A question that a lot of WordPress users end up asking at some point or another is “How do I hide a page on my WordPress navigation bar?”
While this isn’t a difficult bit of code to employ, WordPress made things even easier when they added Custom Menus. It is now possible for a WordPress user to create a fully customized menu (or menus) containing any pages, categories or even external links that they want – without touching any code at all.
A couple of quick points before we proceed – first off, not all themes support custom menus. Older themes that haven’t been updated to include them, or even newer themes where the designer didn’t decide to set them up will require some code manipulation. If your theme falls into this category, you can still create a custom menu, but you will only be able to place it in the sidebar of your site.
Secondly, this post is going to go over using custom menus on themes that support them. Adding Custom Menus to your theme is a different topic – and I plan on covering that soon, so stay tuned if that’s what you’re looking for!
Okay. Let’s get to work.
Finding Your Theme’s Menu Options
Under the “Appearance” section of the WordPress dashboard, you’ll see an entry for “Menus.” If that entry is missing, you probably just need to update WordPress, which you should be doing anyway.
This page will give you a clue as to whether or not your theme supports menus. If it does not, you will see a message to that effect at the top of the screen. Any menus that you create can be placed in the sidebar using the Custom Menu widget on the Widgets screen of your dashboard.
Assuming your theme does support menus, this screen will be divided up into five modules. The main module on the right is where you create a menu, which we’ll do in a moment. In the left column, there will be four sections that are greyed out, until you have created a menu with which to use them. These sections are for selecting where your menu should appear, adding external links, pages, and categories respectively.
Creating A WordPress Custom Menu
To create your first menu, start by giving it a name. Unless your theme designer has specified otherwise, you can name it anything you want to keep your menus organized. You can also choose to select (or not select) the box to add new top-level pages to this menu going forward. All that means is if new pages are created, they will automatically go into this menu when that box is checked. After naming your menu, simply click the “Create Menu” button. Easy, huh?
Now you fill in the items you want your menu to display. Using the left hand column, simply check off the individual pages and/or categories you want to list. One you’ve made your selections, click the “Add To Menu” button. Don’t worry about the order of the pages right now, we’ll deal with that in a second.
Customizing Your Menu Items
Now that you’ve added everything to your menu, you can customize a little farther. In the right hand column you’ll have a list made up of the different items you’ve added to this menu. If you want to rearrange them, simply drag and drop them into the order you want.
You’ll notice that in addition to moving items up and down the list, you can also shift them a little to the right. Doing this will place that item in a sub-menu below the previous menu item. Note: these sub-menus may or may not work as drop down menus, depending on the CSS built into your theme.
After you’ve rearranged everything, you can take a look at the individual options for each item. On the right hand side of each menu item, you’ll see a small down arrow. Clicking that will expand that menu item’s properties.
The first option is for the Navigation Label, which is the text that will display on the menu. This is handy if you want to use something other than the default, which is the page or category title. The second option, Title Attribute, controls what will display if a visitor hovers their mouse over the link.
Below these options, you have a link to showing the original Navigation Label, so if you have changed it, you can easily tell what the page is when you come back later.
This expanded menu also allows you to remove the item from the menu – just click the “Remove” link, and it’s gone (but you can add it back whenever you want).
Displaying The Menu
Now that you have a menu (make sure you click the “Save Menu” button) all ready to go, it’s time to select where it belongs. Look for the “Theme Locations” box on this page (this will only display if your theme designer registered locations in the theme) and select the location you want. The drop down list will include all of the menus you’ve created, and if you want to, you can even display the same menu in multiple locations.
That’s pretty much it for using a Custom WordPress Menu! Get out there and start organizing your blog to your heart’s content!