Introduction To Flask-Admin

Getting Started


The first step is to initialize an empty admin interface for your Flask app:

from flask import Flask
from flask_admin import Admin

app = Flask(__name__)

# set optional bootswatch theme
app.config['FLASK_ADMIN_SWATCH'] = 'cerulean'

admin = Admin(app, name='microblog', template_mode='bootstrap3')
# Add administrative views here

Here, both the name and template_mode parameters are optional. Alternatively, you could use the init_app() method.

If you start this application and navigate to http://localhost:5000/admin/, you should see an empty page with a navigation bar on top. Customize the look by specifying a Bootswatch theme that suits your needs (see for available swatches).

Adding Model Views

Model views allow you to add a dedicated set of admin pages for managing any model in your database. Do this by creating instances of the ModelView class, which you can import from one of Flask-Admin’s built-in ORM backends. An example is the SQLAlchemy backend, which you can use as follows:

from flask_admin.contrib.sqla import ModelView

# Flask and Flask-SQLAlchemy initialization here

admin = Admin(app, name='microblog', template_mode='bootstrap3')
admin.add_view(ModelView(User, db.session))
admin.add_view(ModelView(Post, db.session))

Straight out of the box, this gives you a set of fully featured CRUD views for your model:

  • A list view, with support for searching, sorting, filtering, and deleting records.
  • A create view for adding new records.
  • An edit view for updating existing records.
  • An optional, read-only details view.

There are many options available for customizing the display and functionality of these built-in views. For more details on that, see Customizing Built-in Views. For more details on the other ORM backends that are available, see Using Different Database Backends.

Adding Content to the Index Page

The first thing you’ll notice when you visit http://localhost:5000/admin/ is that it’s just an empty page with a navigation menu. To add some content to this page, save the following text as admin/index.html in your project’s templates directory:

{% extends 'admin/master.html' %}

{% block body %}
  <p>Hello world</p>
{% endblock %}

This will override the default index template, but still give you the built-in navigation menu. So, now you can add any content to the index page, while maintaining a consistent user experience.

Authorization & Permissions

When setting up an admin interface for your application, one of the first problems you’ll want to solve is how to keep unwanted users out. With Flask-Admin there are a few different ways of approaching this.

HTTP Basic Auth

Unfortunately, there is no easy way of applying HTTP Basic Auth just to your admin interface.

The simplest form of authentication is HTTP Basic Auth. It doesn’t interfere with your database models, and it doesn’t require you to write any new view logic or template code. So it’s great for when you’re deploying something that’s still under development, before you want the whole world to see it.

Have a look at Flask-BasicAuth to see just how easy it is to put your whole application behind HTTP Basic Auth.

Rolling Your Own

For a more flexible solution, Flask-Admin lets you define access control rules on each of your admin view classes by simply overriding the is_accessible method. How you implement the logic is up to you, but if you were to use a low-level library like Flask-Login, then restricting access could be as simple as:

class MicroBlogModelView(sqla.ModelView):

    def is_accessible(self):
        return login.current_user.is_authenticated

    def inaccessible_callback(self, name, **kwargs):
        # redirect to login page if user doesn't have access
        return redirect(url_for('login', next=request.url))

In the navigation menu, components that are not accessible to a particular user will not be displayed for that user. For an example of using Flask-Login with Flask-Admin, have a look at

The main drawback is that you still need to implement all of the relevant login, registration, and account management views yourself.

Using Flask-Security

If you want a more polished solution, you could use Flask-Security, which is a higher-level library. It comes with lots of built-in views for doing common things like user registration, login, email address confirmation, password resets, etc.

The only complicated bit is making the built-in Flask-Security views integrate smoothly with the Flask-Admin templates to create a consistent user experience. To do this, you will need to override the built-in Flask-Security templates and have them extend the Flask-Admin base template by adding the following to the top of each file:

{% extends 'admin/master.html' %}

Now, you’ll need to manually pass in some context variables for the Flask-Admin templates to render correctly when they’re being called from the Flask-Security views. Defining a security_context_processor function will take care of this for you:

def security_context_processor():
    return dict(

For a working example of using Flask-Security with Flask-Admin, have a look at

The example only uses the built-in register and login views, but you could follow the same approach for including the other views, like forgot_password, send_confirmation, etc.

