Custom Menu Wizard Widget


This plugin is a boosted version of the WordPress “Custom Menu” widget.
It provides full control over most of the parameters available when calling WP’s wp_nav_menu() function, as well as providing pre-filtering of the menu items in order to be able to select a specific portion of the custom menu. It also automatically adds a couple of custom classes. And there’s a shortcode that enables you to include the widget’s output in your content.

Important! This plugin provides nothingzip, zilch, nada, bupkis – in the way of frontend styling! The
appearance of any final output is down to you and your theme, so if you’re just looking for something to re-style
a menu then I’m sorry but this plugin won’t do that!

Features include:

  • Display an entire menu, just a branch of it, just certain level(s) of it, or even just specific items from it!
  • Select a branch based on a specific menu item, or the current menu item (currently displayed page)
  • Specify a relative or absolute level to start at, and the number of levels to output
  • Include ancestor item(s) in the output, with or without siblings
  • Exclude certain menu items, or levels of items
  • Make the output conditional upon the current menu item being found in different stages of the filter selection process
  • Automatically add cmw-level-N and cmw-has-submenu classes to output menu items
  • Allow the widget title to be entered but not output, or to be set from the current menu item or selected branch item
  • Select hierarchical or flat output, both options still abiding by the specified number of levels to output
  • Specify custom class(es) for the widget block, the menu container, and the menu itself
  • Modify the link’s output with additional HTML around the link’s text and/or the link element itself
  • Use Ordered Lists (OL) for the top and/or sub levels instead of Unordered Lists (UL)
  • Shortcode, [cmwizard], available to run the widget from within content
  • Shortcode can reference a widget instance, making maintenance of multiple occurences of the same (or very similar) shortcode a lot easier
  • Interactive “assist” to help with the widget settings and/or shortcode definition
  • Utility to find posts containing this plugin’s shortcode
  • Specify an alternative configuration to use under certain conditions (dual-scenario capability)

Current documentation for the Widget Options can be found
under Other Notes.
The associated Shortcode Attributes are documented
under Installation.

You may find that the documentation here is truncated, so I have reproduced the readme.txt
as cmw-doc.html.
This file is also now included in the plugin download, and is linked to from the Custom Menu Wizard entry
on the admin Plugins page.
My apologies if this causes – or has caused – any confusion.

Please, do not be put off by the number of options available! I suspect (and I admit that I’m guessing!) that for the majority of users
there are probably a couple of very common scenarios:

  1. Show an entire menu…

    • Drag a new Custom Menu Wizard widget into the sidebar, and give it a title (if you want one)
    • Select the menu you wish to use (if it’s not already selected)
    • Save the widget!
    • Equivalent shortcode resembles…

      [cmwizard menu=N title=”Your Title”/]

  2. Show the current menu item, plus any descendants…

    • Drag a new Custom Menu Wizard widget into the sidebar, and give it a title (if you want one)
    • Select the menu you wish to use (if it’s not already selected)
    • Open the FILTERS section :
      • under Primary Filter, click on the Branch radio
    • Save the widget!
    • Equivalent shortcode resembles…

      [cmwizard menu=N title=”Your Title” branch=current/]

  3. Show just the descendants of the current menu item (if there are any)…

    • Drag a new Custom Menu Wizard widget into the sidebar, and give it a title (if you want one)
    • Select the menu you wish to use (if it’s not already selected)
    • Open the FILTERS section :
      • under Primary Filter, click on the Branch radio
      • under Secondary Filter, set Starting at to “+1 (children)”
    • Save the widget!
    • Equivalent shortcode resembles…

      [cmwizard menu=N title=”Your Title” branch=current start_at=”+1″/]

  4. Always show the top level items, but when the menu contains the current item then also show that current item, with its ancestors and immediate children…

    • Drag a new Custom Menu Wizard widget into the sidebar, and give it a title (if you want one)
    • Select the menu you wish to use (if it’s not already selected)
    • Open the FILTERS section :
      • under Primary Filter, click on the Branch radio
      • under Secondary Filter, set Depth to “2 levels” (ie. current item plus immediate children)
      • under Inclusions, set Branch Ancestors to “to level 1 (root)”, and set Level to “1”
    • Open the ALTERNATIVE section :
      • set On condition to “Current Item is NOT in…” and “Menu” (the 2nd dropdown)
      • in the Then switch settings to textarea, type in “[cmwizard depth=1/]” (without the quotes!)
    • Save the widget!
    • Equivalent shortcode resembles…

      [cmwizard menu=N branch=current depth=2 ancestors=1 include_level=”1″ alternative=”no-current,menu”]depth=1[/cmwizard]

If you like this widget (or if you don’t?), please consider taking a moment or two to give it a
Review : it helps others, and gives me valuable feedback.

