By default, Mastodon servers’ websites use a simple single column interface.
However, if you’re using the website through a computer (or a tablet/phone in horizontal mode) there is also an optional multicolumn interface you can use instead. Here’s how to activate it:
- Log in through your server’s website as usual
- Click ⚙️ Preferences
- Tick the box marked Enable Advanced Web Interface and click the Save Changes button
- Click the Back to Mastodon link at the left of the screen
If you’re already in multicolumn and you want to go back to the normal single column interface, here’s how to do it:
- Click on the ⚙️ cog gear icon
- UN-tick the box marked Enable Advanced Web Interface and click the Save Changes button
- Click the Back to Mastodon link
Pinning columns on the Advanced Web Interface
When you first use it, the advanced web interface only contains four columns with one of these columns dedicated to whatever you last selected. Every time you select something, it replaces the contents of this fourth column.
However, if you want to keep a column permanently visible you can pin it:
- To pin a column, click on the slider icon in the top right corner of the column and select Pin.
- To unpin a column, click the slider same slider icon and select Unpin
When you pin a column, it expands the interface sideways, and some people have lots of pinned columns. Pinning is well suited to widescreen monitors, and you can scroll the interface sideways to see any columns that don’t fit on the screen.
Advanced hashtag searches with pinned columns
If you pin a hashtag search and then click the pinned column’s slider icon again, you will see some additional options which let you combine hashtag searches into the same column with special filters:
- Any means it will show posts that contain one or more of those hashtags
- All means it will show posts that contain all of those tags
- None means it will hide posts containing those tags
Using Advanced mode through your keyboard
The Mastodon web interface can be controlled almost entirely through your keyboard, click here to see the section on hotkeys for more details. These hotkeys also include some commands that only work in Advanced mode.
Why are there two interfaces?
The original website version of Mastodon from 2016 used the multicolumn interface, but while some enjoyed it others found it confusing and overwhelming. Eventually a simpler single column interface was introduced, and single column became the default.