Customizing Built-in Views

When inheriting from ModelView, values can be specified for numerous configuration parameters. Use these to customize the views to suit your particular models:

from flask_admin.contrib.sqla import ModelView

# Flask and Flask-SQLAlchemy initialization here

class MicroBlogModelView(ModelView):
    can_delete = False  # disable model deletion
    page_size = 50  # the number of entries to display on the list view

admin.add_view(MicroBlogModelView(User, db.session))
admin.add_view(MicroBlogModelView(Post, db.session))

Or, in much the same way, you can specify options for a single model at a time:

class UserView(ModelView):
        can_delete = False  # disable model deletion

class PostView(ModelView):
        page_size = 50  # the number of entries to display on the list view

admin.add_view(UserView(User, db.session))
admin.add_view(PostView(Post, db.session))

ModelView Configuration Attributes

For a complete list of the attributes that are defined, have a look at the API documentation for BaseModelView(). Here are some of the most commonly used attributes:

To disable some of the CRUD operations, set any of these boolean parameters:

can_create = False
can_edit = False
can_delete = False

If your model has too much data to display in the list view, you can add a read-only details view by setting:

can_view_details = True

Removing columns from the list view is easy, just pass a list of column names for the column_exclude_list parameter:

column_exclude_list = ['password', ]

To make columns searchable, or to use them for filtering, specify a list of column names:

column_searchable_list = ['name', 'email']
column_filters = ['country']

For a faster editing experience, enable inline editing in the list view:

column_editable_list = ['name', 'last_name']

Or, have the add & edit forms display inside a modal window on the list page, instead of the dedicated create & edit pages:

create_modal = True
edit_modal = True

You can restrict the possible values for a text-field by specifying a list of select choices:

form_choices = {
    'title': [
        ('MR', 'Mr'),
        ('MRS', 'Mrs'),
        ('MS', 'Ms'),
        ('DR', 'Dr'),
        ('PROF', 'Prof.')

To remove fields from the create and edit forms:

form_excluded_columns = ['last_name', 'email']

To specify WTForms field arguments:

form_args = {
    'name': {
        'label': 'First Name',
        'validators': [required()]

Or, to specify arguments to the WTForms widgets used to render those fields:

form_widget_args = {
    'description': {
        'rows': 10,
        'style': 'color: black'

When your forms contain foreign keys, have those related models loaded via ajax, using:

form_ajax_refs = {
    'user': {
        'fields': ['first_name', 'last_name', 'email'],
        'page_size': 10

To filter the results that are loaded via ajax, you can use:

form_ajax_refs = {
    'active_user': QueryAjaxModelLoader('user', db.session, User,
                                 filters=["is_active=True", "id>1000"])

To manage related models inline:

inline_models = ['post', ]

These inline forms can be customized. Have a look at the API documentation for inline_models().

To enable csv export of the model view:

can_export = True

This will add a button to the model view that exports records, truncating at export_max_rows.

Grouping Views

When adding a view, specify a value for the category parameter to group related views together in the menu:

admin.add_view(UserView(User, db.session, category="Team"))
admin.add_view(ModelView(Role, db.session, category="Team"))
admin.add_view(ModelView(Permission, db.session, category="Team"))

This will create a top-level menu item named ‘Team’, and a drop-down containing links to the three views.

To nest related views within these drop-downs, use the add_sub_category method:

admin.add_sub_category(name="Links", parent_name="Team")

And to add arbitrary hyperlinks to the menu:

admin.add_link(MenuLink(name='Home Page', url='/', category='Links'))

Adding Your Own Views

For situations where your requirements are really specific and you struggle to meet them with the built-in ModelView class, Flask-Admin makes it easy for you to take full control and add your own views to the interface.

Standalone Views

A set of standalone views (not tied to any particular model) can be added by extending the BaseView class and defining your own view methods. For example, to add a page that displays some analytics data from a 3rd-party API:

from flask_admin import BaseView, expose

class AnalyticsView(BaseView):
    def index(self):
        return self.render('analytics_index.html')

admin.add_view(AnalyticsView(name='Analytics', endpoint='analytics'))

This will add a link to the navbar for your view. Notice that it is served at ‘/’, the root URL. This is a restriction on standalone views: at the very minimum, each view class needs at least one method to serve a view at its root.

