One Simple WordPress Trick You May Have Missed: Using “Screen Options”

By Ali Luke

All my sites run on WordPress, and for months, I’ve been having a small but annoying problem: I couldn’t switch off comments on individual posts and pages in the normal Editing mode.

I found an easy enough work-around – I used Quick Edit to flick the comments off – but since this required an extra step, I often forgot.

If you’ve experienced something similar, I’ve got good news.

A couple of weeks ago, my blogging friend Joe Williams pointed out the Screen Options tab on the top right of my dashboard screens. I opened it up and found a whole range of functionality I’d been missing out on:

screen-options-post-wordpress

A simple tick of a box, and my “Discussion” module was back, so I could easily turn comments and trackbacks on and off on individual posts again:

discussion-module-wordpress

In fact, I found a whole host of handy options tucked away in those switched-off screen options, as my theme and plugins had added extra functionality.

Now, perhaps I’m the last person to know about this and everyone else has been happily using Screen Options for years … but I figured there might be some Daily Blog Tips readers who, like me, hadn’t even realised it was there!

Screen Options isn’t just for posts and pages, either; a lot of your WordPress dashboard screens will allow you to switch on and off different options. For instance, on your dashboard’s home page, you can change which sections you want to see too:

screen-options-dashboard-wordpress

So here’s a task for you today: login to your blog’s dashboard, edit a post (or create a new one), open up that Screen Options tab, and switch on the options that are switched off. See what they do, and decide which ones you’ll keep!




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12 Responses to “One Simple WordPress Trick You May Have Missed: Using “Screen Options””

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Daniel,

    Neat find buddy 😉

    I toyed around with Screen Options a while back. Really helpful for changing commenting/trackbacks/etc.

    A little tinkering around or a tip from a friend can help open a whole new blogging world for you. The challenge lies in being open-minded enough to see the hints or to explore a bit.

    Thanks Daniel!

  • Chris Atkin

    Really great writing smart grabbing honestly. You helped give me well read material and a solid understanding of this topic. I am truly thankful to the holder of this website who has shared this impressive article at at this time. Keep t this good job guys.

  • Karen

    Hi there, I’m a bit new to blogging so have a question that you might think is silly. Why would you want to turn comments on and off?
    I would think you either accept comments, or you don’t.

    Thanks,
    Karen

  • Nathan

    I just found this too! Now I can change authors in the post and don’t have to always go to quick edit. Can’t believe I didn’t know this was there!

  • Prisqua

    Though sometimes it will not work as the WordPress theme may not allow it. The theme may have its own settings to allow or not comments on pages/posts.

  • Ali Luke

    Yay! Really glad this helped some of you.

    @Karen — that’s not a silly question at all. There are a bunch of reasons why I might do it, but here are a couple to give you an idea:

    a) I’m writing a lead-in to a guest post elsewhere. I don’t want comments on my teaser post; I want readers to go to my guest post, read it, and comment there.

    b) I don’t always want my pages to have comments enabled (e.g. when I’m selling products). It can clutter things up over time.

    Hope that makes a bit more sense of the “why”! I might write a post on this, so thanks for the question. 🙂

    @Prisqua — that’s a good point, but I imagine at least some of the screen options will work with with all themes?

  • Ajeet

    Frankly the best use of the “Screen Options” I found is when I am editing comments. In that screen, one can increase the number of comments displayed from 20 to a larger number, say 100. Then one can mass delete spam.

  • JayDee

    Truely speaking, i don’t know about this. but this trick don’t work for me because my wp theme does not support these setting. Hope so this will help me next time.

  • Manish

    I am using this option from quite a long time. I have positioned draft posts on the main dashboard. It continuously reminds me of what is pending for my next article.

  • Sheri Bambrough

    Thank you for this. I knew that was there for the dashboard, but didn’t realize it changed when on other areas of WordPress. After reading this post I have been able to make some adjustments to remove a few little things that bugged me.

  • faisal

    Difficult to miss such things but it’s best left to minimum to avoid distraction while writing.

  • Jobi Harris

    Thank you so much for the screen option information. I had no idea and just tried it and it works on my site. Thank you for letting us know!!! This is probably the easiest piece of information I have gotten from anyone regarding wordpress – ever!

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