How to change the administrator template in Joomla! 1.5

One of the greatest things about Joomla! is the ability to customize anything you want. It even enables you to change the template that you use for the administrator back end of your site, just as easily as you can change the template for the front end of your site. The default template for the Joomla! 1.5 administrator is the culmination of countless hours of design work by Andy Miller, and it provides a great interface for managing your site. However, the brilliant minds behind Joomla! recognized that there would be possible reasons for modifying the look of the administrator interface, so they used the same template system for the back end as they use for the front end. Read on to see how to change the administrator template.

Why change?

There are several possible reasons to change the administrator interface:

  • Build a custom-branded template to match your company's brand image.
  • Attempt to hide the fact that you are using Joomla! (NOTE: This is a lame reason. I see no reason to hide that you are using Joomla! I think you should give credit where credit is due.)
  • Improve upon the user experience, or make it easier to administer your site.
Admin Praise updated link

I want to touch on that last point. With such a great user interface, it's difficult to see how anyone could improve upon it. However, the guys over at have built a really cool template called AdminPraise that takes some new approaches to the administrator interface. It has too many features to really simply call it a template, and it really improves the administrator's ease of use. It also offers 4 different themes. It's definitely worth checking this template out to see how it enhances the overall user experience of managing the back end.

How to change

The first step is easy. You download the administrator template you wish to use (or create one from scratch, if you are so inclined), and you install it. Installing an administrator template is just like installing any other Joomla! extension. You login to, and you click on Extensions->Install/Uninstall.

Extensions Menu

On the extension installer screen, you browse for your template file and click "Upload and Install" to upload and install the template.

Once you have installed the template, you need to go to the administrator template manager by clicking Extensions->Template Manager. Once there, you click on "Administrator" just underneath the "Template Manager" header to view the list of templates.

Administrator Template List

In the template list, select the radio button next to the template you wish to set as the default administrator template, and click the "Default" button in the toolbar.

Template Toolbar

That's all there is to it. You should immediately see your new template active in the administrator area.


As always, your questions and comments are welcome.