Documentation for version 2 of the widget
can be found here
or here.


There are quite a few options, which makes the widget settings box very long. I have therefore grouped most of the options into
collapsible logical sections (with remembered state once saved).

The associated SHORTCODE ATTRIBUTES are documented
under Installation.

Always Visible

  • Title (textbox)

    Set the title for your widget.

  • Hide (checkbox)

    Prevents the entered Title being displayed in the front-end widget output.

    In the Widgets admin page, I find it useful to still be able to see the Title in the sidebar when the widget is closed, but I
    don’t necessarily want that Title to actually be output when the widget is displayed at the front-end. Hence this checkbox.

  • Select Menu (select)

    Choose the appropriate menu from the dropdown list of Custom Menus currently defined in your WordPress application. The
    first one available (alphabetically) is already selected for you by default.

    Filters Section

    Filters are applied in the order they are presented.

Primary Filter

  • Level (radio, default On, & select)

    Filters by level within the selected menu, starting at the level selected here. This is the default setting
    for a new widget instance, which, if left alone and with all other options at their default, will show the entire selected menu.

    Example : If you wanted to show all the options that were at level 3 or below, you could check this radio and set the select to “3”.

  • Branch (radio & select)

    Filters by branch, with the head item of the branch being selected from the dropdown. The dropdown presents all the
    items from the selected menu, plus a “Current Item” option (the default). Selecting “Current Item” means that the head item of the
    branch is the current menu item (as indicated by WordPress), provided, of course, that the current menu item actually corresponds to
    a menu item from the currently selected menu!

  • Items (radio & textbox)

    Filters by the menu items that you specifically pick (by menu item id, as a comma-separated list). The simplest way
    to get your list of ids is to use the “assist”, and [un]check the green tick box at the right hand side of each depicted menu item that
    you want. Alternatively, just type your list of ids into the box.

    If the id is appended with a ‘+’, eg. ’23+’, then all the item’s descendants will also be included.

    Example : If you only wanted to show, say, 5 of your many available menu items, and those 5 items are not in one handy branch of the menu,
    then you might want to use this option.

    Example : If your menu has 6 root branches – “A” thru to “F” – and you were only interested in branches “B” (id of, say, 11) and
    “E” (id of, say, 19), you could set Items to be “11+,19+”, which would include “B” with all its descendants, and “E” with all its

Secondary Filter (not applicable to an Items filter)

  • Starting at (select)

    This is only applicable to a Branch filter and it allows you to shift the starting point of your output within the confines
    of the selected branch. By default it is set to the selected branch item itself, but it can be changed to a relative of the branch item (eg.
    parent, grandparent, children, etc) or to an absolute, fixed level within the branch containing the selected branch item (eg. the root
    level item for the branch, or one level below the branch’s root item, etc).

    Example : If you wanted the entire “current” branch then, with Branch set to “Current Item”, you might set Starting at to “1 (root)”.
    Alternatively, if you wanted the children of the current menu item then Starting at could be set to “+1 (children)”.

  • Item, if possible (radio, default On)

    This is the default filter mechanism whereby, if Starting at can only result in a single item (ie. it is the branch item itself, or
    an ancestor thereof) then only that item and its descendants are considered for filtering.

  • Level (radio)

    Changes the default filter mechanism such that if Starting at results in the selection of the branch item or one of its ancestors,
    then all siblings of that resultant item are also included in the secondary filtering process.

    Example : If Joe and Fred are siblings (ie. they have a common parent) and Joe is the selected branch item – with Starting at set
    to Joe – then the secondary filter would normally only consider Joe and its descendants. However, if Level was enabled instead of
    Item, then both Joe and Fred, and all their descendants, would be considered for filtering.

    Note that there is one exception, and that is that if Starting at results in a root-level item, then Allow all Root Items must
    be enabled in order to allow the other sibling root items to be added into the filter process.

  • Allow all Root Items (checkbox)

    In the right conditions – see Level above – this allows sibling root items to be considered for secondary filtering.

