If your Theme supports Custom Menus, you can easily customize it and do the following:

  • Change the order of pages
  • Nest pages to create sub-menus
  • Link to posts by category
  • Link to posts by tag
  • Link to a specific post, page, or custom link

Below is an example of a navigation menu on a blog running the Twenty Eleven theme:

To create a custom menu, go to Appearance -> Menus in your WordPress admin. If you do not see the Appearance menu option, you do not have administrative rights.

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.

Top ↑

Adding Pages #

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

Top ↑

Adding Category Pages #

All posts will appear on your main posts page, but you can also create category pages that only display posts that you’ve designated with a specific category.

Simply check the box of the categories for which you want to create a page, and click Add to Menu.

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

Top ↑

Adding Tags, Custom Post Types & Post Format Pages #

You can also add tags, post formats pages and custom post types (if your theme supports post formats and custom post type) to your custom menu. To display these modules in the custom menu editor, click the Screen Options drop down at the top right of your screen:

Check the boxes for the module you want to display, and the module will appear in the custom menu editor:

Top ↑

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

Custom Links

Top ↑

Changing 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.

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.

Your menu item will now look something like this:

Top ↑

Removing Menu Items #

Expand the item you are going to remove by clicking the down arrow to the right of the item.

Once expanded, click on the Remove link.

That’s all! Don’t forget to save your changes.

Top ↑

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.

The final product from the customized menu:

Top ↑

Adding Static Top-Level Tabs #

Here’s a nifty way to add static top-level tabs that you can use to organize your content. These tabs are basically place holders – they don’t link to any content, but are there to add structure to your menu items.

Check out the screenshot below: the top-level tab Music doesn’t actually link to anything. You can click it, but nothing will happen. It’s solely there to organize the various music-related menu items.

Here’s how you can add Static Top-Level Tabs:

  1. Go to your Menus page (Appearance -> Menus)
  2. Add a Custom Link and set the URL as #. Using # will prevent the page from refreshing when you select the tab.
  3. Label your link and hit the Add to Menu button.
  4. Organize your menu items like you would normally do, hit the Save Menu button, and you’re done!

Top ↑

Activating Your Menu #

In the Theme Locations module, under Primary Menu, select the title of the custom menu you want to activate and click Save.

Top ↑

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.

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

Top ↑

Additional Info #

Why am I getting a warning that says ‘The current theme does not natively support menus, but you can use the Custom Menu widget to add any menus you create here to the theme’s sidebar.’?
Not all themes support custom menus for navigation. You can find themes that support menus for navigation in Appearance →Themes by choosing Custom Menu from the Feature Filters menu. If your Theme doesn’t have the navigation support, you can use the Custom Menu Widget.

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 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.