Creating a custom menu

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All Edublogs themes support custom menus which means you can customize your navigation menu and add a top navigation to any theme.

This allows you to easily:

  • Re-arrange, add, and remove items from the menu bar at the top of your blog
  • Change the order of pages
  • Create nested sub-menus of links (sometimes known as nested pages links or ‘drop down’ menus)
  • Publish posts to different pages on your blog using post categories.  This is handy if you want students to be able to click on a link in the top navigation for all posts published for their subject.
  • Add custom links to your navigation menu
  • Create a custom menu for your sidebar

Custom menus allow you to fully control the links that appear in your navigation menu- you can even add links to website and pages not on your blog!

Below’s an example of a custom menu with nested sub-menu and custom links:

Example of a custom menu

Most themes only support one custom menu which is displayed in the header area of your blog (your main navigation area) however some themes support multiple custom menus and can appear in different places on your blog.  For example, the theme Responsive allows you to add custom menus to the top right section of your blog, the main navigation area, a sub  header area (underneath your main navigation) and to your footer area.

Below is an example of the custom menu options on the theme Responsive:

Theme location options

You can also add custom menus to any sidebar using the Custom Menu widget (Appearance > Widgets).

Custom Menu Video Tutorial

Creating a Custom Menu

1.  Go to Appearance > Menus

Custom menu

2. Click on the ‘Create Menu

The default menu title ‘Menu 1′ automatically includes a custom Home link to  your homepage and any pages you’ve published.  You can change the title ‘Menu 1′ to any name you want.  

Here’s what a default menu structure looks like on a newly created blog:

Default menu

After you’ve created your new menu you will notice the following two new settings appear at the bottom of the menu:

  • Auto add pages – if selected, new pages are automatically added to your custom menu when the page is published.
  • Theme locations – allows you to control where the custom menu appears in your theme.

4.  Select Primary menu if you want your new menu to display in the top navigation on your blog.

Select primary menu

5.  Click Save Menu.

Click Save menu

Adding pages

Custom menus can be set to “auto add pages’ so that new pages are automatically added to your menu when the page is published or you can manually add the new page after you’ve published the page.

Adding a new page is as simple as go to Appearance > Menu, check the boxes next to the pages you want to add, click Add to Menu, drag and drop the page item when you want it to appear in the menu and then click Save Menu.

Add pages

Adding Custom links

Links allows you to add a link to another website or a specific post on your blog.

To add a custom link you type the URL where you want to take someone when they click on it, add Link Text to specify what the tab will say, and then click Add to Menu.   Now just drag and drop the link item when you want it to appear in the menu and then click Save Menu.

adding a link

Adding Category Pages

Category pages allow you to send posts to different pages on your blog.  This is handy if you want to use one blog for multiple classes or subjects.  Students will see a link for their class in the top menu navigation of your blog, and once they click on that link, they will see only posts meant for them, with the most recent at the top.

Check out how category pages work on our demo blog.  When you click on the Geography link in the top navigation you see all posts published for the Geography class.

To add category pages you select the box of the categories you’d like to add and click Add to Menu.   Now just drag and drop the category item when you want it to appear in the menu and then click Save Menu.

Add Categories

Important tips:

Changing order & creating sub-menus

You can change the order and placement of menu items at any time by drag and dropping the items.

Any menu item that is indented under another item will appear as a sub-menu under that tab i.e. you create sub-menus or ‘drop down’ style menus by dragging the individual menu items to the right to ‘nest’ them under a parent item.

Change menu order

Here’s what my custom menu looks like in the main navigation area of my blog header.

Custom menu example

Remember whenever you make changes to your custom menu to click Save Menu.

Click Save menu

Creating static parent tabs

You can create static parent tabs using a custom link if you just want a link name that doesn’t go to a page that exists.   This is handy when you don’t want the parent (top-level) tab to contact any content or be clickable.

To add static parent tab you create a custom link by typing the ‘#’ symbol in the URL field, add Link Text to specify what the tab will say, and then click Add to Menu.   Now just drag and drop the link item when you want it to appear in the menu and then click Save Menu

Static page tab

Menu item settings

You can customize the text and other details of any item you add to your menu.

To edit a menu item you click on the down arrow to the right of the menu item.

Once expanded, you can modify the following:

  • Navigation Label - used to over ride the default name of the menu item and replaces it with your own navigation label.
  • Title attributes – adds custom hover text to improve usability for impaired visitors using assisted devices.
  • Remove – lets you delete an item from the custom menu.
  • Cancel – allows you to cancel any changes you made to a menu item.

Edit menu item

Remember to click the Save Menu button whenever you make changes to your custom menu.

You can also enable advanced menu properties in screen options.  All you need to do is click on Screen Options at the top of the page and select the items you want to show on screen.

Screen options

The most common advanced menu property you would use is Link Target.

Link Target is used to control if your menu links open in a new tab (or window) or the same window when a link is clicked.  By default, links open in the same window.

Creating New Menus

You can create as many custom menus as you want and switch between which custom menu is displayed using the theme locations options.

You create a new menu by clicking on create a new menu.

Create new menu

Now type in a menu name to help you remember what the menu is and then click Create Menu.

Click Create new menu

Add your menu items, select your theme location and then click Save Menu.

Creating a new menu

Most themes only support one custom menu which is displayed in the header area of your blog (your main navigation area) however some themes support multiple custom menus and can appear in different places on your blog.  For example, the theme Responsive allows you to add custom menus to the top right section of your blog, the main navigation area, a sub  header area (underneath your main navigation) and to your footer area.

Editing your menus

You can edit your menu’s at any time by returning to the Edit menu page in Appearance > Menu.

If you have more than one menu, you will see a menu selector.  Just select the menu you want to edit from the drop down menu and then click Select.

Select the menu

You should see your custom menu and its contents displayed, and you can make any changes you wish to update the menu. Once you’ve finished remember to click Save Menu to save your changes.

Managing your menus

If you have more than one menu, you can manage the locations they are displayed using the Manage Locations tab at the top of Appearance > Menu.

Change theme locations

Custom Menu Widgets

You can create as many menus as you want and add them to your sidebar using the custom menu widget.

custom menu widget

Troubleshooting

Knowing how to create custom menus is a really handy skill because there is so much you can achieve with custom menus.   However, custom menus is a slightly more advanced blogging skills.

Please contact Edublogs Support if you need help setting up your custom menu.  We are always happy to provide assistance!

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

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Posted in Appearance & Themes, Help