Create A Modal Box on WordPress Dashboard

Recently I was writing a plugin for a client. It was a simple plugin to manage invoices and customers. The development is pretty fast thanks to Elliot Condon for his awesome ACF plugin.

One of the plugin’s requirement is user can add a new customer directly from the invoice page. As default, I put a post object field for user to select the existing customer. So I decided to put the add new customer form in a modal box. And after some while looking for, I finally found how to create it using WordPress’ bundled Thickbox.

Enqueueing Thickbox Libraries

First, we need to enqueue Thickbox’s JS and CSS with simply:


Create A Trigger Button

Then we need a button to trigger the popup when it’s clicked. It must have .thickbox class so the javascript can handle it properly. To have it button-like visual, append .button class.

Next part is building the URL. It consists of 4 important query args: action, TB_iframe, width, and height. The action value determines our hook when creating the page. So here how the button looks like:

$url = add_query_arg( array(
    'action'    => 'foo_modal_box',
    'TB_iframe' => 'true',
    'width'     => '600',
    'height'    => '400'
), admin_url( 'admin.php' ) );

echo '<a href="' . $url . '" class="button button-primary thickbox">' . __( 'Add New Customer', 'foo' ) . '</a>';

In code above, we use add_query_arg() to build our URL. The result would be:

Create the Page

We’ll hook to admin_action_{$action} to create our page. By default, we’ll get a blank response when requesting to that page. We can simply testing with an echo and exit.

function foo_render_action_page() {
    define( 'IFRAME_REQUEST', true );

    // ... your content here ...
add_action( 'admin_action_foo_modal_box', 'foo_render_action_page' );

Note the IFRAME_REQUEST constant, it will remove extra 32px top padding of the <html> added by .wp-toolbar.

iframe_header() and iframe_footer() work like wp_head() and wp_footer() on theme. They will output base HTML page tailored for iframe view. That means no admin bar, no admin menu, just empty page.

Alright, go on and try clicking our button. TADAA! 🙂