How to override and extend basic Django admin templates?

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Question :

How to override and extend basic Django admin templates?

How do I override an admin template (e.g. admin/index.html) while at the same time extending it (see

First – I know that this question has been asked and answered before (see Django: Overriding AND extending an app template) but as the answer says it isn’t directly applicable if you’re using the app_directories template loader (which is most of the time).

My current workaround is to make copies and extend from them instead of extending directly from the admin templates. This works great but it’s really confusing and adds extra work when the admin templates change.

It could think of some custom extend-tag for the templates but I don’t want to reinvent the wheel if there already exists a solution.

On a side note: Does anybody know if this problem will be addressed by Django itself?

Asked By: Semmel


Answer #1:


Read the Docs for your version of Django. e.g.

Original answer from 2011:

I had the same issue about a year and a half ago and I found a nice template loader on that makes this easy. It allows you to extend a template in a specific app, giving you the ability to create your own admin/index.html that extends the admin/index.html template from the admin app. Like this:

{% extends "admin:admin/index.html" %}

{% block sidebar %}
        <h1>Extra links</h1>
        <a href="/admin/extra/">My extra link</a>
{% endblock %}

I’ve given a full example on how to use this template loader in a blog post on my website.

Answered By: heyman

Answer #2:

As for Django 1.8 being the current release, there is no need to symlink, copy the admin/templates to your project folder, or install middlewares as suggested by the answers above. Here is what to do:

  1. create the following tree structure(recommended by the official documentation)

         |-- your_project/
         |-- myapp/
         |-- templates/
              |-- admin/
                  |-- myapp/
                      |-- change_form.html  <- do not misspell this

Note: The location of this file is not important. You can put it inside your app and it will still work. As long as its location can be discovered by django. What’s more important is the name of the HTML file has to be the same as the original HTML file name provided by django.

  1. Add this template path to your

            'BACKEND': 'django.template.backends.django.DjangoTemplates',
            'DIRS': [os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'templates')], # <- add this line
            'APP_DIRS': True,
            'OPTIONS': {
                'context_processors': [
  2. Identify the name and block you want to override. This is done by looking into django’s admin/templates directory. I am using virtualenv, so for me, the path is here:


In this example, I want to modify the add new user form. The template responsiblve for this view is change_form.html. Open up the change_form.html and find the {% block %} that you want to extend.

  1. In your change_form.html, write somethings like this:

    {% extends "admin/change_form.html" %}
    {% block field_sets %}
         {# your modification here #}
    {% endblock %}
  2. Load up your page and you should see the changes

Answered By: Cheng

Answer #3:

if you need to overwrite the admin/index.html, you can set the index_template parameter of the AdminSite.


from django.contrib import admin = 'admin/my_custom_index.html'

and place your template in <appname>/templates/admin/my_custom_index.html

Answered By: gingerlime

Answer #4:

With django 1.5 (at least) you can define the template you want to use for a particular modeladmin


You can do something like

class Myadmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    change_form_template = 'change_form.htm'

With change_form.html being a simple html template extending admin/change_form.html (or not if you want to do it from scratch)

Answered By: maazza

Answer #5:

Chengs’s answer is correct, howewer according to the admin docs not every admin template can be overwritten this way:

Templates which may be overridden per app or model

Not every template in contrib/admin/templates/admin may be overridden
per app or per model. The following can:


For those templates that cannot be overridden in this way, you may
still override them for your entire project. Just place the new
version in your templates/admin directory. This is particularly useful
to create custom 404 and 500 pages

I had to overwrite the login.html of the admin and therefore had to put the overwritten template in this folder structure:

 |-- your_project/
 |-- myapp/
 |-- templates/
      |-- admin/
          |-- login.html  <- do not misspell this

(without the myapp subfolder in the admin)
I do not have enough repution for commenting on Cheng’s post this is why I had to write this as new answer.

Answered By: matyas

Answer #6:

I couldn’t find a single answer or a section in the official Django docs that had all the information I needed to override/extend the default admin templates, so I’m writing this answer as a complete guide, hoping that it would be helpful for others in the future.

Assuming the standard Django project structure:

mysite-container/         # project container directory
    mysite/               # project package

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. In mysite/, create a sub-class of AdminSite:

    from django.contrib.admin import AdminSite
    class CustomAdminSite(AdminSite):
        # set values for `site_header`, `site_title`, `index_title` etc.
        site_header = 'Custom Admin Site'
        # extend / override admin views, such as `index()`
        def index(self, request, extra_context=None):
            extra_context = extra_context or {}
            # do whatever you want to do and save the values in `extra_context`
            extra_context['world'] = 'Earth'
            return super(CustomAdminSite, self).index(request, extra_context)
    custom_admin_site = CustomAdminSite()

    Make sure to import custom_admin_site in the of your apps and register your models on it to display them on your customized admin site (if you want to).

  2. In mysite/, create a sub-class of AdminConfig and set default_site to admin.CustomAdminSite from the previous step:

    from django.contrib.admin.apps import AdminConfig
    class CustomAdminConfig(AdminConfig):
        default_site = 'admin.CustomAdminSite'
  3. In mysite/, replace in INSTALLED_APPS with apps.CustomAdminConfig (your custom admin app config from the previous step).

  4. In mysite/, replace from the admin URL to custom_admin_site.urls

    from .admin import custom_admin_site
    urlpatterns = [
        path('admin/', custom_admin_site.urls),
        # for Django 1.x versions: url(r'^admin/', include(custom_admin_site.urls)),
  5. Create the template you want to modify in your templates directory, maintaining the default Django admin templates directory structure as specified in the docs. For example, if you were modifying admin/index.html, create the file templates/admin/index.html.

    All of the existing templates can be modified this way, and their names and structures can be found in Django’s source code.

  6. Now you can either override the template by writing it from scratch or extend it and then override/extend specific blocks.

    For example, if you wanted to keep everything as-is but wanted to override the content block (which on the index page lists the apps and their models that you registered), add the following to templates/admin/index.html:

    {% extends 'admin/index.html' %}
    {% block content %}
        Hello, {{ world }}!
    {% endblock %}

    To preserve the original contents of a block, add {{ block.super }} wherever you want the original contents to be displayed:

    {% extends 'admin/index.html' %}
    {% block content %}
        Hello, {{ world }}!
      {{ block.super }}
    {% endblock %}

    You can also add custom styles and scripts by modifying the extrastyle and extrahead blocks.

Answered By: Faheel

Answer #7:

The best way to do it is to put the Django admin templates inside your project. So your templates would be in templates/admin while the stock Django admin templates would be in say template/django_admin. Then, you can do something like the following:


{% extends 'django_admin/change_form.html' %}

Your stuff here

If you’re worried about keeping the stock templates up to date, you can include them with svn externals or similar.

Answered By: Chris Pratt

Answer #8:

for app index add this line to somewhere common py file like = 'admin/custom_index.html'

for app module index : add this line to

admin.AdminSite.app_index_template = "servers/servers-home.html"

for change list : add this line to admin class:

change_list_template = "servers/servers_changelist.html"

for app module form template : add this line to your admin class

change_form_template = "servers/server_changeform.html"

etc. and find other in same admin’s module classes

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