Image of example navigation menu

Example Navigation Menu

A navigation menu is a collection of links that aid visitors in finding pages within your site. All templates, except for the full-width template, require a menu be placed in the topmost position in the left sidebar. In an effort to create consistent navigation through all Elon University sites, we have standardized how menus are built and how they function for visitors.

Here are some key differences between menus in WordPress and other content management systems used at Elon in the past:

  • There are now three levels to your menu as opposed to the previous maximum of two.
  • Clicking a menu item will always take you to a page, versus the “dropdown” effect some menus utilized in the past. This means you might have to create new pages where you previously had a menu item that only expanded the sub-menu.
  • Anchor links, or links that “jump” the visitor further down the page, are still allowed but should be used sparingly. When creating anchors in a navigation menu (as opposed to the content body), it’s recommended you place them on the third menu level.

Accessing the Menu Editor

To access the menu editor, hover your cursor over the Sidebars menu item in the WordPress Dashboard, and then click on the Menus sub-menu item.

Menu Editor Overview

Image detailing all the menu manager options


  1. Menu Selection: The menu selection tool is used to move between the different menus setup in your site. If your site has more than one menu, the Select a menu to edit dropdown will appear that contains a list of available menus. Choose the menu you intend to edit, then click the gray Select button to display that menu.
  2. Create a New Menu: Clicking this link will take to you an admin screen that allows you to create a new menu.
  3. Pages List: This box contains a list of all pages currently in your site. There are three tabs that assist you with finding these pages:
    1. Most Recent: A list of the pages most recently created.
    2. View All: A full list of pages in your site.
    3. Search: A search function that allows you to search for pages by page title.
  4. Custom Links: This tool allows you to create menu items for pages that exist outside of your site or websites not on the domain. It contains two fields:
    1. URL: The full URL (including the http:// or https://) for the page you intend to link to.
    2. Link Text: The text that will appear in the menu item.
  5. Menu Name: The name of the menu. This name does not display on the front-end to the visitor and is only used to distinguish between the different menus throughout the admin pages.
    1. By default, every site has a Default Nav menu already created.
  6. Parent Menu Item: This is a top level menu item that makes up the main items that display in your navigation menu. For the visitor, clicking on a parent menu item will take them to that page/URL, and display any sub-menu items, if they exist.
  7. Second Level/Sub-Menu Item: This is the second level menu item that will display when the visitor is on the page of its parent menu item. Notice the indentation that exists from the top level item.
  8. Third Level/Sub-Menu Item: This is the third level menu item that will display when the visitor is on the page of its second level menu item. Again, notice the indentation that exists from the second level item.
  9. Auto Add Pages: Selecting this option will automatically add top level pages to the menu without having to edit the menu in the future. It’s recommended that you do not use this option.
  10. Display Location: This option determines where in the theme and page templates the menu will display. There is currently only one “location” that exists, the “Secondary Navigation.” This location is the position of the navigation menu in the left sidebar. Do not select this box on any new menus you create. It should only be used for the Default Nav menu.
  11. Delete Menu: Clicking this link will delete the menu from your WordPress site. Use with caution, and do not delete the Default Nav menu.
  12. Save Menu: After you’ve made changes to your menu, you must click the blue Save Menu button to save the menu. Failing to save the menu will require you to make your changes again.