How to Set up Menus in Your WordPress Theme

  • Posted on May 10, 2011

WordPress offers a very simple method to create and organize your site navigation. Your theme defines the available "locations" as well as their look and feel. Once you create a menu, you can then drag and drop menu items, child items and reorder to your preference. This tutorial walks you through the steps.

Go to the Menu Manager

Start by navigating to the menu manager under AppearanceMenus.


Create a Menu

Under the "Edit Menus" tab, you'll see a "create a new menu" linkName your menu with something useful such as "Main Menu" and then click the "Create Menu" button to begin adding items.


Add Menu Items

Now, let's add some menu items.
On the left hand side of the screen you'll see a box containing all of your Pages, Categories, etc.

1.) First, select a few items to be included in your menu.
2.) Click the Add to Menu button and the items are added to your menu.

Go ahead and click "Save Menu" anytime you change something. If you navigate away from the menus page before saving, all your menu settings could be lost.


Menu Item Arrangement

Once your items have been added, you can drag and drop to reorder them. You can also customize the titles and accessibility descriptions.


Assign Menu to a Theme Location

Every theme supports different "theme locations" depending on where the menus should be assigned. Some themes have multiple menu positions, while others have only one. In order for your designated menus to show up, they must be assigned to the theme location. 


Enabling Menu Captions (if supported)

If your theme supports captions, you can enable them within the theme options (Appearance → Theme Options → Enable Captions). Once enabled, go back to the menu manager and you should notice a "Description" field below each item.

If you don’t see it, just click "Screen Options" at the top right corner of your screen and ensure "Description" is selected. If the Description field is already populated with the excerpt of the post, it’s okay to delete it. Try to keep the caption within just few words so not to overrun the menu title.

Menus can also be added to the sidebars as Widgets. So feel free to create new menus for sections that best fit your site structure.


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