Django admin toolbox - bunch of improvements for default django admin

django, admin, toolbox, sidebar, tools, improvements, django-admin
pip install django-admin-toolbox==1.0.0.dev28


Django Admin Toolbox

This package provides bunch of useful tools for default django admin site, such as:

All configuration is held in ADMIN_TOOLBOX dict that should be placed in your file.


This package is still in development and all API is considered unstable. This means that anything may change without notice and without backwards compatibility!


  1. Install admin toolbox (if not installed already)
  2. add admin_toolbox at the top of your INSTALLED_APPS (at least above django.contrib.admin)


All configuration of this application is held in one dictionary in django settings, named ADMIN_TOOLBOX. Below you can see default configuration:

    'sidebar': {
        'default': ('', {}),
    'breadcrumbs': 'auto',

If you want to customize any setting, you don't have to copy whole defaults. Anything that is not set, will be filled in with default values.

Below you can find description of how to configure each module.


This module adds sidebar to the left of standard django admin template. This module cannot be disabled for now, as other modules depend on it's configuration. Purpose of this sidebar is to replace default list of models in django admin with something more customizable and useful.

By default, sidebar will just contain categories for all apps with models inside of them, which just corresponds to list of apps and models on standard django admin dashboard. But you can customize that menu using builders.

sidebar element inside ADMIN_TOOLBOX settings contains all defined menus (like for DATABASES, you can specify more than one menu). For now, only default menu is used, other ones will be ignored. Each menu consists of root element. Each element is specified by tuple containing string and dictionary. String should be valid python dot path to builder class, dictionary contains all default arguments that will be passed to that class when initializing.

Each builder is one of ListBuilder or ItemBuilder from module or any subclass of them. For root element, only ListBuilder and it's subclasses are allowed.

Root element of each menu is a container for whole menu, but it's logic is still invoked, but it won't be rendered as a whole, only it's sub-items will be. How to nest items is explained below.

Also, each element, except of root one, should have specified name (if specified builder cannot generate it automatically).

There is default limit for nesting set to 3 levels. It is enforced on template level, so if you want to create menu with more nested levels, simply overwrite template (and probably CSS) and implement displaying more than 3 levels in it.

Built-in builders

Each builder can take name and icon parameter. For builders that cannot generate name by themselves (by for example taking them from model or app name), name must be specified, unless builder is used as root element


Builder that contains sub-elements. It's just a container, so by default, does nothing. name argument is required if not used as root element. items argument is required and should be a list or tuple of 2-tuples defined like root element.


Builder that represents simple url. name argument is required. url argument is required. It also can take permissions_check that should be either callable or dotted path to callable that will return True or False determining if user can see this option in menu. It should take request, context and menu_name parameters.


Builder that represents ModelAdmin. It simply looks for ModelAdmin for specified model and puts URL to it's changelist in menu. model is required and should be in form of app_name.ModelName or path_to_app.ModelName, there should be no .models inside path to model. name is optional, if not provided will default to model's name. If icon is not provided, builder will try to get it from _menu_icon attribute of Model's Meta class and if it fails, will default to one based on navigation level.


Builder that represents all model admins from specified app. It will scan for models in specified app and put them as sub-elements, using ModelBuilder for each of them. You can also specify items that can contain any sub-items. Any sub-item manually specified in items will come before items automatically added from scanning app. If Model or path to Model admin is referenced in items it will be automatically skipped later on, when creating automatic list of app models, so every model is used only once. This is global behaviour for every URL You can also set models or exclude parameters that will limit which models should be used. They can't be used together. If models is used, only models specified in models will be used. models and exclude should be just in form of list of model names (without app name). As for model, name is optional and if not provided, will default to app name. Also, similarly to model, builder will try to fetch icon from AppConfig's _menu_icon attribute and fall back to default one based on navigation level.


Builder that represents all apps with their models. It will scan for apps in project and put every app as sub-item using ModelsBuilder (which will build sub-item for every model in app). You can specify apps and exclude which works like models and exclude in ModelsBuilder, but instead put app names as list (without full path). You can also specify single models in apps and exclude together with app names. Models should be in form of app_name.ModelName, models specified without app name will be treated like apps and may result in unexpected behaviour. name is required if item is not used as root item, because there is no place from which we can get default name. icon may be customized like in other items, but there is no special place for defining it.


You can use any icon from font awesome icons in menu, just by providing it's name. Version 4.6.2 is embedded, if you need newer one, just edit base template and put there your own version (or replace font awesome files in staticfiles, that works too). Icon can be defined in every builder, using icon argument (icon for root element will be ignored, for obvious reasons) or in case of models and apps (and using ModelBuilder, ModelsBuilder or AppsBuilder), you can set default icon accordingly in models Meta or in apps AppConfig using _menu_icon attribute. If no icon is defined for particular item, it defaults to icon based on navigation level (angle-right for 1st level, angle-double-right for 2nd level and no icon for 3rd level).

Smart Breadcrumbs

This module gives you ability to rewrite default admin breadcrumbs to match structure defined with admin menu. Generation of smart breadcrumbs requires beautifulsoup4 library, which you can install by installing django-admin-toolbox[smart-breadcrumbs].

You can enable or disable this feature, by using 'breadcrumbs' in settings dict. Allowed values are:

  • None - Disables breadcrumbs alltogether. This option will hide default breadcrumbs generated by Django.
  • 'auto' - Breadcrumbs will be automatically enabled if beautifulsoup4 is available. Otherwise, default django admin breadcrumbs will be used.
  • 'auto-smart' - Breadcrumbs will be automatically enabled if beautifulsoup4 is available. Otherwise, no breadcrumbs will be used.
  • 'smart' - Breadcrumbs will be explicitly enabled. This option will trigger exception if beautifulsoup4 is not installed
  • 'force-smart' - Similar to 'smart', but breadcrumbs will be also visible on pages, where they don't exist in default django admin.