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The ‘Screen Options’ tab is a really useful feature, but it’s shy. It sits in the upper-right corner of many of your WordPress screens, quietly hoping you’ll click on it and use all of its helpful features. Well, we’re not going to let it hide any longer. We’re going to show you where to find it, and how to use it, so you can more easily manage your WordPress website.

Where to find it

This quick video is all you’ll need:

How to use it

When you click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab, you might see one, two or three sets of options depending on what you can change about that particular screen. Each has their own heading:

  • ‘Boxes’ or ‘Columns’ - A set of buttons you can tick or untick to control what appears on that screen, which will usually be either boxes or columns. If ticked, the specified box or column will appear on the screen; if unticked, it will not. As soon as you tick or untick, the item will appear or disappear, but you need to click the ‘Apply’ button at the bottom of the tab for the change to actually take effect, otherwise it won’t save.
  • Pagination (a fancy word for page divisions) - Adjusts how many items (generally columns or boxes, as mentioned above) you see per page. Instead of items, it could also say ‘forms’, ‘newsletters’ or something else, depending on what’s on the page. To change the number of items, simply delete the number that is already in the box, work out how many items you want to see per page and type that number instead. Then, click ‘Apply’.
  • View Mode - Controls the amount of information you see within the columns. If you tick ‘Compact View’, you will see more information; if you tick ‘Extended View’, you will see less. For example, clicking ‘Extended View’ on the ‘Posts’ screen will reveal an excerpt from each post you have on there, whereas if you click ‘Compact View’ there will be no excerpt. And - you know what’s coming - after you’ve made a change you need to click ‘Apply’ for it to take effect.

So, when using the ‘Screen Options’ tab, use ‘Boxes’ or ‘Columns’ to control which items you want to see, ‘Pagination’ to control how many items you want to see per page, and ‘View Mode’ to control how much information you want to see per item. Why is this so useful? Because when you can view your WordPress the way you want to see it, it will be quicker and easier for you to use.

It’s important to note that if there are other users for that WordPress site, the changes that you make will only appear for your user profile, and not theirs.

Taking it a step further: ‘Link Target’

Okay, I’m going to throw a lot of stuff at you now, so get ready (don’t worry, though, there’s a video taking you through it afterwards). On the ‘Menus’ screen, you can control what appears in your website’s menu bar, and in what order. Under the ‘Screen Options’ tab here, you will see a new heading that reads ‘Show advanced menu properties’, and underneath a button that says ‘Link Target’ next to it. This could be very useful to you.

If you tick ‘Link Target’ and open up a menu item, you’ll see another button that says ‘Open link in a new tab’. If you tick this button, it means that when a visitor to your website clicks on that menu option it will open in a new tab, rather than their current tab.

Why is this useful? Well, if the menu option leads to a different website - a sister company's blog, or one of your social media profiles, for example - then your visitor will have to leave your website to get there. You want your website’s visitors to stay and have a cup of tea, not leave in a hurry. What’s more, it’s bad for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), because the longer visitors stay on your website, the more likely it is to rank higher in SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

Here, after making a change, you need to click ‘Save Menu’ in the upper-right corner of the menu box, or it won’t take effect.

If you’re confused, you have a right to be - here’s another quick video showing you how it’s done:

Managing a WordPress website isn’t easy. It takes some getting used to. However, now that we’ve brought the ‘Screen Options’ tab into the light, hopefully it’ll be a bit easier to manage what you see on your WordPress. The best way to get used to this WordPress tab is by experimenting with it. Don’t worry too much about messing things up; if you don’t like it, all you need to do is change it back to what it was before.

How we can help

At Support4WordPress, we’ve been through the process of tearing our hair out trying to figure out how it all works. Now, we know. So, if you’re looking for WordPress management in Manchester, we’ll be happy to take care of it for you. Contact us on 0161 236 3939, or email us directly at help@support4wordpress.com.

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