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Generate a custom structure for Wordpress menus.

This gist is for showing an example of a custom wordpress menu.

If you want to get more from the menu item simply have a look at the $item object. i.e:

// Will return a large object with lots of props like title, url, description, id etc.
var_dump( $item );

This code works on Wordpress 4.1.1 as of 31st of March 2015

$menu_name = 'main_nav';
$locations = get_nav_menu_locations();
$menu = wp_get_nav_menu_object( $locations[ $menu_name ] );
$menuitems = wp_get_nav_menu_items( $menu->term_id, array( 'order' => 'DESC' ) );
<ul class="main-nav">
$count = 0;
$submenu = false;
foreach( $menuitems as $item ):
$link = $item->url;
$title = $item->title;
// item does not have a parent so menu_item_parent equals 0 (false)
if ( !$item->menu_item_parent ):
// save this id for later comparison with sub-menu items
$parent_id = $item->ID;
<li class="item">
<a href="<?php echo $link; ?>" class="title">
<?php echo $title; ?>
<?php endif; ?>
<?php if ( $parent_id == $item->menu_item_parent ): ?>
<?php if ( !$submenu ): $submenu = true; ?>
<ul class="sub-menu">
<?php endif; ?>
<li class="item">
<a href="<?php echo $link; ?>" class="title"><?php echo $title; ?></a>
<?php if ( $menuitems[ $count + 1 ]->menu_item_parent != $parent_id && $submenu ): ?>
<?php $submenu = false; endif; ?>
<?php endif; ?>
<?php if ( $menuitems[ $count + 1 ]->menu_item_parent != $parent_id ): ?>
<?php $submenu = false; endif; ?>
<?php $count++; endforeach; ?>

Add a description menu ?

Hi, before all, thanks for share your solution! Very apreciated!
Well, how can I add more 2 deep levels in sub menu? I tryed to copy and paste the fragment of 'ul.sub-menu' inside of the child 'li' but all is duplicated... =(

How can I do that? Please help me! Thanks!


hitautodestruct commented Feb 3, 2014

@theodorocaliari This code should drill down to any level sub menus.

Hi. Your code is buggy. If you add a category to menu a error is shown. $page->post_title change with $item->title and $link = get_page_link( $id ) with $link = $item->url;. Also $page->post_excerpt won't exist.

SpartakusMd is right. I have to add that you must also have an 'isset' on both '($menu_items[$count + 1]->menu_item_parent)' pieces of code, or you'll get a property of non-object error. Also on the first 'isset' since you're closing the '' tag, make sure you use an else statement to close the tag even if it isn't set, or else you'll be missing a closing tag. I also tested it to multiple levels but it doesn't go that far.

I've run into a problem this code, it works great until you need to add a 3rd level menu-item, at which point the html elements come undone and the child menu items don't show up. I've checked the code to see what could be causing this or what I could do to fix it but to no avail. I've posted a questions here:

If you have any advice/help I'd greatly appreciate it.

its worked with me by change

$page = get_page( $id );
$link = get_page_link( $id );
$title = $item->title;
$url = $item->url;
$class = $item->classes[0];

good work you saved my day! Thank you.

@mashro3na can you elaborate? you can't just replace two variables. @hitautodestruct can you fix this?


hitautodestruct commented Mar 31, 2015

@karlhadwen Replaced in gist 😄

Valonix commented Apr 21, 2015

if you add menu item like "LINK" you get a issue

dmmarmol commented Jun 8, 2015

@hitautodestruct I had the same issue that @theodorocaliari. I can't print more than one submenu list and I need to nest every <ul class="submenu"> inside a parent <li>, depending on how much submenu i have.

How can i evaluate the php( $parent_id == $item->menu_item_parent ) when the $item it has more than one parent element?


Thanks for your nice work.
Do you have an idea if i ant to add a third level more ?

gnowland commented Oct 6, 2015

@beesmart, you're absolutely right, there's an error in the code.

Line 41 should be:

<?php if ( !isset($menu_items[ $count + 1 ]) || $menuitems[ $count + 1 ]->menu_item_parent != $parent_id && $submenu ): ?>

and Line 47 should be:

<?php if ( !isset($menu_items[ $count + 1 ]) || $menuitems[ $count + 1 ]->menu_item_parent != $parent_id ): ?>

@hitautodestruct you may want to update this in the gist.

loorlab commented Oct 11, 2015

@gnowland & @hitautodestruct Thanks for your solutions !

thedgbrt commented Dec 1, 2015

@gnowland there's an error in your correction, it should be $menuitems[ $count + 1 ] instead of $menu_items[ $count + 1 ]

I made changes of @gnowland and @dagobertrenouf but the problem is the same i only get one level drop down menu
Does anybody succeed having multi level menu with this code

wespiremedia commented Jun 13, 2017

The problem is in the ( $parent_id == $item->menu_item_parent ) statements.

While looping a third level menu-item, the parent_id is the ID of the parent item (so second level), while the $parent_id is the top-parent ID.

We've solved this to change $parent_id to an array which contains all of the previous menu-item ID's.
After that, improve the statements with the in_array($item->menu_item_parent, $parent_id) function.

tenold commented Jan 23, 2018

I can't seem to figure out how to put a class (like .menu-item-has-children for example) on the li that has children. Any help?

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