IMPORTANT UPDATE: In mid-March 2021, WordPress.com rolled out unified navigation to combine both the newer “Calypso/WordPress.com” dashboard and WP Admin. Later, in July 2021, a dashboard “Switcher” was introduced to make changing from one dashboard to the other more intuitive with a further refinement to the interface.
WordPress.com is in the process of rolling out a single, unified navigation that replaces the two existing, separate ones: Calypso, the exclusively WordPress.com dashboard at
wordpress.com/home/yoursite.wordpress.com that was introduced in 2015, and WP Admin, the original WordPress dashboard, at
yoursite.wordpress.com/wp-admin/ (For background see this post.)
When your account has flipped to unified navigation and you open your My Site dashboard, you’ll see a mix of both the WordPress.com and WP Admin dashboards depending on which screen you are in. The default for the majority of dashboard screens is the WordPress.com dashboard.
If you prefer to work in the parallel WP Admin dashboard, you’ll need to click on the Screen Options tab that appears in the upper right corner of your browser window and select “Classic View.”
Dashboard screens that are by default using the WP Admin layout include:
- Feedback> Form Responses
- Settings> Reading
- Settings> Media
For those writing in the Classic Editor, the switch to unified navigation also meant losing access to the Classic Editor in WP Admin’s Posts dashboard. In order to recover access for now, you’ll first need to switch to the “Classic view” in the Posts and Pages dashboards.
If you switched dashboard screens and want to return to the other version of that dashboard, click again on the “Screen Options” tab in your browser window to access the switcher.
With unified navigation not all existing features can be easily found and, in some cases, are duplicated between screens:
- Stats no longer include full Sharing Stats (posts/pages shared to social media)
- Adding images from the free Pexels Library directly to your Media Library can only be done in the WordPress.com dashboard
- On Premium and higher plans, resharing your posts can only be done in the WordPress.com Posts dashboard
- Viewing your Followers and Email Followers can only be done in the WordPress.com Posts dashboard
- If you have a multiauthor site and want to see which posts were written by each author, that can only be done in the WP Admin dashboard
- Bulk editing and Quick editing can only be done in the WP Admin Posts dashboard
- The Support Site itself leans heavily towards information on working in the WordPress.com dashboard.
I’m still exploring, so this list may be partial or inaccurate.
Regardless, the direct link to WP Admin, which previously appeared at the bottom of your site dashboard sidebar, has disappeared (yet again for some of us). The link can now be found under Manage Blogs in your Account Profile . This is the same link as the Global Dashboard and we still need access to that dashboard in order to accomplish some administrative tasks. You can also find a link to WP Admin on your site’s Home dashboard page under “Quick Links.”
Personally speaking, I was accustomed to constantly flipping between the two full dashboards depending on what I was doing and it really made no difference to me which one I was in because I’m comfortable in either. That does not mean everyone is nor does it make me happy that my onsite work flow is about to change yet again. From a visual viewpoint, having separate dashboards made it easy for me to identify where I was. Now, however, I might need a map.
As with every change on the platform, users have begun posting to the community forums that features in the WP Admin dashboard, like the Link Manager* or being able to find posts by author in the User dashboard, are no longer available to them. However, these features can be accessed via direct link if you know it, but apparently not all of them. (*Noting that the Links menu returned to the sidebar as of 24 March 2021, regardless which dashboard you use-but only if you used it previously.)
The original feedback thread in the community forums on this change has closed since first publishing this post in March 2021, but if you want to leave feedback for WordPress.com you can still do so by posting to the “contact support” link in your site’s My Home dashboard. When doing so, also note what Support Staff mention:
We’ll be gathering feedback on any friction you’re running into, so if something feels off, please add details to this thread: let us know what you clicked on, what you expected, and what happened instead. If you can share a bit about your typical use, too, that would be helpful.
However, if you have encountered a bug, please head directly to the support contact form.
If you need some help transitioning to the Classic Block or the full Block Editor, check out my earlier posts:
- Getting One’s Head Around the Full Block Editor
- Behind the Wheel of the Block Editor’s Classic Block
- Writing in the WP Admin Classic Editor – A Quick Tour
- The Block Editor: A Block Management Guide
This post was originally published in March 2021 and was updated in September 2021.
As always, the information in this post is correct as of publication date. Changes are inevitable.
Photo by Mabel Amber on Pexels.com