  • For Depth (select)

    This the number of levels of the menu structure that will be considered for inclusion in the final output (in complete
    ignorance of any subsequent Inclusions or Exclusions).

    The first level of output is the starting level, regardless of
    how that starting level is determined (see Starting at and Relative to Current Item options). So if you ask
    for a Depth of 1 level, you get just the starting level; if you ask for a Depth of 2, you get the starting level and
    the one below it.

  • Relative to Current Item (checkbox)

    By default, For Depth (above) is relative to the first item found, but this may be overridden to be relative to the
    current menu item if For Depth is not unlimited and the current menu item can found within the selected menu.
    If the current menu item is not within the selected menu then it falls back to being relative to the first item found.

    Please note that the current item must also be within the constraints set by the Starting at option. In other words, if
    current item is above the Starting at level in the menu structure then it will not be used to alter the determination of


These allow certain other items to be added to the output from the secondary filters.

The first 3 are only applicable to a Branch filter. Please note that they only come into effect when the Branch filter item is at
or below the Starting at level, and do not include any items that would break the depth limit set in the Secondary Filter options.

  • Branch Ancestors (select)

    Include any ancestors (parent, grandparent, etc) of the items selected as the Branch filter.
    Ancestors can be set to go up to an absolute level, or to go up a certain number of levels relative to the Branch filter item.

  • … with Siblings (select)

    In conjunction with Branch Ancestors, also include all siblings of those ancestors.
    As with Ancestors, their siblings can be set to go up to an absolute level, or to go up a certain number of levels relative
    to the Branch filter item. Note that while it is possibe to set a larger range for siblings than ancestors, the final output
    is limited by Branch Ancestors setting.

  • Branch Siblings (checkbox)

    Include any siblings of the item selected as the Branch filter (ie. any items at the same level and within
    the same branch as the Branch item).

  • Level (select)

    This allows an entire level of items to be included, optionally also including all levels either above or below it.
    This replaces the All Root Items checkbox (pre v3.0.4), which only allowed for the inclusion of the root level items.


  • Item Ids (textbox)

    This is a comma-separated list of the ids of menu items that you do not want to appear in the final output.
    The simplest way to get your list of ids is to use the “assist”, and [un]check
    the red cross box at the left hand side of each depicted menu item. Alternatively, just type your list of ids into the box.

    If the id is appended with a ‘+’, eg. ’23+’, then all the item’s descendants will also be excluded.

    Example : If you wanted to show the entire “A” branch, with the sole exception of one grandchild of “A”, say “ABC”, then you could
    set Branch to “A”, and Exclusions to the id of the “ABC” item.

    Example : If you have a menu with 4 root items – “A”, “B”, “C” & “D” – and you wanted to show all items, with descendants, for all bar
    the “C” branch, then you could set Level to “1 (root)” and Exclusions to, say, “12+”, where “12” is the menu item id for “C” and
    the “+” indicates that all the descendants of “C” should also be excluded.

  • Level (select)

    This allows an entire level of items to be excluded, optionally also excluding all levels either above or below it.


  • Current Item is in (select)

    This allows you to specify that there only be any output shown when/if the current menu item is one of the menu items selected
    for output at a particular stage in the filter processing.

    • “Menu” : the current menu item has to be somewhere within the selected menu.
    • “Primary Filter” : the current menu item has to be within the scope of the selected primary filter. So if you selected, say, a child
      of “A” as the Branch item, then if “A” was the current menu item there would be no output with this qualifier.
    • “Secondary Filter” : the current menu item has to be within the items as restricted by the secondary filters. So if you
      selected Branch as “A”, with Starting at set to “+1 (children)”, then if “A” was the current menu item there would be no output with this qualifier.
    • “Inclusions” : the current menu item has to be in within the items as set by the primary and secondary filters, and the inclusions.
    • “Final Output” : the current menu item has to be in the final output.

    Fallbacks Section

    If Current Item has no children

This gets applied at the Secondary Filter stage, and its eligibility and
application are therefore determined and governed by the other Secondary Filter settings.

It only comes into play (possibly) when a Branch filter is set as “Current Item”, and the Starting at
and For Depth settings are such that the output should start at or below the current item,
and would normally include some of the current item’s descendants
(eg. Starting at “the Branch”, For Depth “1 level” does not invoke the fallback).
The fallback allows for the occasion when the current menu item does not have any immediate children.

