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Django Object Actions

If you've ever tried making your own admin object tools and you were like me, you immediately gave up. Why can't they be as easy as making Django Admin Actions? Well now they can be.

Quick-Start Guide

Install Django Object Actions:

pip install django-object-actions

Add django_object_actions to your INSTALLED_APPS so Django can find our templates.

In your

from django_object_actions import DjangoObjectActions

class ArticleAdmin(DjangoObjectActions, admin.ModelAdmin):
    def publish_this(self, request, obj):
    publish_this.label = "Publish"  # optional
    publish_this.short_description = "Submit this article"  # optional

    change_actions = ('publish_this', )


Defining new tool actions are just like defining regular admin actions. The major difference is the action functions for you write for the change view will take an object instance instead of a queryset (see Re-using Admin Actions below).

Tool actions are exposed by putting them in a change_actions attribute in your model admin. You can also add tool actions to the changelist views too. You'll get a queryset like a regular admin action:

from django_object_actions import DjangoObjectActions

class MyModelAdmin(DjangoObjectActions, admin.ModelAdmin):
    def toolfunc(self, request, obj):
    toolfunc.label = "This will be the label of the button"  # optional
    toolfunc.short_description = "This will be the tooltip of the button"  # optional

    def make_published(modeladmin, request, queryset):

    change_actions = ('toolfunc', )
    changelist_actions = ('make_published', )

Just like admin actions, you can send a message with self.message_user. Normally, you would do something to the object and go back to the same place, but if you return a HttpResponse, it will follow it (hey, just like admin actions!).

If your admin modifies get_urls, change_view, or changelist_view, you'll need to take extra care.

Re-using Admin Actions

If you would like a preexisting admin action to also be an change action, add the takes_instance_or_queryset decorator like:

from django_object_actions import (DjangoObjectActions,

class RobotAdmin(DjangoObjectActions, admin.ModelAdmin):
    # ... snip ...

    def tighten_lug_nuts(self, request, queryset):
        queryset.update(lugnuts=F('lugnuts') - 1)

    change_actions = ['tighten_lug_nuts']
    actions = ['tighten_lug_nuts']

Customizing Admin Actions

To give the action some a helpful title tooltip, add a short_description attribute, similar to how admin actions work:

def increment_vote(self, request, obj):
    obj.votes = obj.votes + 1
increment_vote.short_description = "Increment the vote count by one"

By default, Django Object Actions will guess what to label the button based on the name of the function. You can override this with a label attribute:

def increment_vote(self, request, obj):
    obj.votes = obj.votes + 1
increment_vote.label = "Vote++"

If you need even more control, you can add arbitrary attributes to the buttons by adding a Django widget style attrs attribute:

def increment_vote(self, request, obj):
    obj.votes = obj.votes + 1
increment_vote.attrs = {
    'class': 'addlink',

Programmatically Disabling Actions

You can programmatically disable registered actions by defining your own custom get_change_actions() method. In this example, certain actions only apply to certain object states (i.e. You should not be able to close an company account if the account is already closed):

def get_change_actions(self, request, object_id, form_url):
    actions = super(PollAdmin, self).get_change_actions(request, object_id, form_url)
    actions = list(actions)
    if not request.user.is_superuser:
        return []

    obj = self.model.objects.get(pk=object_id)
    if obj.question.endswith('?'):

    return actions

The same is true for changelist actions with get_changelist_actions.

Alternate Installation

You don't have to add this to INSTALLED_APPS, all you need to to do is copy the template django_object_actions/change_form.html some place Django's template loader will find it.

If you don't intend to use the template customizations at all, don't add django_object_actions to your INSTALLED_APPS at all and use BaseDjangoObjectActions instead of DjangoObjectActions.

More Examples

Making an action that links off-site:

def external_link(self, request, obj):
    from django.http import HttpResponseRedirect
    url = f'{}'
    return HttpResponseRedirect(url)


  1. django-object-actions expects functions to be methods of the model admin. While Django gives you a lot more options for their admin actions.
  2. If you provide your own custom change_form.html, you'll also need to manually copy in the relevant bits of our change form. You can also use from django_object_actions import BaseDjangoObjectActions instead.
  3. Security. This has been written with the assumption that everyone in the Django admin belongs there. Permissions should be enforced in your own actions irregardless of what this provides. Better default security is planned for the future.

Demo Admin & Docker images

You can try the demo admin against several versions of Django with these Docker images:

This runs the example Django project in ./example_project based on the "polls" tutorial. demos what you can do with this app.


Getting started (with virtualenvwrapper):

# get a copy of the code
git clone
cd django-object-actions
# set up your virtualenv (with virtualenvwrapper)
mkvirtualenv django-object-actions
# Install requirements
make install
# Hack your path so that we can reference packages starting from the root
add2virtualenv .
make test  # run test suite
make quickstart  # runs 'make resetdb' and some extra steps

This will install whatever the latest stable version of Django is. You can also install a specific version of Django and pip install -r requirements.txt.

Various helpers are available as make commands. Type make help and view the Makefile to see what other things you can do.

Similar Packages

If you want an actions menu for each row of your changelist, check out Django Admin Row Actions.

Django Object Actions is very similar to django-object-tools, but does not require messing with your, does not do anything special with permissions, and uses the same patterns as making admin actions in Django.