Filtering In Admin

Search Fields

Django Admin provies search_fields option on ModelAdmin. Setting this will enable a search box in list page to filter items on the model. This can perform lookup on all the fields on the model as well as related model fields.

class BookAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    search_fields = ('name', 'author__name')

When the number of items in search_fields becomes increases, query becomes quite slow as it does a case-insensitive search of all the search terms against all the search_fields. For example a search for python for data analysis translates to this SQL caluse.

(name ILIKE '%python%' OR ILIKE '%python%')
AND (name ILIKE '%for%' OR ILIKE '%for%')
AND (name ILIKE '%data%' OR ILIKE '%data%')
AND (name ILIKE '%analysis%' OR ILIKE '%analysis%')

List Filters

Django also provides list_filter option on ModelAdmin. We can add required fields to list_filter which generate corresponding filters on the right panel of the admin page with all the possible values.

class BookAdminFilter(admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = ('id', 'author', 'published_date', 'is_available', 'cover')
    list_filter = ('is_available',)

Custom List Filters

We can also write custom filters so that we can set calculated fields and add filters on top of them.

class CenturyFilter(admin.SimpleListFilter):
    title = 'century'
    parameter_name = 'published_date'

    def lookups(self, request, model_admin):
        return (
            (21, '21st century'),
            (20, '20th century'),

    def queryset(self, request, queryset):
        value = self.value()
        if not value:
            return queryset
        start = (int(value) - 1)* 100
        end = start + 99
        return queryset.filter(published_date__year__gte=start, published_date__year__lte=end)

Custom Text Filter

Here the number of choices are limited. But in some cases where the choices are hundred or more, it is better to display a text input instead of choices.

Let’s write a custom filter to filter books by published year. Let’s write an input filter

class PublishedYearFilter(admin.SimpleListFilter):
    title = 'published year'
    parameter_name = 'published_date'
    template = 'admin_input_filter.html'

    def lookups(self, request, model_admin):
        return ((None, None),)

    def choices(self, changelist):
        query_params = changelist.get_filters_params()
        query_params.pop(self.parameter_name, None)
        all_choice = next(super().choices(changelist))
        all_choice['query_params'] = query_params
        yield all_choice

    def queryset(self, request, queryset):
        value = self.value()
        if value:
            return queryset.filter(published_date__year=value)

This will show in admin like this.

{% load i18n %}

<h3>{% blocktrans with filter_title=title %} By {{ filter_title }} {% endblocktrans %}</h3>
        {% with choices.0 as all_choice %}
            <form method="GET">
                <input type="text" name="{{ spec.parameter_name }}" value="{{ spec.qvalue|default_if_none:"" }}"/>
                <input class="btn btn-info" type="submit" value="{% trans 'Apply' %}">
                {% if not all_choice.selected %}
                    <button type="button" class="btn btn-info"><a href="{{ all_choice.query_string }}">Clear</a></button>
                {% endif %}
        {% endwith %}

Advanced Filters

All the above methods will be useful only to a certain extent. Beyond that, there are 3rd party packages like django-advanced-filters which advanced filtering abilites.

To setup the package

  • Install the package with pip install django-advanced-filters.

  • Add advanced_filters to INSTALLED_APPS.

  • Add url(r’^advanced_filters/’, include(‘advanced_filters.urls’)) to project urlconf.

  • Run python migrate.

Once the setup is completed, we can add ``

from advanced_filters.admin import AdminAdvancedFiltersMixin

class BookAdAdminFilter(AdminAdvancedFiltersMixin, admin.ModelAdmin):
    list_display = ('id', 'name', 'author', 'published_date', 'is_available', 'name')
    advanced_filter_fields = ('name', 'published_date', 'author', 'is_available')

In the admin page, a popup like this will be shown to apply advanced filers.


A simple filter can be created to filter all the books that were published between 1980 to 1990 which have a rating more than 3.75 and number of pages is not more than 100. This filter can be named and saved for later use.