How to Create a Menu in WordPress

If you’re new to WordPress, you may be wondering how to create a menu in WordPress.

WordPress menus, a.k.a navigation menus, provide a collection of links to different sections of your website to help visitors navigate, also called a navigation menu.

Fortunately, WordPress has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that makes creating menus simple and easy to use.

In this beginners guide, you will learn how to create a menu in WordPress that includes categories, posts, and tags. You will also learn how to add links to pages, how to place menus in various locations, and how to customize and manage your menus.

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If you’d like to jump to the section you’re looking for, a hyperlinked table of contents is available.

What is a Navigation Menu?

A navigation menu is the menu of a website. Menus are typically located at the top and bottom of the page, depending on your theme. It includes a collection of content that links to different areas of a website.

A navigation menu can provide structure on a website and a guide for users to find important information. You can find TarttWeb’s navigation menu at the top of this page.

WordPress makes creating a menu pretty straightforward. With its drag-and-drop feature, you can add menus and sub-menus easily. You can make a category structure to organize blog posts and links to your most important pages. You can even add tags and custom links to your social media profile.

Your website’s menu location will depend on your active WordPress theme. Most themes offer different options to create menus that can be displayed in multiple locations.

For instance, most WordPress themes include a primary menu that appears at the top. Themes may also include a secondary menu, a footer menu, and mobile navigation.

How to Create a Menu in WordPress

In this section, you learn how to create a menu in WordPress, how to add pages to your menu, and how to organize menu items. For this guide, we are using the WordPress Twenty Twenty theme.

Step 1. Go to Appearance > Menus

On the left side of the WordPress admin area, hover over Appearance, then click on Menus. Doing so will open the Menus administration page.

WordPress appearance menus link

Step 2. Add a Menu Name and Select a Display Location

In the Menu Name box, provide a name for your menu like “Top Main Menu or Primary Navigation.” Then under Menu Settings, select the display location. In our case, there are five menu locations, Desktop Horizontal, Desktop Extended, Mobile, Footer, and Social.

Creating a new menu in WordPress

Once you have finished, click the Create Menu button. This will expand the menu area and should look something like this:

New menu created in WordPress

Step 3. Select the Pages You Want to Add to your Menu

You can automatically add all top-level pages, located under Menu Settings or select specific pages from the left column.

Click the View All tab to see all your website’s pages. Then click the checkbox next to each page that you want to add to your menu. Now click the Add to Menu button.

Adding pages to a WordPress menu

Once your pages have been added to the menu, you can organize them by dragging and dropping them.

WordPress menu drag-and-drop feature

Once you have finished organizing your menu items, click the Save Menu button to save the changes. Then visit your site to see how it looks.

Tip: If you are confused about where each menu location is, try saving your menu in each location and viewing your site.

Here’s how our finished example menu looks:

Finished WordPress navigation menu

How to Make a Drop down Menu in WordPress

Drop-down menus, also referred to as nested menus, are menus that have parent-child relationships. When your mouse cursor is over a parent menu item, all its children will appear underneath it in a sub-menu.

To create a sub-menu, simply drag an item below the parent menu item then a little to the right. It is also possible to add multiple sub-menus. Below we have added three sub-items to Services and two sub-items to Marketing Materials in our menu.

Add WordPress menu items as sub-menu

Here’s what our example menu looks like on the front of the site:

Drop-down menu with nested menu items

Note: Be aware that many WordPress themes do not support multi-layer drop-down menus.

Adding Categories, Posts, and Tags to Your WordPress Menu

Whether you are running a blog or an e-commerce store, you may want to add categories to your WordPress menu.

Categories can be easily added, by selecting the Categories tab on the left side of the Menus screen. And be sure to click the View All tab to see all your categories. This will be the same for posts and tags as well.

Select the categories you want to add to your menu and click the Add to Menu button.

Adding categories to a WordPress menu

Once the categories have been added, they will appear as regular menu items at the bottom of your menu. To organize them, drag and drop them into position. In our example menu, we have placed the categories under the Blog section.

Categories added to a WordPress menu as a sub-menu

Adding Custom Links to Your WordPress Menu

WordPress also makes it easy to create and add custom menu items to your menu. You can use it to link social media profiles, your online store, and other websites you own.

To use the custom links option, select the Custom Links tab on the Menu screen. Place the link you want to use in your menu in the URL box and the text you want to use in the Link Text box, then click the Add to Menu button.

Adding custom links to WordPress menus

How to Edit or Remove an Item from a WordPress Menu

By default, when you add pages, posts, categories, and tags to your menu, WordPress uses the page title, category, or tag name as the link text. It is possible to change this if you want.

You can edit menu items by clicking the arrow located to the right of the menu item.

Editing a WordPress menu label

This is also the location to remove a menu item. Clicking the Remove link will delete the link from your menu. 

Adding WordPress Menus to Your Sidebar or Footer

Along with adding menus to the display location that your WordPress theme offers, it is also possible to add menus to any area that uses widgets like the sidebar or footer.

Go to the Appearance > Widgets screen. At the top, click the plus sign next to Widgets. Next, type menu in the search box, then click Navigation Menu to add it to your sidebar. 

Add a widget to your sidebar

Then add a title for the widget and choose the menu from the Select Menu dropdown list that you want to use. You can create custom menus specifically for your sidebar or footer.

Selecting a menu for navigation menu widget

That’s it, now view your website to see how it looks.

Wrapping it Up!

We hope this article has helped you learn how to create a menu in WordPress.

If you found this article helpful, let us know in the comments section, follow us on social media, or subscribe to our newsletter for more.

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JTartt
I am Jeff Tartt - a human and father of 4, with experience in many different trades, including development. I love family, tech, building things (with and without code), helping others, and ancient history.

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