How to customize and override Joomla ISIS and Hathor backend administrator templates

Sometimes you may want or need to change the style and design look of the backend admin template, the look when logged-in administrators see when they are in the /administrator backend area. By default, Joomla loads the Isis and makes available another option, Hathor, administration templates.

How to duplicate (Copy and Save) another copy of Isis / Hathor and customize

  1. Login to backend
  2. Go to Extensions > Templates > Select from list Isis or Hathor > click on "Duplicate" button
  3. Click to open Duplicate or Copy of admin template made
  4. Edit as needed
    • rename it as needed, anything as appropriate to your needs
    • make it default
    • go to Advanced tab, change the colors and upload new logos as needed among other settings
    • Save and close

How to change further the CSS styles and override styling

Sometimes above options are not enough when you need customize further. Joomla provides an administrator template override mechanism. Joomla will now check to see if there is a another CSS file named "custom.css" that it can detect and override any default styles. You can achieve this thru the following:

  1. Create a new file "custom.css" to your Isis or Hathor CSS directory:
    /administrator/templates/isis (or hathor)/css/custom.css
  2. Enter new CSS stylings here, save then upload
  3. Refresh backend and check that changes are now visible

Caution: this seems to be a new feature with Joomla 3.4.X and no guarantee how this will proceed. See here: