Home / SEO / Easily Import/Export Navigation Menus in 30 Minutes

Easily Import/Export Navigation Menus in 30 Minutes

In the realm of website management, the ability to effortlessly transfer navigation menus between WordPress sites is a coveted feature. With the right tools and understanding, this task can be accomplished within a mere 30 minutes.

This article delves into the import/export functionality inherent in every WordPress website, providing an overview of the process and offering practical tips for success. We will explore the process of exporting a navigation menu, ensuring compatibility with the desired destination site, and guide you through the process of importing the menu to a new website, addressing key considerations and potential challenges.

By following our step-by-step instructions, you can efficiently navigate the import/export process and optimize your WordPress menu management.

Understanding Import/Export Functionality

To understand the import/export functionality, it is essential to familiarize oneself with the built-in features of WordPress.

The import and export functionality is a valuable tool that allows users to transfer content between WordPress sites easily.

The Import page enables users to import posts or comments from other systems, while the Export page allows for exporting all content or specific items such as posts, pages, and media.

These features can be accessed in the WordPress dashboard under Tools → Import and Tools → Export.

However, it is important to note that there are some limitations and troubleshooting may be required in some cases.

It is recommended to follow best practices and explore alternative methods if necessary.

Exporting Navigation Menus

Exporting navigation menus in WordPress is a seamless process that allows users to transfer menus between WordPress sites effortlessly. To export the menu structure, users can install and activate the WPS Menu Exporter plugin.

After activating the plugin, they can navigate to Tools → Export and select the Navigation Menu Items radio button. Clicking the Download Export File button will save the menu as an .xml file.

To import the menu hierarchy to a new website, users can use the WordPress standard Import feature. They can log in to the new site’s dashboard, go to Tools → Import, and click on the Install Now link under the WordPress heading.

Installing and Activating the WPS Menu Exporter Plugin

After successfully exporting the navigation menu using the WPS Menu Exporter plugin, the next step is to install and activate the plugin to import the menu to a new website.

Here are some important steps and considerations when installing and activating the WPS Menu Exporter plugin:

  • Customizing menu styles: After importing the menu, you may need to adjust the menu styles to match the new website’s theme.
  • Troubleshooting common menu import issues: If you encounter any issues during the import process, check for conflicting plugins or themes that may be causing the problem.
  • Importing menu items from a CSV file: In addition to exporting and importing menus as XML files, the WPS Menu Exporter plugin also allows you to import menu items from a CSV file.
  • Exporting and importing mega menus: The plugin supports exporting and importing mega menus, which are menus with multiple levels and dropdowns.
  • Merging multiple menus into one: If you have multiple menus exported from different websites, the plugin enables you to merge them into a single menu during the import process.

Downloading the Exported Menu File

To download the exported menu file, navigate to the Tools → Export page in the WordPress dashboard. Once on the Export page, select the Navigation Menu Items radio button and click the Download Export File button.

The exported menu will be saved as an .xml file with the name ‘site.wordpress.yyyy-mm-dd’, where yyyy-mm-dd represents the date. It is important to understand file formats when working with exported menus.

Additionally, you have the option to rename the exported menu file if desired. If you encounter any errors while importing the menu, you can troubleshoot them by checking for existing pages with the same names as the ones in the menu or by trying to import the menu using a different plugin.

It is also worth noting that exporting and importing the menu hierarchy can be done along with the menu items.

Importing the WordPress Menu

The next step in the process is importing the WordPress menu to a new website. To successfully import menu items, follow these steps:

  • Ensure that there are no existing pages with the same name as the ones in the menu you’re importing.
  • Log in to the new site’s dashboard and navigate to Tools → Import.
  • Click on the Choose File button and select the .xml file you downloaded earlier when exporting the menu.
  • Click the Upload file and import button to initiate the import process.
  • Assign authors for the imported content and choose whether to include file attachments.

If you encounter any issues during the import, troubleshooting may be necessary. It is also possible to export and import multiple menus by repeating the process for each menu.

Additionally, syncing menus between sites can be achieved by regularly exporting and importing menu settings.

Using the WordPress Standard Import Feature

To import the WordPress menu to a new website, utilize the WordPress standard Import feature available in the site’s dashboard under Tools → Import. This feature allows you to import various content, including posts, comments, and menus, from one WordPress site to another.

When using the Import feature, it is important to follow the correct importing process to avoid any issues. Common mistakes during the importing process include not checking for existing pages with the same names as the ones in the menu being imported. Troubleshooting issues may arise if the menu design settings need to be adjusted for a new site with a different theme.

As a best practice, it is recommended to verify the imported menu in the Appearance → Menus section and experiment with the front end of the site to ensure the new menu looks as desired.

In case of any problems, alternative solutions include using plugins or custom coding.

Adjusting Menu Design Settings

When adjusting menu design settings, it is important to consider the visual appearance and functionality of the menu on the new website.

Customizing menu styles allows you to match the menu with the overall design of the website.

Troubleshooting menu import issues ensures that the menu is imported correctly and any errors are resolved.

Optimizing menu structure involves arranging the menu items in a logical and user-friendly manner.

Integrating custom icons in menus adds visual interest and enhances navigation.

Creating mobile-friendly menus ensures that the menu is responsive and accessible on different devices.

Verifying and Testing the Imported Menu

Once the menu has been imported, it is important to thoroughly verify and rigorously test its functionality and appearance.

Start by verifying the menu structure to ensure that all the menu items have been imported correctly.

Check if the menu links are working properly by clicking on each one and confirming that they lead to the correct pages.

If any errors occur during the import process, troubleshoot them to identify and fix the problem.

Additionally, compare the appearance of the imported menu with the original menu to ensure that it matches.

Make any necessary adjustments to optimize the menu for mobile devices, ensuring that it is responsive and user-friendly.


In conclusion, the import/export functionality in WordPress allows for quick and efficient transfer of navigation menus between websites.

By following the steps outlined in this article and utilizing the WordPress standard import feature along with the WPS Menu Exporter plugin, users can easily manage their menus and save valuable time in the process.

This feature is a valuable tool for website management and can greatly streamline the navigation menu transfer process.

How can navigation menus be easily imported and exported in WordPress?

This article explains how to import and export navigation menus in WordPress. The process involves familiarizing oneself with WordPress’s import/export functionality and using the WPS Menu Exporter plugin. The plugin allows for seamless transfer of menu structures between WordPress sites, and the exported menu is saved as an .xml file. Common issues and troubleshooting methods are also discussed.

Table of Contents