  • Unlabelled Select (select)

    Enable the fallback by selecting one of

    • Start at : -1 (parent) : overrides the Starting at option to be the immediate parent of the Current Item
    • Start at : the Current Item : overrides the Starting at option to be the Current Item
    • No output! : self-explanatory
  • …and Include its Siblings (checkbox)

    This will add in the siblings of the item selected above (excluding the “No output!” setting!).

    Note : This only adds the siblings, not the siblings’ descendants! However, if the Level radio (in Secondary Filter stage above) is
    set, then all the item’s siblings and their descendants will automatically be included, and [un]setting this option will have no effect.
    Also note that if the fallback results in a root-level item being selected as the new Starting at item, then the inclusion of siblings
    outside the current branch depends on the setting of the Allow all Root Items checkbox.

  • For Depth (select)

    Override the current For Depth setting. Note that any depth value set here will be relative to the current item, regardless
    of the current setting of ...Relative to!

    As an example, this option may be useful in the following scenario : item A has 2 children, B and C; B is the current menu item but has
    no children, whereas C has loads of children/grandchildren. If you fallback to B’s parent – A – with Unlimited depth set, then you will
    get A, B, C, and all C’s dependents! You may well want to override depth to limit the output to, say, just A, B and C, by setting this
    fallback option to “1”? Or maybe A, B, C, and C’s immediate children, by setting “2”?

If no Current Item can be found

  • Try items marked Parent of Current (checkbox)

    This gets applied right at the start of processing, when determining
    which of the menu items (if any) should be regarded as the unique “Current Item” by this widget.
    Under certain conditions, WordPress will mark an item as being the parent of a current item …
    but there won’t actually be a current item marked! This occurs, for example, when displaying a full post for which there is
    no specific related menu item, yet there is a menu item for a Category that the displayed post belongs to :
    WordPress will then mark the related Category as being the parent of the current item (the post) even though
    it can’t mark the post as being the current item (because there’s no specific item for it within the menu).

    Enabling this fallback will make the widget look for these situations – only as a last resort! –
    and set (one of) the found “parent” item(s) as the Current Item.

If more than 1 possible Current Item

  • Use the last one found (checkbox)

    Occasionally it is possible for CMW to have more than one possible candidate for Current Item. Since there can only be one
    Current Item, CMW picks the first one encountered. However, this may cause a problem where, for example, a root level item and
    one of its sub-menu items are both set to list items from Category A, and the page being displayed is a full post that belongs
    to category A : CMW will more than likely determine that the root level item is the Current Item, whereas you really need the
    sub-menu item to be the Current Item (probably to maintain consistency with what is produced when other sub-menu items are “current”).

    Enabling this fallback will make CMW use the last-found (instead of first-found) candidate for Current item, ie. when
    the choice is between a submenu item or its parent item, the submenu item will be used.

    Note that this option is most likely to only have any effect when the If no Current Item can be found fallback (above) is
    enabled, but given that any other plugin/theme could affect the menu item structure that gets passed thru to CMW it is not
    impossible for other configurations to also be affected.

    Output Section

  • Hierarchical (radio, default On)

    Output in the standard nested list format. The alternative is Flat.

  • Flat (radio)

    Output in a single list format, ignoring any parent-child relationship other than to maintain the same physical order as would be
    presented in a Hierarchical output (which is the alternative and default).

Set Title from

These allow you to set the Title option from a menu item, and, if brought into play, the Hide flag is ignored.
Note that the item providing the Title only has to be within the selected menu; it does not have to be present in the final output!
Note also that a Current Item setting will be used in preference to a Branch Item setting.

A relative setting – such as Currrent Item “-2 levels” – will top out at the root-level ancestor (which
could be the Current/Branch Item!) if there aren’t enough ancestors available.
Also, an absolute setting – such as Branch Item “level 4” – will bottom out at the Current/Branch Item
if it’s at/above the absolute level specified.

  • Current Item (select)

    Sets Title from the current menu item (if current menu item is in the selected menu), or an ancestor
    of that item, either at an absolute or relative level.

  • Branch Item *(select)

    Only applicable to a Branch filter, and sets Title from the Branch item, or an ancestor
    of that item, either at an absolute or relative level.

  • Make it a Link (checkbox)

    If the widget Title does actually get set using one of the options above, then this will
    put an anchor around the title, using the information from the menu item that supplies the title.

Change UL to OL

The standard for menus is to use UL (unordered list) elements to display the output. These settings give you the option to
swap the ULs out for OLs (ordered lists).

