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Custom Menus

Overview

The WordPress menu editor is a powerful yet intuitive tool that allows you to customize your blog’s navigation menus. This is a navigation menu on a blog running the Twenty Ten theme:

Navigation Menu Example

By default, many themes (like Twenty Ten, pictured above) display pages across the menu with optional sub-menus.

What if you wanted to switch the order of the tabs? What if you wanted categories on the menu or in the sub-menus? What if you wanted a tab to be simply a link to another site on the internet? What if you wanted to mix it all up entirely at your discretion? You can do all that and more with the WordPress menu editor.

To edit your blog’s menus, access the editor via the Appearance -> Menus area of your blog’s dashboard. If you do not see the Appearance menu option, this means that you are not an administrator on the blog.

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Creating a Custom Menu

To create a custom navigation menu, type in a name for it (only you will see this) and click Create Menu.

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Adding Pages and Categories to Your Menu

Adding pages to your menu is as simple as checking the proper boxes for the pages you want and then clicking Add to Menu.

Menu Editor Select Pages

You can add categories of your choosing in the same manner:

Menu Editor Select Categories

Be sure to click Save Menu each time you make changes to your custom menu.

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Want a menu item to directly link out to another website? No problem! Type in the URL, the label name, and then Add to Menu.

Add Custom Link Control

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Setting Menu Item Titles

You can also change the label and the hover-over text of menu items independently from the page name itself. To edit a page or category title, click the down arrow to the right of the item.

Unexpanded Menu Item

Once expanded, enter the new label name and any desired hover-over text. The underlying page will always show its name in the Original section of the menu item.

Menu Editor Customize Titles

Your menu item will now look something like this:

Mouseover Menu

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Changing the Order of Menu Items and Creating Sub-Menus

At any time, you can change the order and placement of menu items. Drag and drop the items up and down to change the order of menu items. Drag and drop the items left and right (as shown below) to create sub-menu items.

Menu Final Edit

The final product from the customized menu:

Menu Final Result

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Multiple Menus

Most themes have one menu. Some themes, such as the one in the screenshot below, support more than one menu. In both cases, you can create several different menu layouts and independently set the active menu.

If you’ve created more than one custom menu, be sure to activate the right one by selecting it from the drop down menu and clicking Save.

Select Menu

To edit your various menus or create new ones, click the relevant tab:

Add More Menus

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Additional Information

Why am I getting a red box warning me that “The current theme does not natively support menus”?
Since this feature is so new, not all themes support it yet. You can find themes that support menus in Appearance -> Themes by choosing “Custom Menu” from the Feature Filters menu.

Currently, the following themes have this feature enabled: Twenty Ten, Structure, Vostok, Bueno, Enterprise, Notepad, Paperpunch, MistyLook, Under the Influence, Vigilance, Greyzed, Wu Wei, Blix, Freshy, Contempt, Ambiru, Digg3, Koi, Modularity Lite, Coraline, Oulipo, Ocean Mist, Tarski, Rounded, Albeo, Regulus, Andrea, Inuit Types, K2 Lite, iNove, Fusion, Spectrum, Elegant Grunge, and zBench.

When will the ____ theme have custom menus?
We’ll be adding support to more themes on an ongoing basis. In the meantime you can still play with custom menus on any theme by using the new Custom Menu Widget. The widget will let you add any of the custom menus you create to one of your sidebars/widget areas.

Can I create a sub-menu custom link?
Yes, you sure can. You are free to drag and drop any of the menu item types in any order or hierarchy you’d like.

Can I add a post?
Yes. Expand the “Screen Options” drop down at the top right of your screen and check the “Posts” box.

Can I add a tag?
Yes. Expand the “Screen Options” drop down at the top right of your screen and check the “Post Tags” box.

Can I configure link targets?
Yes indeed. Expand the “Screen Options” drop down at the top right of your screen and check the “Link Target” advanced property.

Last modified: October 27, 2010

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