tag in one of your templates and then load the page in your browser.

You should see a detailed dump of the context, as well as a list of templates that are used to build the page. The templates used are listed in the order in which they are processed, starting with the most specific and ending with the least specific.

Customizing the Appearance

The admin templates’ appearance can be customized to fit your application or website’s specific branding needs. There are several ways to achieve this.

1. CSS Styling: One of the easiest ways to customize the appearance of the Django admin interface is by adding custom CSS styles.

You can add styles to the base_site.html template or your app-specific templates. You can use style overrides or add additional styles to customize the appearance to your needs.

2. Adding Images and Icons: Django admin provides several places for adding images and icons to your admin interface, including the login, logout, menu links, and labels.

You can add custom images, provided you have the relevant permission.

Grapelli and Django Admin Bootstrap

Grapelli and Django Admin Bootstrap are two popular third-party packages that provide pre-built template sets for the Django admin interface. These packages offer enhanced features, including more polished and modern design and additional functionality such as drag-and-drop sorting.

Grapelli offers many enhancements to the Django admin interface, including customizable themes, an improved search bar, and a customizable dashboard view. It also provides a more intuitive interface with additional shortcuts and inline editing capabilities.

Django Admin Bootstrap provides responsive design for the Django admin interface, making it easier to use on a variety of devices. It also provides a modern look and provides extensions for admin forms such as date pickers and color pickers.

In conclusion, customizing the Django admin templates is an essential part of developing any web application. By having full control over templates, you can create a more intuitive, modern, and visually appealing admin interface for your application.

Customizing the logout page and adding a new template directory can enhance the interface’s functionality, while

Grapelli and Django Admin Bootstrap offer pre-built template sets with additional functionality. With a little knowledge, you can customize your Django admin templates to showcase your brand and present information in a user-friendly and professional manner.

Customizing Django admin templates is a crucial aspect of developing web applications. Understanding the template hierarchy, overriding default templates, and adding a new template directory can help you achieve full control over the appearance of the Django admin interface, including customizing the logout page.

Pre-built template sets such as

Grapelli and Django Admin Bootstrap further enhance the functionality and modern look of the admin interface. The ability to customize and present information intuitively and professionally is crucial for any web application, and customizing Django admin templates is a key factor in achieving this goal.

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