Working With Custom Menus in the WordPress Dashboard

By: | Updated: October 2, 2015

The WordPress Custom Menus option found under Appearance is an important one within your WordPress Dashboard. It can also be a hard one for beginners to understand.
Wordpress Custom Menus
With this tutorial, you will better understand how to use the menus option and what it’s all about.

WordPress Custom Menus

Menus are useful for many different reasons. You can create a custom menu for all of your important policy pages, most popular posts, products, services or for any other reasons. A custom menu allows you to display a list of posts, pages, links or categories in the sidebar, footer or any other widget ready area on your website.
Once you click on the “Menus” option under the Appearance Tab, you will arrive at a page that looks like this:
Menus Page
You will need to start by creating a new menu by clicking the link or the button.
New Menu Link Button
After you click the link or the button to create a new menu, you will need to add a name for the menu. The name will not display when you put the menu on your site.
Menu Name
Then, you will want to click the “Create Menu” button to create your new menu.
Create Menu
Now you have a new menu, which you can customize for your specific needs.
Menu Settings
Below your new menu, you will find the Menu Settings.
Menu Settings
The options may vary depending on what your theme supports. You will always have the option to make the menu your primary menu, which will replace your top menu within your theme. You can also check the setting to add any new top-level pages you create to the menu.
Menu Structure
The Menu Structure section will allow you to edit the order of the menu items you select. If you add a post, page, link or category, you will be able to move it around, as needed. This section works as a drag and drop template for your menu.
Menu Structure
You will also be able to edit each individual item within the menu. Just click on the drop down arrow for the item you want to edit.
Dropdown Arrow
Now, you will be able to change the Navigation Label, move the item down one or up one, remove it or cancel your changes.
Edit Menu Item
Once you are done making changes to the Menu Structure and individual items, you will want to click the “Save Menu” option.
Adding Items to Your Menu
You have the option to add items to your menu from the Pages, Posts, Custom Links and Categories options. The Pages, Posts and Categories will simply allow you to check the item you want to add and click the “Add to Menu” button.
Add To Menu
The Custom Links option works a little bit different. You can add any link you want and add any text you want. Then, just click the “Add to Menu” button and you will be all set.
Custom Links
You can add just pages, posts, categories or links. You can also add a combination of any of these items to your new menu.
Creating a Sub Item
Another option within the Menu Structure is the ability to create a sub item. You can create a sub item of a category, page, post or link. It’s simply done by dragging the item to the right within the Menu Structure section.
Sub Item
This allows you to create a hierarchy within your custom menu.
Manage Locations
The Manage Locations option is much like the Menu Settings. You can click on this tab to change the location of your menu. Any location your theme supports will show up within this section. WordPress Custom Menus is within your wordpress dashboard.
Manage Locations
Managing Multiple Menus
Once you have created more than one menu, you will get an option with a dropdown box to select the menu you want to manage.
Menu Dropdown
Simply select the menu you want to work with and it will appear. You can customize it however you want from here.
Now you have a better idea of how to work within the Menus section of the Appearance Tab. This will allow you to create custom menus for any widget-ready area, the top menu or anywhere else you want on your website. If you need more help working within the WordPress Dashboard, check out our tutorial, Getting to Know the WordPress Dashboard.