Customize the WordPress admin menu based on user roles

WordPress can be a powerful content management system but if you have multiple users often some can end up with permissions that you really wish they didn’t have. There are plenty of plugins that will let you customize user permissions but it’s not that hard to do ourselves by removing certain links from the admin menu for those specific user roles.

Note that this method doesn’t actually remove user permissions but hides the links in the dashboard that would get them there.

Basic example

Add the following to functions.php (or create your own plugin) to remove the “Tools” menu from any user with a role lower than Author.

add_action( 'admin_init', 'my_remove_menu_pages' );
function my_remove_menu_pages() {
	// If the user does not have access to publish posts
	if(!current_user_can('publish_posts')) {
		// Remove the "Tools" menu
		remove_menu_page('tools.php');
	}
}

Removing the Tools menu

You can choose a variety of user levels rather than publish_posts for example edit_users, delete_pages, etc. View a complete list of WordPress roles and capabilities.

The function remove_menu_page() removes a menu item based off of the menu slug you pass it. To figure out that the menu slug was named tools.php I used used Chrome’s developer tools and right clicked on the Tools menu and selected Inspect element. This showed me that the tools menu was linked as <a href="tools.php" tabindex="1">Tools</a>.

To save you the hassle of figuring out each menu slug I listed them below.

Removing sub-menu items

add_action( 'admin_init', 'my_remove_menu_pages' );
function my_remove_menu_pages() {
	// If the user does not have access to add new users
	if(!current_user_can('add_users')) {
		// Remove the "Link Categories" menu under "Links"
		remove_submenu_page( 'link-manager.php', 'edit-tags.php?taxonomy=link_category' );
	}
}

Removing the Tools menu

The function remove_submenu_page() is similar but takes two arguments, the parent menu’s slug and the sub-menu’s slug. Once again you can find the slugs by inspecting each menu link or view the complete list below.

Mixed example

add_action( 'admin_init', 'my_remove_menu_pages' );
function my_remove_menu_pages() {
	if(!current_user_can('add_users')) {
		remove_menu_page('options-general.php'); // Settings
		remove_menu_page('tools.php'); // Tools
		remove_menu_page('upload.php'); // Media
		remove_submenu_page( 'edit.php', 'edit-tags.php?taxonomy=category' ); // Post categories
		remove_submenu_page( 'edit.php', 'edit-tags.php?taxonomy=post_tag' ); // Post tags
	}
}

WordPress admin menu slugs

Dashboardremove_menu_page(‘index.php’);
Dashboardremove_submenu_page( ‘index.php’, ‘index.php’ );
Updatesremove_submenu_page( ‘index.php’, ‘update-core.php’ );

Postsremove_menu_page(‘edit.php’);
Postsremove_submenu_page( ‘edit.php’, ‘edit.php’ );
Add Newremove_submenu_page( ‘edit.php’, ‘post-new.php’ );
Categoriesremove_submenu_page( ‘edit.php’, ‘edit-tags.php?taxonomy=category’ );
Post Tagsremove_submenu_page( ‘edit.php’, ‘edit-tags.php?taxonomy=post_tag’ );
Mediaremove_menu_page(‘upload.php’);
Libraryremove_submenu_page( ‘upload.php’, ‘upload.php’ );
Add Newremove_submenu_page( ‘upload.php’, ‘media-new.php’ );
Linksremove_menu_page(‘link-manager.php’);
Linksremove_submenu_page( ‘link-manager.php’, ‘link-manager.php’ );
Add Newremove_submenu_page( ‘link-manager.php’, ‘link-add.php’ );
Link Categoriesremove_submenu_page( ‘link-manager.php’, ‘edit-tags.php?taxonomy=link_category’ );
Pagesremove_menu_page(‘edit.php?post_type=page’);
Pagesremove_submenu_page( ‘edit.php?post_type=page’, ‘edit.php?post_type=page’ );
Add Newremove_submenu_page( ‘edit.php?post_type=page’, ‘post-new.php?post_type=page’ );
Commentsremove_menu_page(‘edit-comments.php’);

