WordPress Wednesdays: Adding Notes to the Dashboard and Admin Screens

Geek Factor: 2

In this week’s WordPress Wednesday, I’m tackling an issue we’re dealing with right now on at Stem: how to add a note to the WordPress admin screens.

The ability to add a quick note or statement to a WordPress admin screen can be very helpful. For example, the Stem website has four authors publishing over three difference channels — two blogs, and the company news. It has been tricky to ensure consistency across all posts, and one of our more obvious inconsistencies is the casing in the post titles.

This is where the ability to add a quick note can come in handy: simple instructions can be relayed to all team members, and they will always be displayed at the most important point — when someone is actually writing a post.

For the Stem sites, since we just needed the one note, I decided to add it through the theme’s functions.php file with the following code:
[php]
add_action( ‘admin_notices’, ‘my_admin_notice’ );
function my_admin_notice(){
global $current_screen;
if ( $current_screen->id == ‘post’ )
echo ‘

Style note: Please use title case for all posts — thanks!

‘;
}
[/php]
This method is nice and quick, but not super-helpful if less technical team members need to edit the message, or if multiple messages are needed throughout the admin area.

If your message needs are more involved, a plugin like Dashboard Site Notes might be more appropriate.

Site Notes are managed like custom post types in the WordPress Dashboard. Once the plugin is installed, notes can be created and managed by going to Site Notes > Add New in the Dashboard navigation.

When creating or editing a Site Note, you can also determine where you’d like the message to appear, including limiting its display by user role, post type, and whether the post is being edited, or is newly created.

Site Notes uses the same WYSIWYG editor as WordPress posts and pages, so you can add quite long messages and include different styles and links, which could be helpful for directing users to more detailed instructions. You can even insert media, like images or videos.

Obviously, this level of customization could be dangerous in the wrong hands…

… but Site Notes can be a dynamic and helpful tool, especially on sites that have a lot of custom functionality and could use extra instructions.

Do you have a trick for sharing messages and promoting consistency across multi-author sites? Please share them in the comments below!

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