  • Top Level (checkbox)

    Swap the outermost UL for an OL.

  • Sub-Levels (checkbox)

    Swap any nested (ie. not the outermost) ULs for an OLs.

    Container Section

  • Element (textbox, default “div”)

    The menu list is usually wrapped in a “container” element, and this is the tag for that element.
    You may change it for another tag, or you may clear it out and the container will be completely removed. Please note that
    WordPress is set by default to only accept “div” or “nav”, but that could be changed or extended by any theme or plugin.

  • Unique ID (textbox)

    This allows you to specify your own id (which should be unique) for the container.

  • Class (textbox)

    This allows you to add your own class to the container element.

    Classes Section

  • Menu Class (textbox, default “menu-widget”)

    This is the class that will be applied to the list element that holds the entire menu.

  • Widget Class (textbox)

    This allows you to add your own class to the outermost element of the widget, the one that wraps the entire widget output.

    Links Section

  • Before the Link (textbox)

    Text or HTML that will be placed immediately before each menu item’s link.

  • After the Link (textbox)

    Text or HTML that will be placed immediately after each menu item’s link.

  • Before the Link Text (textbox)

    Text or HTML that will be placed immediately before each menu item’s link text.

  • After the Link Text (textbox)

    Text or HTML that will be placed immediately after each menu item’s link text.

    Alternative Section

    This is new at v3.1.0 and provides a limited dual-scenario capability, based on a couple of conditions. For example, let’s say you
    want to show the Current Item and its immediate children, but if there isn’t a Current Item then you want to show the top 2 levels
    of the menu : previously this was not possible solely with CMW, but now you can configure the main widget settings for the “current item”
    scenario, and add an Alternative setting for when no Current Item can be determined.

  • On condition (2 selects)

    Select the appropriate condition for when your Alternative configuration should be used, and also the stage within the
    Filter processing when this condition should be tested for (similar to the Qualifier, Current Item is in). You need
    values in both selects for the Alternative to be considered.

  • Then switch settings to (textarea)

    This should contain a CMW-generated shortcode equivalent of the configuration that you want to switch to. Please note that leaving
    this empty will not prevent the Alternative kicking in if the conditions are set and met! An empty switch to will merely default
    to the CMW’s base settings (Level 1, unlimited Depth). Also note that Alternatives cannot be nested : a primary configuration is
    allowed one chance to switch and that’s it, so providing an Alternative-that-has-an-Alternative will not work.

    The Assist will work with an Alternative – in that it displays the appropriate output – but it can get confusing as to which
    configuration set is being used. There is a message displayed whenever the Alternative kicks in (green if successful, red if it
    should have kicked in but couldn’t due to an error in the alternative settings) so please take note of it.

A bit more information about the Alternative is available
in this article.


  • Widget
  • Filters Section
  • Fallbacks Section
  • Output Section
  • Container Section
  • Classes Section
  • Links Section
  • Alternative Section
  • Widget's "assist"


If you have a question or problem that is not covered here, please use the Support forum.

Are there any known problems/restrictions?

Yep, ‘fraid so :

  1. The widget will only recognise one “current” item (prior to v2.0.2 it was the last one found; as of v2.0.2, it’s the first one encountered, but v3.1.5 adds a switch that lets you opt for the last one found). It is perfectly possible to have more than one menu item marked as “current”, but if CMW has been configured to filter on anything related to a “current menu item” it can only choose one. The simplest example of multiple “current” items is if you add the same page to a menu more than once, but any other plugin that adds and/or manipulates menu items could potentially cause problems for CMW.
  2. The widget’s “assist” uses jQuery UI’s Dialog, which unfortunately (in versions 1.10.3/4) has a really annoying bug in its handling of a draggable (ie. when you drag the Dialog’s title bar to reposition it on the page) when the page has been scrolled. It is due to be fixed in UI v1.11.0, but meantime I have defaulted the Dialog to fixed position, with an option to toggle back to absolute : it’s not perfect but it’s the best compromise I can come up with to maintain some sort of useability.
Why isn’t it working? Why is there no output?

I don’t know. With all due respect (and a certain amount of confidence in the widget) I would venture to suggest that it is probably due to
the option settings on the widget/shortcode. The quickest way to resolve any such issues is to use the widget’s interactive “assist”, and
ensure that you set the current menu item correctly for the page(s) that you are having problems with. However, I am well aware that I not
infallible (and it’s been proven a fair few times!), so if you still have problems then please let me have as much information as possible
(the shortcode equivalent of your settings is a good start?) and I will endeavour to help.

