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WordPress Basics: Menus

For more detailed guidance on altering menus and other parts of your portfolio's appearance, try CampusPress's guides on Appearance & Themes.

For guidance on building menus in widgets or sidebars, try CampusPress's guide on the Custom Menu Widget.

Video Transcript

This video offers an introduction to creating and editing menus in WordPress. The site menu is the key point of access for readers of your DartWrite Digital portfolio.

If you haven’t made any changes to your portfolio template, your menu will look a little like this:


Each item on this menu links to a page that already exists on your site. In this template, each time you add content to your site, you will need to edit your menu to create a link to that new content. I’ll cover ways to change that later on.

Menu editing interface

Once you are logged in to and viewing your portfolio site, you can get to the menu editing interface a few ways:

  • Option 1: hover over your site name in the black editing ribbon at the top of the screen and choosing menus.
  • Option 2: navigate to the dashboard, finding the Appearance option, then Menus.
  • Option 3: find a different, more limited menu editor by going to the theme customization tool and choosing Menus.

I work with the main editing interface the video above. In that interface, you will find two panels: a left hand panel that displays content and a right hand panel that displays the menu as it is right now.


Adding to your menu

Start by choosing the content type - page, post, link, or post category - from the left-hand panel. Then, find and select the specific content you want to add (you may have to choose the “view all” option if you can’t find a page or post). Then choose “Add to Menu” to create a menu item in the right-hand panel.

Once you have added your content, you can:

  • Drag and drop a menu item to change the menu order
  • Drag and drop to make a menu item subordinate or nested beneath another item; just drop one item so that it is indented beneath another item.
  • Or edit the words displayed on the menu by clicking the caret (triangle menu) on an item and changing the “navigation label.”

Note that you can always see what content a menu item is pointing to by expanding its caret menu and looking for the “original” label. Once you’re happy, don’t forget to save your menu; you will lose any changes you don’t save.


Linking to a post feed

You may want to create a menu item that links to a feed of multiple posts. One way to do that is by adding a post “category” as a menu item. To do this, create a category in the posts area of the dashboard. Then, return to your menu interface and add that category to the menu.

Now, any post you assign that category will be associated with that menu item. When a reader clicks on the menu item, the site will load a feed of all of the posts in that category.

Empty menu items

You may want to nest several menu links beneath a single label without having that label link to anything. To do so, use the “custom link” option in the menu editor. Enter a # in the “URL” box and the word you want to display on your menu in the “link text” box.

Adding a file as a menu item

You may want to create a menu link to a file that you’ve uploaded. To do so, find that file in your site media library. Copy the link associated with that file. Then add a custom link to your menu, using the file’s URL.

Getting started

It’s worth noting that you can create and save multiple menus in WordPress, and some themes will allow you to display different menus in different areas. There are also ways to create alternative navigation pathways, including via widgets.

To get started editing your portfolio’s menu, log in at