The analytics_index.html template for the example above, could look something like:

{% extends 'admin/master.html' %}
{% block body %}
  <p>Here I'm going to display some data.</p>
{% endblock %}

By extending the admin/master.html template, you can maintain a consistent user experience, even while having tight control over your page’s content.

Overriding the Built-in Views

There may be some scenarios where you want most of the built-in ModelView functionality, but you want to replace one of the default create, edit, or list views. For this you could override only the view in question, and all the links to it will still function as you would expect:

from flask_admin.contrib.sqla import ModelView

# Flask and Flask-SQLAlchemy initialization here

class UserView(ModelView):
    @expose('/new/', methods=('GET', 'POST'))
    def create_view(self):
        Custom create view.

    return self.render('create_user.html')

Working With the Built-in Templates

Flask-Admin uses the Jinja2 templating engine.

Extending the Built-in Templates

Rather than overriding the built-in templates completely, it’s best to extend them. This will make it simpler for you to upgrade to new Flask-Admin versions in future.

Internally, the Flask-Admin templates are derived from the admin/master.html template. The three most interesting templates for you to extend are probably:

  • admin/model/list.html
  • admin/model/create.html
  • admin/model/edit.html

To extend the default edit template with your own functionality, create a template in templates/microblog_edit.html to look something like:

{% extends 'admin/model/edit.html' %}

{% block body %}
    <h1>MicroBlog Edit View</h1>
    {{ super() }}
{% endblock %}

Now, to make your view classes use this template, set the appropriate class property:

class MicroBlogModelView(ModelView):
    edit_template = 'microblog_edit.html'
    # create_template = 'microblog_create.html'
    # list_template = 'microblog_list.html'
    # details_template = 'microblog_details.html'
    # edit_modal_template = 'microblog_edit_modal.html'
    # create_modal_template = 'microblog_create_modal.html'
    # details_modal_template = 'microblog_details_modal.html'

If you want to use your own base template, then pass the name of the template to the admin constructor during initialization:

admin = Admin(app, base_template='microblog_master.html')

Overriding the Built-in Templates

To take full control over the style and layout of the admin interface, you can override all of the built-in templates. Just keep in mind that the templates will change slightly from one version of Flask-Admin to the next, so once you start overriding them, you need to take care when upgrading your package version.

To override any of the built-in templates, simply copy them from the Flask-Admin source into your project’s templates/admin/ directory. As long as the filenames stay the same, the templates in your project directory should automatically take precedence over the built-in ones.

Available Template Blocks

Flask-Admin defines one base template at admin/master.html that all other admin templates are derived from. This template is a proxy which points to admin/base.html, which defines the following blocks:

Block Name Description
head_meta Page metadata in the header
title Page title
head_css Various CSS includes in the header
head Empty block in HTML head, in case you want to put something there
page_body Page layout
brand Logo in the menu bar
main_menu Main menu
menu_links Links menu
access_control Section to the right of the menu (can be used to add login/logout buttons)
messages Alerts and various messages
body Content (that’s where your view will be displayed)
tail Empty area below content

In addition to all of the blocks that are inherited from admin/master.html, the admin/model/list.html template also contains the following blocks:

Block Name Description
model_menu_bar Menu bar
model_list_table Table container
list_header Table header row
list_row_actions_header Actions header
list_row Single row
list_row_actions Row action cell with edit/remove/etc buttons
empty_list_message Message that will be displayed if there are no models found

Have a look at the layout example at to see how you can take full stylistic control over the admin interface.

Environment Variables

While working in any of the templates that extend admin/master.html, you have access to a small number of environment variables:

Variable Name Description
admin_view Current administrative view
admin_base_template Base template name
_gettext Babel gettext
_ngettext Babel ngettext
h Helpers from helpers module

Generating URLs

To generate the URL for a specific view, use url_for with a dot prefix:

from flask import url_for

class MyView(BaseView):
    def index(self):
        # Get URL for the test view method
        user_list_url = url_for('user.index_view')
        return self.render('index.html', user_list_url=user_list_url)

A specific record can also be referenced with:

# Edit View for record #1 (redirect back to index_view)
url_for('user.edit_view', id=1, url=url_for('user.index_view'))

When referencing ModelView instances, use the lowercase name of the model as the prefix when calling url_for. Other views can be referenced by specifying a unique endpoint for each, and using that as the prefix. So, you could use:


If your view endpoint was defined like:

admin.add_view(CustomView(name='Analytics', endpoint='analytics'))