This plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

Global Meta Box Order

Description

Intuitively harmonize meta box positions and screen column layout for all backend users of your WordPress installation.

Quick Overview

  • Install and activate the plugin
  • Switch to a post, a page, a custom post type, or the dashboard
  • Change the order and position of a meta box (or all of them)
  • Change the column layout
  • Switch to a different user (maybe with the help of the User Switching plugin)
  • See your changes applied

Installation

Download and unpack, then move the folder ‘global-meta-box-order’ into your ‘plugins’ folder. Head over to your WordPress installation and activate the plugin in the admin area.

Rollback

The plugin doesn’t write anything to the database, it just reads. So it never touches any user settings, but instead filters them on a per request basis. Though all applied changes appear to be permanent from a user’s perspective, they are not. Just deactivate the plugin and see all changes disappear. Activate it again, and they will all be reapplied.

How It Works

The plugin operates on a blueprint user whose screen settings for meta boxes (visibility, position and ordering), and column layout are cloned for all other backend users on the fly.

By default, this blueprint user is the first admin user found, so you’ll need to be logged in as that user to globally change screen settings. For how to change the default blueprint user as well as other settings, please refer to the Configuration section below.

Where It Works

By default, the plugin kicks in when a user:

  • edits a post
  • edits a page
  • edits a custom post type
  • hits the dashboard

What It Changes

It will always change

  • the meta boxes visibility, ordering, and column positions
  • the column layout

When told so, it will also

  • remove the screen options box
  • immobilize all boxes, so they can’t be moved around by your users anymore

Usage

Log in as your blueprint user. By default, the is the first admin user found in your system.

Select an editing screen (post, page, custom post type) or the dashboard, move the meta boxes around, change their screen settings and the screen’s column layout. Switch to some user to review your settings, switch back to adjust them.

When done, you might want to lock your views down by removing the screen options box and by locking the boxes’ sort order. Your blueprint user, of course, wil not be affected by this.

Configuration

The backend integration is kept to a minimum. No navigation entry, no options page, no entry in the database. Instead, the place to go to configure the plugin is your theme’s functions.php.

By the way: You don’t need to configure the plugin. As long as it finds an admin user, it will work just fine.

Preparation

Fire up an editor, load your functions.php, and copy and paste the following code into it. The idea is to have some sort of container to do the configuration in, but do it any way you like.

For brevity, we’ll assume the plugin is loaded and active, so we won’t check for that (see this nice write-up on QueryLoop on some ways to do it, though).

if (is_admin()) {

    // The path to the configuation is rather long, so let's
    // make us a shorthand.
    class_alias('\GlobalMetaBoxOrder\Config', 'MetaBoxConfig');

    // Add MetaBoxConfig below this line
    ...
}

Now we are ready to add some of the configuration settings below to adjust the plugin’s default behaviour. You might also want to have a look at the example configuration near the end of this document.

Please keep in mind that you need to be logged in as any user but your blueprint user to see a setting applied. Again, the User Switching plugin might come in handy.

Screens To Operate On

By default, the plugin operates on the post, page, and custom post type editing screens, and the dashboard.

You can change this as follows:

// Operate on post and page screens only, leave the dashboard alone.
// This will still include custom post types.
MetaBoxConfig::$filter = array('post', 'page');

// Exclude custom post types
MetaBoxConfig::$include_cpts = false; 

// Allow custom post types...
MetaBoxConfig::$include_cpts = true; 

// ...but not all of them
MetaBoxConfig::$exclude = array('acme_product');

MetaBoxConfig in the example above is assumed to be an alias to \GlobalMetaBoxOrder\Config as shown in the preparation section above.

Changing the Blueprint User

Register a function that returns a user id, like so:

MetaBoxConfig::$getBlueprintUserId = function () { return 1; };

Or, more involved:

MetaBoxConfig::$getBlueprintUserId = function () { 

    $user = get_user_by('slug', 'jane');
    return $user ? $user->ID : false; 
};

MetaBoxConfig in the example above is assumed to be an alias to \GlobalMetaBoxOrder\Config as shown in the preparation section above.

Locking Views

By default, all users will be able to interact with the screen options box, and to move around the meta boxes themselves. There is a rationale behind it, but to cut things short, this is how you might want to change it:

// No screen options 
MetaBoxConfig::$remove_screen_options = true;

// Meta boxes can't be moved anymore 
MetaBoxConfig::$lock_meta_box_order = true; 

MetaBoxConfig in the example above is assumed to be an alias to \GlobalMetaBoxOrder\Config as shown in the preparation section above.

Example Configuration

if (is_admin()) {

    // Make sure plugin is active
    if (class_exists('\GlobalMetaBoxOrder\Config')) {

        // Make a long name short. 
        class_alias('\GlobalMetaBoxOrder\Config', 'MetaBoxConfig');

        // Settings

        MetaBoxConfig::$filter = array('post', 'page', 'dashboard'); // default
        MetaBoxConfig::$include_cpts = true; // default
        MetaBoxConfig::$getBlueprintUserId = function () { return 1; };
        MetaBoxConfig::$exclude = array('acme_product');
        MetaBoxConfig::$remove_screen_options = true;
        MetaBoxConfig::$lock_meta_box_order = true; 
    }
}

On Moving the WYSIWYG Editor

The position of WordPress’ WYSIWYG editor is fixed, and can’t be changed out of the box (mostly because it lacks a box around it). There are reasons for this, but if you want to have a positionable editor anyway, you might want to have a look at our very own Movable Editor plugin.

If, on the other hand, if you want to place one specific box above the editor, you might want to check out this answer on stackexchange.

Screenshots

  • A post editing screen with all sorts of meta boxes turned on. A somewhat cluttered view, potentially distracting your editors, and overwhelming new users.

  • An uncluttered view, leaving only those meta boxes turned on your users might need for their work. Also, the order of the meta boxes has changed a bit to improve your editors workflow.

  • The new uncluttered view gets applied to all of your users, so they only see the meta boxes they need to see, in the order you define.

Reviews

Excellent

Got it working in no time. Locked meta boxes and hid the screen options button. Hopefully I’ve just made the client’s life 10x easier by arranging meta boxes in a logical order.

Why WordPress doesn’t let you set the default layout out of the box is beyond me.

Read all 5 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Global Meta Box Order” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.

Contributors

Changelog

1.0.3

  • Check for AJAX requests