An overview of features in Discourse Sidebar

This tutorial demonstrates how to use the sidebar in Discourse-powered forums.

Primary Menu


  • Everything brings you to the latest posts on your forum.
  • My Posts will allow you to see the posts you have written.
  • Clicking on More will expand the details, and you can perform more functions.
  • Groups takes you to the page where you can see your groups.
  • Users takes you to the leaderboard for the users on your forum, if enabled.
  • Badges will take you to a gallery of badges if enabled.

Functions exclusive to Meta:

  • Leaderboard will take you to the cheers leaderboard (non-global.)
  • Global Leaderboard will take you to the cheers leaderboard (global.)
  • Topic Filter will take you to the topic filter menu.

Please note that there may be additional buttons if you have plugins installed. For example, if you have Cakeday installed on your forum, Anniversaries and Birthdays will appear on your forum.

  • About brings you to the page on your forum that explains details about your forum.
  • FAQ brings you to your FAQ Page

If you are an admin, then Review and Admin will be available. Review is where you can review other people’s posts, and Admin takes you to the settings for your forum.

Categories and Tags


Categories and tags display the tags in the sidebar for easy access. Clicking on the categories will bring you to the category you selected.

In order to edit these categories, you need to click on the pencil icon. You will be brought to the sidebar settings page, where you can select your categories.
Then, click on the plus icon and add the categories or tags that you need.

Clicking on “All categories” will bring you to the menu where all the categories are displayed. The same goes if you click on “All tags”, this will bring you to a menu with all the tags.


Messages is a quick menu that allows you to view and compose messages. To compose messages, press the “+” button next to the Messages tab. To view messages, click on “Inbox”. If you are in a group, you may have multiple inboxes.



The Channels tab allows you to view the current channels

From there, you can edit which channels you want to join or leave.
The “My Threads” Tab allows you to manage the threads you have created in your chat.
The DMs tab allows you to view personal chats. To compose a new personal chat, click the “+” button next to the personal chat tab. To remove a person, click on the “X” next to the user you want to remove.


There is a section in the Preferences tab of your profile where you can edit your sidebar settings.

From there, you can edit your categories, tags, and change the way the sidebar displays new posts.
There is a setting for the blue badges next to the posts. There is also a setting to link to unread and show a count of new items, which looks like this:

Sidebar Sections

First, click the “+” button to add things to the sidebar.
Then, a modal will be displayed:

This picture is an example of a custom sidebar section.

You can customize the icon, the name, or the links in the sidebar menu. This is a good way to increase productivity :slight_smile:

Admin Sidebar (Experimental)

This is a new feature, but moderators and administrators of the forum can enter the admin sidebar. This sidebar menu allows you to manage your forum straight from the sidebar.

For more information:


  • To open the sidebar on Mobile, you need to press the hamburger button on the top right corner, which is located next to your profile picture.

  • Elements of this guide may become outdated overtime as time goes by. Feel free to update those.


How do we hide the sidebar by default for people who are coming the the side for the first time?


There is a theme-component to hide the sidebar from people who are not logged in


2 posts were split to a new topic: Default close the sidebar?

Is there a way to add the links for Unread, New and Latest in the sidebar? Those are very handy links that are easy to access in the non-sidebar layout but it makes it difficult to access that once the sidebar is enabled (one need to go to All categories and then access it from the top bar).I would like to give users the flexibility to seeing the latest topics, unread topics and topics via the sidebar possibly under the Community tab (along with Everything and My Posts)

1 Like

Yes, you can do that with the + button at the bottom of the sidebar.
For more info:Custom sidebar sections being tested on meta

I have implemented my example of this:


It looks like each user can customize this for their needs, is there way as an Admin where I can put those links for All users by default (or is that still in the works per the comment in the last line)?

Yes, this plugin allows you to create a global section visible to all members of a forum!

This feature is coming soon. Please wait for them to implement that feature.

It is actually ‘here’ - it is just ‘experimental’ at the moment. You’ll find the flag to turn it on in the site settings:


Once tags are are selected in the Tags section, they appear in the sidebar in alphabetical order and can’t be reordered. Is there a setting that would allow users to choose the order that tags are listed in on the sidebar?


Do you know if it’ll be included in the next release

1 Like

It’s available now as part of the tests-passed branch, and will be part of stable at the next release window. :+1:


Thanks. Just to confirm would that be the 3.0.5 release or 3.1 release?

1 Like

It’ll be part of the upcoming 3.1 Stable release.


Just for reference, custom sidebar sections option in the settings menu doesn’t exist anymore. It’s done directly on the sidebar as explained here


7 posts were split to a new topic: How to move Anniversaries, Birthdays, Docs and Maps out of the ‘more’ section?

I decided to update this guide as some of the guide has became outdated.
I’ve added the following to this guide:

  • (Aug 2023) - Better sidebar layout, updated.
  • Added a small section that describes the functions in Meta.
  • Revised the chat section of the guide as the chat system has updated
  • Added a new chapter about the new admin sidebar in Discourse.