Using Categories in Navigation Menu for WordPress

Why To

This tutorial will show you how to setup a menu in WordPress that uses a category rather than a page. If you are using WordPress as a portfolio or e-commerce site, chances are good that your life will be better if you are using a category-based navigation structure.

This is a way to allow your users to navigate through your site, viewing WordPress posts or products based on the category that you assign those posts or products.

How To

1. Kick off by navigating to Post Categories.

Navigate to Posts Categories

Here, you can add a new category. Give it all of the values you desire and then Publish it.
You can also create a new category right in the post or product editor – on the right hand side, in the same field that you set categories, there will be a “+Add New Category” link.

Add a New Category

3. Now navigate to the Administrator Menu Page. By default, the “Pages” accordion tab is open. We’re adding a Category, so find the accordion tab labeled Category.

Navigate to the Menu Editor and Categories

4. Select the category that you just created and then “Add to Menu.”


Add the new category to your page

5. You’re almost ready to save the changes. You can expand the new entry on your menu by clicking the arrow on the right in order to change the Navigation Label, set the Title Attribute, Delete the item, or reposition the item.

You can also reposition it by dragging it to a different location in the list. If you move a menu item to the right (“under” the item above it), it will snap to a inset position.

Inset menu items become “sub-menu” items on the front end. In the shot above, hovering over “About” in the main nav would result in a vertically oriented popup menu, containing Bio, Press, OTHER/ELSE, and Blog.


There’s one big limitation with a Category-based navigation structure: WordPress Core does not come with an “auto add new child categories” function.  So – if you were thinking ahead on how you were going to make a category for, say, the suite of treadmills that you sell, and make subcategories for a new brand every time you added a wholesaler, you can’t. Without the solution: Add Descendants As Submenu Items. (You can pull up the plugin right in your WP by searching those 5 words.)