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?

Answer rating: 76

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

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