How to Customize the Django Admin Site

March 26, 2021

Django is a Web framework for perfectionists with deadlines. Django gives programmers the power of customizing this admin site to suit the requirements of the project or the needs of the client. This tutorial will be Windows oriented.


Before we begin, you should have the following:

  • Python3 installed on your machine.
  • Django installed on a virtual environment.
  • Some knowledge of Python3 and Django.

Step 1 – Creating our Django app

Use the following command to create a virtual environment for the project.

$ py -m venv .venv

Then, activate it using the following command.

$ .venv\Scripts\activate.bat

Now we can install Django in the virtual environment.

$ pip install django

Now execute the following command to create the Django project.

$ django-admin startproject Custom

Let’s change to the created directory Custom.

$ cd Custom

In Custom, let’s go ahead and create our Bookstore app.

$ django-admin startapp Bookstore

Then, add Bookstore to the installed apps in

  # ...
  'Bookstore' # new

Creating the models

Add the following code to your to create some models.

from django.db.models.deletion import CASCADE

class  Category(models.Model):
    cat_romance  =  "Romance"
    cat_fantacy  =  "Fantacy"
    cat_thriller=  "Thriller"
    cat_horror  =  "Horror"
    cat_crime  =  "Crime"
    cat_true_story=  "True Story"
    category  =  models.CharField(
        (cat_crime, cat_crime),
        (cat_fantacy, cat_fantacy),
        (cat_horror, cat_horror),
        (cat_romance, cat_romance),
        (cat_thriller, cat_thriller),
        (cat_true_story, cat_true_story)

    def  __str__(self):
        return  self.category

class  Publisher(models.Model):
    publisher_name  =  models.CharField(max_length=100)
    publish_date  =  models.DateField

    def  __str__(self):
        return  self.publisher_name

class  Author(models.Model):
    gender_male  =  "Male"
    gender_female  =  "Female"
    gender_other  =  "Other"
    name  =  models.CharField(max_length=100)
    gender  =  models.CharField(max_length=100,
        (gender_female, gender_female),
        (gender_male, gender_male),
        (gender_other, gender_other)
    country  =  models.CharField(max_length=100)

    def  __str__(self):

class  Details(models.Model):
    book_name  =  models.CharField(max_length=100)
    category = models.ForeignKey(Category, on_delete=CASCADE)
    pages = models.IntegerField(default=1)
    publisher  =  models.ForeignKey(Publisher, on_delete=models.CASCADE)
    Author  =  models.ForeignKey(Author, on_delete=CASCADE)

    def  __str__(self):
        return  self.book_name

We can now go ahead and register our models in by adding the following lines of code.

from django.db import models
from .models import Category, Publisher ,Details, Author

class  categoryAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):

class  publisherAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):

class  detailsAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):

class  authorAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    pass, categoryAdmin), publisherAdmin), detailsAdmin), authorAdmin)  

Then, we can migrate using the below commands.

$ py makemigrations
$ py migrate

Now, let’s create a superuser in order to start customizing our admin site.

$ py createsuperuser

Now, run the development server using the command below:

$ py runserver

You can now log in using the superuser credentials at

Now, go ahead and add some input in the fields we created.

1 - Setting plural text for models

We can change how the models category and details are appearing in plural at the admin site by adding the below code to

class  Category(models.Model):
  # ...
    class  Meta:  #new
        verbose_name_plural  =  "Categories"     

class  Details(models.Model):
  # ...
    class  Meta:   #new
        verbose_name_plural  =  "Details"

2. Changing the Django administration header text

To change the admin site header text, login page, and the HTML title tag of our bookstore’s instead, add the following code in

#...  =  "Custom bookstore admin"  =  "Custom bookstore admin site"  =  "Custom Bookstore Admin"

The site_header changes the Django administration text which appears on the login page and the admin site. The site_title changes the text added to the <title> of every admin page.

The index_title changes our site’s title that appears on top of the admin homepage list view.

3. Removing the default groups

Let’s say, we want to get rid of the Groups app found in our Django admin site by default.

We will go ahead and import it then unregister it in

from  django.contrib.auth.models  import  Group  # new
#...  # new

If you like, you could also go ahead and unregister users through the same process.

4 - Using list_display

You might also want your details model to display more than one column at the change list page. To add other fields, we will have to make some adjustments to

class  detailsAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):

5. Adding an image to Django admin

We might also want to add the image of the Author besides their name using list display. To do that we will first have to install a third-party app called pillow.

Using a terminal, run the following command.

$ pip install pillow

Then, open and add the following code. This code tells Django where to store the images.

import os # at the top
MEDIA_URL = '/media/'
MEDIA_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR , 'media')

Now let’s create the media folder and add an images folder inside it.

$ mkdir media\images 

Then, open and add the code below to add our media folder to the static files.

# below the other imports
from . import settings
from django.contrib.staticfiles.urls import static
from django.contrib.staticfiles.urls import staticfiles_urlpatterns


urlpatterns +=staticfiles_urlpatterns()
urlpatterns +=static(settings.MEDIA_URL, document_root=settings.MEDIA_ROOT)

In we are going to import mark_safe and also add the image field to our Author model. Then we will add a function that will enable us to view the image in our admin site.

# at the top
from django.utils.safestring import mark_safe

# in our Author model
class  Author(models.Model):
    # .....
    author_pic = models.ImageField(upload_to='images/', null=True)

    def  image_tag(self):
        return mark_safe('<img src="/../../media/%s" width="150" height="150" />' % (self.author_pic))

    image_tag.allow_tags = True       

Now let us make migrations then migrate to reflect the changes in our database.

$ py makemigrations
$ py migrate

Finally, we’ll call our function inside the list display. Let’s go to our and modify the authorAdmin().

class  authorAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):

Now, run the development server and enjoy the changes.

That is how you can customize the Django Admin tool.

Hope you found this tutorial helpful.

Happy coding!

Peer Review Contributions by: Geoffrey Mungai

About the author

Samuel Mwangi

Samuel is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Computer Science. Samuel is an interested in Algorithms, Machine Learning, and backend. He thinks open source projects are cool and enjoys being a contributor.

This article was contributed by a student member of Section's Engineering Education Program. Please report any errors or innaccuracies to