Using the Discourse sidebar

:bookmark: This is a comprehensive guide explaining the various features and functionalities of the Discourse sidebar, including how to customize it for your needs.

:person_raising_hand: Required user level: All users

The sidebar in Discourse provides quick access to various forum features and allows for easy navigation. This guide will walk you through the different sections of the sidebar and how to use them effectively.

Primary menu

The primary menu contains essential navigation links:

  • Topics: Shows the latest posts on your forum.
  • My Posts: Displays the posts you have written.
  • More: Expands to show additional options.
  • Groups: Takes you to your groups page.
  • Users: Shows the user leaderboard (if enabled).
  • Badges: Displays the badge gallery (if enabled).
  • About: Provides information about your forum.
  • FAQ: Links to your forum’s FAQ page.

Administrators will also see Review and Admin options for moderation and site management.

:bulb: 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 in your sidebar.

Categories and tags

Categories and tags section

This section displays categories and tags for easy access. To customize:

  1. Click on the pencil icon to access sidebar settings.
  2. Use the plus icon to add or remove categories and tags.
  3. Click on “All categories” or “All tags” to view the complete list.


The Messages section allows you to:

  • View your inbox
  • Compose new messages by clicking the “+” button
  • Access multiple inboxes if you’re in different groups


Chat section

If your forum has Chat enabled, you will see the Chat section, which includes:

  • Channels: View and manage chat channels
  • My Threads: Manage threads you’ve created
  • DMs: Access personal chats

To start a new DM, click the “+” button next to the personal chat tab.

Customizing your sidebar

You can personalize your sidebar experience:

  1. Go to your user preferences.
  2. Find the “Sidebar” section.
  3. Adjust settings for categories, tags, and how new posts are displayed.

Creating custom sidebar sections

To add a custom section:

  1. Click the “+” button at the bottom of the sidebar.
  2. In the modal, customize the icon, name, and links for your new section.

This feature allows you to create personalized navigation options to improve your productivity.

Mobile access

To open the sidebar on mobile devices, tap the hamburger menu icon in the top right corner, next to your profile picture.

Additional notes

  • The sidebar layout and available options may vary depending on your forum’s settings and installed plugins.
  • Administrators can create global sidebar sections visible to all forum members.
  • Custom sidebar sections are an experimental feature and may be subject to changes.

:information_source: As Discourse continues to evolve, some elements of this guide may become outdated. Those with access to edit documentation can keep it updated as needed.

Last edited by @hugh 2024-07-02T06:43:52Z

Last checked by @hugh 2024-07-02T06:43:57Z

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