Customising the editing interface

Customising the tabbed interface

As standard, Wagtail organises panels for pages into three tabs: ‘Content’, ‘Promote’ and ‘Settings’. For snippets Wagtail puts all panels into one page. Depending on the requirements of your site, you may wish to customise this for specific page types or snippets - for example, adding an additional tab for sidebar content. This can be done by specifying an edit_handler attribute on the page or snippet model. For example:

from wagtail.admin.edit_handlers import TabbedInterface, ObjectList

class BlogPage(Page):
    # field definitions omitted

    content_panels = [
        FieldPanel('title', classname="full title"),
        FieldPanel('body', classname="full"),
    sidebar_content_panels = [
        InlinePanel('related_links', label="Related links"),

    edit_handler = TabbedInterface([
        ObjectList(content_panels, heading='Content'),
        ObjectList(sidebar_content_panels, heading='Sidebar content'),
        ObjectList(Page.promote_panels, heading='Promote'),
        ObjectList(Page.settings_panels, heading='Settings', classname="settings"),

Rich Text (HTML)

Wagtail provides a general-purpose WYSIWYG editor for creating rich text content (HTML) and embedding media such as images, video, and documents. To include this in your models, use the RichTextField function when defining a model field:

from wagtail.core.fields import RichTextField
from wagtail.admin.edit_handlers import FieldPanel

class BookPage(Page):
    body = RichTextField()

    content_panels = Page.content_panels + [
        FieldPanel('body', classname="full"),

RichTextField inherits from Django’s basic TextField field, so you can pass any field parameters into RichTextField as if using a normal Django field. This field does not need a special panel and can be defined with FieldPanel.

However, template output from RichTextField is special and needs to be filtered in order to preserve embedded content. See Rich text (filter).

Limiting features in a rich text field

By default, the rich text editor provides users with a wide variety of options for text formatting and inserting embedded content such as images. However, we may wish to restrict a rich text field to a more limited set of features - for example:

  • The field might be intended for a short text snippet, such as a summary to be pulled out on index pages, where embedded images or videos would be inappropriate;
  • When page content is defined using StreamField, elements such as headings, images and videos are usually given their own block types, alongside a rich text block type used for ordinary paragraph text; in this case, allowing headings and images to also exist within the rich text content is redundant (and liable to result in inconsistent designs).

This can be achieved by passing a features keyword argument to RichTextField, with a list of identifiers for the features you wish to allow:

body = RichTextField(features=['h2', 'h3', 'bold', 'italic', 'link'])

The feature identifiers provided on a default Wagtail installation are as follows:

  • h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 - heading elements
  • bold, italic - bold / italic text
  • ol, ul - ordered / unordered lists
  • hr - horizontal rules
  • link - page, external and email links
  • document-link - links to documents
  • image - embedded images
  • embed - embedded media (see Embedded content)

We have few additional feature identifiers as well. They are not enabled by default, but you can use them in your list of identifiers. These are as follows:

  • code - inline code
  • superscript, subscript, strikethrough - text formatting
  • blockquote - blockquote

The process for creating new features is described in the following pages:

Image Formats in the Rich Text Editor

On loading, Wagtail will search for any app with the file and execute the contents. This provides a way to customise the formatting options shown to the editor when inserting images in the RichTextField editor.

As an example, add a “thumbnail” format:

from wagtail.images.formats import Format, register_image_format

register_image_format(Format('thumbnail', 'Thumbnail', 'richtext-image thumbnail', 'max-120x120'))

To begin, import the Format class, register_image_format function, and optionally unregister_image_format function. To register a new Format, call the register_image_format with the Format object as the argument. The Format class takes the following constructor arguments:

The unique key used to identify the format. To unregister this format, call unregister_image_format with this string as the only argument.
The label used in the chooser form when inserting the image into the RichTextField.

The string to assign to the class attribute of the generated <img> tag.


Any class names you provide must have CSS rules matching them written separately, as part of the front end CSS code. Specifying a classnames value of left will only ensure that class is output in the generated markup, it won’t cause the image to align itself left.

The string specification to create the image rendition. For more, see the How to use images in templates.

To unregister, call unregister_image_format with the string of the name of the Format as the only argument.


Unregistering Format objects will cause errors viewing or editing pages that reference them.

Customising generated forms

class wagtail.admin.forms.WagtailAdminModelForm
class wagtail.admin.forms.WagtailAdminPageForm

Wagtail automatically generates forms using the panels configured on the model. By default, this form subclasses WagtailAdminModelForm, or WagtailAdminPageForm for pages. A custom base form class can be configured by setting the base_form_class attribute on any model. Custom forms for snippets must subclass WagtailAdminModelForm, and custom forms for pages must subclass WagtailAdminPageForm.

This can be used to add non-model fields to the form, to automatically generate field content, or to add custom validation logic for your models:

from django import forms
from django.db import models
import geocoder  # not in Wagtail, for example only -
from wagtail.admin.edit_handlers import FieldPanel
from wagtail.admin.forms import WagtailAdminPageForm
from wagtail.core.models import Page

class EventPageForm(WagtailAdminPageForm):
    address = forms.CharField()

    def clean(self):
        cleaned_data = super().clean()

        # Make sure that the event starts before it ends
        start_date = cleaned_data['start_date']
        end_date = cleaned_data['end_date']
        if start_date and end_date and start_date > end_date:
            self.add_error('end_date', 'The end date must be after the start date')

        return cleaned_data

    def save(self, commit=True):
        page = super().save(commit=False)

        # Update the duration field from the submitted dates
        page.duration = (page.end_date - page.start_date).days

        # Fetch the location by geocoding the address
        page.location = geocoder.arcgis(self.cleaned_data['address'])

        if commit:
        return page

class EventPage(Page):
    start_date = models.DateField()
    end_date = models.DateField()
    duration = models.IntegerField()
    location = models.CharField(max_length=255)

    content_panels = [
    base_form_class = EventPageForm

Wagtail will generate a new subclass of this form for the model, adding any fields defined in panels or content_panels. Any fields already defined on the model will not be overridden by these automatically added fields, so the form field for a model field can be overridden by adding it to the custom form.