How to Build and Edit WordPress Custom Menus

Your custom menus are set up under Appearance>>Menus. Custom menus are not automatically updated when you publish a page or add a category; you must manually update the menu after publishing new content.

NOTE: When you publish a post, it will be added to your blog page automatically. You would need to update a custom menu ONLY if you wanted to include a new post specifically as a menu link somewhere, but it does not affect the updating of a blog feed in general.

Creating a Custom Menu

  1. Go to Appearance>>Menus.
  2. In the main panel, click the tab with the + sign. Give the menu a name and click the blue Save button.
  3. Add menu items to your new menu. you can add pages, posts, archives, custom posts, and even custom links that point anywhere on the Web.

    To the left of the main panel, you will see different boxes such as Pages, Posts, and Custom Links.

    For pages, posts archives, and custom posts: Check the box next to the menu item you want to add and click Add to Menu. The new item will be added to the last position of the menu.

    For Custom Links: Type in the URL of the destination address, and type in a menu label. Then click Add to Menu. The new item will be added to the last position of the menu.

    Add Menu Items
    Add Different Kinds of Menu Items
  4. If you want to reposition the menu item, mouse over it. The cursor will become a cross hair, indicating that you can drag and drop it. Drag it into the order you want. Nudge it a little to the left to indent it. this will create a dropdown menu (provided your theme has been set up to show dropdowns). If dropdown styles are not in your theme, the nested menu item will probably show as an indented list item.
  5. Click the blue Save Menu button.

Don’t see the menu item you want to add?
Sometimes you will not see everything on a Dashboard view. If, for example, you want to add a post to your menu, but you don’t see Posts as an option, click the grey Screen Options tab at the top of the screen. Here you can show or hide various elements on the screen.

Screen Options
Show and Hide elements of your Dashboard in the Screen Options (click to enlarge)

Setting up your Primary and Top Menu with Theme Locations

The Theme Locations panel shows you which areas of your theme have been set up specifically to hold a custom menu. this is typically yourmain header menu and sometimes a top menu that goes across the whole top of the screen.

You will create a custom menu and then choose to add it to each theme location by selecting it in the pulldown menu.

Assign a Menu to Your Primary Menu Area via Theme Locations
Assign a Menu to Your Primary Menu Area via Theme Locations

Editing and Deleting Menu Items

To reorder a menu: If you want to reposition a menu item, mouse over it. The cursor will become a cross hair, indicating that you can drag and drop it. Drag it into the order you want.

To make a dropdown menu: Nudge yourmenu item a little to the left to indent it. this will create a dropdown menu (provided your theme has been set up to show dropdowns). If dropdown styles are not in your theme, the nested menu item will probably show as an indented list item.

To edit a menu label: Click the grey triangle on the menu item to expand it and change the text in the Navigation Label box. this will not change the title of that page, only the menu text. This is useful if you have a very long page title that you do not want showing in full in a menu.

To delete a menu item from a menu: Click the grey triangle on the menu item to expand it and click the red Delete link. Save the menu.

Menu Item Options
Expanding and Editing a Menu Item

Opening a Menu Item in a New Window

You can check the Open in a New Tab/Window checkbox inside any menu item to have it open in a new window. this is useful when you have links to other Web sites in your menu, and you don’t want visitors to be directed away from your site.

If you do not see this option in the Menu workspace, click Screen Options at the top of the dashboard screen and select its checkbox.

Using WP Custom Nav Widgets

You can create as many custom menus as you want and use them in widget areas, such as the sidebar.

More Information

General information on managing menus can be found in the WordPress Codex:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Appearance_Menus_SubPanel

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