How to Work with Menus

Each visual theme has specific places in the layout where navigation menus can appear. We switched on your site with a sample menu set in the primary placeholder for your selected template.

When you have enough Pages and Posts that you feel you’re ready to launch your site, you’ll want to edit your menu to give your visitors access to all that lovely content. In general, you’ll want each Page you’ve written to have its own unique link placed by hand, by you, somewhere in your navigational menu(s).

Posts, on the other hand, are often handled by WordPress in a more aggregated fashion — you’ll write a series of Posts all assigned to a common Category, then add a menu link that points to that Category as a whole (where visitors will see introductory stubs to each Post in that Category).

Let’s modify your first menu. Go to ‘Appearance’ / ‘Menus’, and take a quick get-familiar look around this screen. At the right, you’ll see your Menu building pane. Your site comes out of the box with one menu (called ‘Main’) built. If you wanted to add a menu you’d click the little ‘+’ button-tab at the top of this pane.

The column to the left of the menu building pane holds the Theme Location meta-box (where you choose a place in your pages’ layout for your menu(s) – many themes have only one menu place) stacked at its top. If your Main menu isn’t already assigned to the primary location for your chosen them, select it from the Primary dropdown then click the little blue ‘Save’ pill now.

The Theme Location box is followed by meta-boxes for adding Custom Links, Pages, and Categories (for categories of posts). Let’s skip custom links for now, and  concentrate on adding pages and posts to your menu.

Perhaps you’ve written a few ‘how-to’ articles (as Pages). Because you’ve worked with them recently, they’ll show near the top of your listing of available Pages. Check the checkboxes of all pages you wish added to your menu, then click the gray ‘Add to Menu’ button at the bottom of the ‘Pages’ meta-box. Notice that as soon as you do, the pages you selected appear as new menu items in the right-hand menu builder. Don’t want ’em at the end of your navigation menu? Simply drag and drop any menu item to a new position in your menu’s order.

Would you like a bunch of menu items to appear as drop-down, submenu items under one master navigation tab (like your hypothetical ‘how-to’ articles)? Simply group them together under their parent menu item, then drag each of them to the right until they click into place indented one level rightward. Voila! Nested submenu items.

Maybe you’ve written a series of weekly Posts on the topic of French Film. You’ll have assigned each of these posts the Category ‘French Film’, which would now appear within the ‘Categories’ meta-box. When you check that category’s checkbox, then click the ‘Add to Menu’ gray pill, that category will get added to your current menu, just like pages did.

When your menu includes all the content you want your visitors to have access to in your navigation, click the blue ‘Save Menu’ pill button (at the top or bottom of the menu builder meta-box) and your changes will be saved and published to your site.

Posted in Basic, How-to Articles and tagged .