Appearanceremove_menu_page(‘themes.php’);
Themesremove_submenu_page( ‘themes.php’, ‘themes.php’ );
Widgetsremove_submenu_page( ‘themes.php’, ‘widgets.php’ );
Menusremove_submenu_page( ‘themes.php’, ‘nav-menus.php’ );
Editorremove_submenu_page( ‘themes.php’, ‘theme-editor.php’ );
Pluginsremove_menu_page(‘plugins.php’);
Pluginsremove_submenu_page( ‘plugins.php’, ‘plugins.php’ );
Add Newremove_submenu_page( ‘plugins.php’, ‘plugin-install.php’ );
Editorremove_submenu_page( ‘plugins.php’, ‘plugin-editor.php’ );
Usersremove_menu_page(‘users.php’);
Usersremove_submenu_page( ‘users.php’, ‘users.php’ );
Add Newremove_submenu_page( ‘users.php’, ‘user-new.php’ );
Your Profileremove_submenu_page( ‘users.php’, ‘profile.php’ );
Toolsremove_menu_page(‘tools.php’);
Toolsremove_submenu_page( ‘tools.php’, ‘tools.php’ );
Importremove_submenu_page( ‘tools.php’, ‘import.php’ );
Exportremove_submenu_page( ‘tools.php’, ‘export.php’ );
Settingsremove_menu_page(‘options-general.php’);
Generalremove_submenu_page( ‘options-general.php’, ‘options-general.php’ );
Writingremove_submenu_page( ‘options-general.php’, ‘options-writing.php’ );
Readingremove_submenu_page( ‘options-general.php’, ‘options-reading.php’ );
Discussionremove_submenu_page( ‘options-general.php’, ‘options-discussion.php’ );
Mediaremove_submenu_page( ‘options-general.php’, ‘options-media.php’ );
Privacyremove_submenu_page( ‘options-general.php’, ‘options-privacy.php’ );
Permalinksremove_submenu_page( ‘options-general.php’, ‘options-permalink.php’ );
  1. Thank sir for you info ..

  2. Thank you so much

  3. I like the helpful information you provide in your

  4. thanks for sharing. i like it.

  5. Thank you for this tutorial/help thingy. I created what I think should work but then received:

  6. Thank you for this tutorial/help thingy. I created what I think should work but then received:
    “The plugin generated 1 characters of unexpected output during activation. If you notice “headers already sent” messages, problems with syndication feeds or other issues, try deactivating or removing this plugin.”

  7. I just read the regularly one particular subject material. Beautiful articles or reviews, thank you to suit downloading and sharing an article content with all of us.

  8. Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the wonderful information you’ve here on this post. I might be coming back to your blog for alot more soon.

  9. Thank you for this tutorial/help thingy. I created what I think should work but then received:
    “The plugin generated 1 characters of unexpected output during activation. If you notice “headers already sent” messages, problems with syndication feeds or other issues, try deactivating or removing this plugin.”
    Any hints where to look for issues of this nature?

    John

  10. Thanks your sharing

    • Cool stuff man.. Thanks alot

  11. Thanks, man! Very useful!

  12. Great! Thanks for sharing the information. That is very helpful for increasing my knowledge in this field.

  13. Grande!!, muy completo la información se agradece.

    • Wow I didnt know wordpress had this. Thanks for revealing this.

  14. Thanks, very useful.
    I am only question, any wordpress plugin for get this customization?

  15. Hi, sadly didn’t work for me. WordPress 3.7.1 I tried to hide Menu “Your Profile” for everyone accept Admin, but didn’t work out. Any ideas why?

    function my_remove_menu_pages() {
    if(!current_user_can(‘activate_plugins’)) {
    remove_submenu_page( ‘users.php’, ‘profile.php’ );

  16. Hey it was really helpfull.
    Thanks so much.

  17. Hi, Seth, great script, i have request, can u provide the code to hide the “publish” button for user roles, ex. hide it for editors, so they can only save as draft.

