I want my custom module pages to be rendered using the admin theme, at the moment they only render using the admin theme for User 1 (see below).

I have a module called mymodule that defines many administrative views. It's setup in the following structure:

function mymodule_menu() {
    return [
        'admin/content/foo'     => ['page callback' => 'handle_foo', /*other opts*/],
        'admin/content/foo/bar' => ['page callback' => 'handle_foobar', /*other opts*/], 
        /* list goes on*/

 function handle_foo() {
    return ['#theme' => 'handle_foo'];

 function theme_handle_foo() {
    /*database logic here, then return compiled html to be rendered. */
    return '<div> I am a foo!</div>';

Say I have 2 users:

  • User 1: All permissions available(including administration)
  • User 2: 1 custom permission defined in the module

When logged in as User 1, all pages that follow admin/* are rendered with the drupal admin_theme including mymodule paths.

When logged in as User 2 all of mymodule pages are rendered using the frontend theme.

I've tried using hook_admin_paths but this doesn't work:

function mymodule_admin_paths() {
  return [
    'admin/content/foo'   => TRUE,
    'admin/content/foo/*' => TRUE,
    '/admin/content/foo'  => TRUE,

I have also read on here that any path that follows the admin/* convention should use the admin_theme by default which appears to be true for user 1 but not user 2.

My take on this is that I need to give user 2 some kind of permission, however I don't want them to be able to do anything other than login and access the paths set out in mymodule

(I don't want to use 3rd party modules)

  • What role user#2 does have ? Are you sure it has the permission "view the administration theme" ?
    – TytooF
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 11:46
  • User 2 is a custom role with 1 permission. You are correct though I realised this just as you posted, thanks for replying :)
    – Kiee
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 11:59

1 Answer 1


I found 2 solutions to this:

Solution one

Use hook_custom_theme(): see hook_custom_theme()

function mymodule_custom_theme() {
 $use_admin = workout_when_you_want_to_use_admin(); //true or false
 if ($use_admin)
   return variable_get('admin_theme');

Solution 2 (preferred)

Ensure that the user account has the permission View the administration theme attached to their role.

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