  18. thank you very much

  19. Thanks for the great contribution.The one i was looking for.

  20. Very very useful. Thanks a lot Seth.

  21. Thank you for this contribution.

  22. Thanks for a great post on this topic, I have two questions:

    1 – How can I remove these pages and sub_pages appearing on the menu_bar (the links I can see on the front end of the site)? They still appear here even though they removed in the backend.

    2 – How can I remove the Header and Background sub_pages from Appearance?

    I’m hoping an answer to these two questions will be helpful to others also.

    • Hey Steve

      Did you figure this one out? I am also having difficulty removing Header and Background from the Appearance submenu.

  23. You sir.. Are Awesome! Thanks for the detailed tutorial.

    • You’re welcome!

  24. Why does a slider show up at the bottom of the page ‘https://sethstevenson.net/customize-the-wordpress-admin-menu-based-on-user-roles/’ in firefox 17.0.1?

  25. hi, i want to remove the sub-item poll-options from poll plugin… any idea?

    • Which poll plugin are you using?

      • I think he is using WP-Polls. I have the same query. How can I get rid of some of the submenus? The link is /wp-admin/admin.php?page=wp-polls/polls-options.php. I’ve tried remove_submenu_page(‘wp-polls’, ‘polls-options.php’); and remove_submenu_page(‘admin.php?page=wp-polls’, ‘polls-options.php’); but neither worked.

  26. any individual have any info?

  27. […] Taken from: https://sethstevenson.net/customize-the-wordpress-admin-menu-based-on-user-roles/ […]

  28. Does anyone knows how to use these with an array without having to retype the same lines over an over?
    I tried using the following:

    remove_menu_page (array(‘tools.php’,’upload.php’,’themes.php’));

    without success.

  29. Does anyone know a plugin that would do that? I assume you have to repeat this after each upgrade

    • Hi Jonsey, I had the same question as you, and I found this plugin: Hide Admin Menu. It works like a charm, and I just need to check checkboxes :). I also can hide items in admin bar. Give it a look, it’s worth to try.

  30. I would like to remove themes.php ? I can remove the sub-menu, but it can still be accessed via clicking ‘appearance’ menu.

  31. Thanks, man! Very useful!

  32. […] the WordPress admin panel for your client. Today’s link will go further on one point : customizing the WordPress admin menu. This complet and detailed guide will give you a few exemples and a big list of the WordPress admin […]

  33. Very strange i cant seem to remove the users menu .. any idea?

  34. Hi and thanks for this – works great!

    Any idea why

    remove_submenu_page( ‘edit.php’, ‘post-new.php?post_type=listing’ );

    doesn’t remove “add new” from my custom post type menu “listing”?

    Cheers,
    Thomas.

    • got it: it has to be

      remove_submenu_page( ‘edit.php?post_type=listing’, ‘post-new.php?post_type=listing’ );

  35. Nice collection of functions here. I might use these for future WordPress sites 🙂

  36. And what if somebody goes with direct url? I think we need some .htaccess to redirect them.

    • Yes this method doesn’t actually remove the user permissions. For that you might try a plugin like Role Scoper.

      • Is there another way without plugin

  37. OMG ! Realy need this, Great tutorial !

  38. Thanks for this info.
    How to I remove submenu for custom post_types?
    For example I want to retain the post tags meta box in the admin page but want to remove the ‘Post Tags’ link from the submenu

  39. Awesome list, glad you posted it! Do you know if there’s a way to query WP for a list of the menu and submenu slugs, and also plugin menu slugs? I’m worried about hard-coding the slugs in your list, then WP changing them in a few months. So obviously I’d like something future-proof, if that’s possible? Otherwise I’m’a work from your list for now…

  40. Great work on this! Just the plugin I was looking for to customize the WordPress admin area. Thanks!

  41. Thanks a lot!!!
    Really useful stuff

  42. Thanks a lot!!!
    Really usefull stuff

  43. hey thanks, i really need this,why you dont make plugin for this function,..

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