Please note that simply reporting “It doesn’t work” is not
the most useful of feedbacks, and is unlikely to get a response other than, possibly, a request for more details.

I should also point out that any other plugin can change any menu, at any time, either before or after this widget does it stuff (even
prevent it running at all!), so it’s possible that the problem lies somewhere other than CMW.

Where is the styling of the output coming from, and how do I change it?

The widget does not supply any output styling (at all!). This is because I have absolutely no idea where you are going to place either the
widget (sidebar, footer, header, ad-hoc, etc?) or the shortcode (page content, post content, widget content, custom field, etc?) and everyone’s
requirements for styling are likely to be different … possibly even within the same web page’s output. So, all styling is down to your theme,
and if you wish to modify it you will need to add to (or modify) your theme’s stylesheet.

The safest way to do this is via a child theme, so that any
changes you make will not be lost if/when the main theme gets updated.
The best way to test your changes is by utilising the developer capabilities that are available in most
modern browsers (personally, I could not do without Firefox and the Firebug extension!) and dynamically
applying/modifying styles, possibly utilising the custom classes that the
widget applies to its output, or the Container options for a user-defined id or class.

Why is there no (or, How do I get…) indentation on my hierarchical menu?

Firstly, see the answer above, re: styling of the output.

Any output styling comes from your theme (or possibly some other plugin, but definitely not CMW).

If other nested lists are displayed with indentation then it is likely (but not guaranteed) that there is a
class that can be applied to the CMW output that may result in the desired effect. It is always worth
checking out WordPress’s own Nav Menu widget, on a menu that has sub-menus : if that has indentation then
check the classes it has and try them on CMW (assuming that they’re not already there!). If it doesn’t
have indentation then you’re probably going to have to add your own styled class(es) to your theme, and
then apply them to CMW.

Note that quite a few themes “reset/standardise the CSS”, by removing all
padding and margins from lists : trouble is, some of them don’t then provide any means for indenting
nested lists.
Also, please be aware that any CSS rules that are provided may be location-specific.
So, for example, a class may indent nested lists when they are in a sidebar widget area, but not when
they’re in a footer widget area or inserted within content (using a shortcode).

Purely as an example, [re-]applying indentation to nested unorder lists (ULs) could be as fundamental as …

ul ul { margin-left: 1em; }

…however, I have found that things are generally never that straightforward, particularly when menus with
links in them are involved, so I’m afraid you might have to experiment a bit.

How can I create a horizontal menu?

Firstly, see the answer above, re: styling of the output.

Any output styling comes from your theme (or possibly some other plugin, but definitely not CMW).

If you simply want all the menu items to flow horizontally across the page then you could start with
something along the lines of…

.menu-widget {
    list-style-type: none;
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
.menu-widget li {
    display: inline-block;
    margin: 0 2em 0 0;

This is purely an example.

I’ve used a class : you may want to change/add to the class, or swap it for an id.
There are a number of other ways to do it – especially if you have multiple levels, or you want vertical
sub-menus, and/or any sort of interaction. You may want to bring in a jQuery script, or another WordPress
plugin, to handle it for you, assuming that your theme doesn’t already provide the functionality you need.

How do I use the “assist”?

The widget’s interactive “assist” is specific to each widget instance. It is a javascript-driven emulator that uses the widget instance’s
option settings – including the menu selected – to build a pictorial representation of the menu and show you, in blue, which menu items will
be output according to the current option settings. It also shows a very basic output list of those menu items, although it will not apply
some of the more advanced HTML-modifying options such as can be found under the Container, Classes or Links sections.
Any of the displayed menu items can be designated as the “current menu item” simply by clicking on it (click again to deselect, or another
item to change). The “current menu item” is shaded red, with its parent shaded orange and ancestors shaded yellow. All changes in the
“current menu item” and the widget options are immediately reflected by the “assist” (text fields in the widget options simply need to lose

The red cross to the left of each menu item toggles the Exclusions setting for the item and/or its descendants. The button has 3 settings :

  • Off (dimmed)
  • Just this item (white on red)
  • This item plus all its descendants (white on red, with a small yellow plus sign)

Just click through the toggle states. When the Primary Filter is set to “Items”, the green tick buttons to the right of each menu item
work in the same way.

Note that if a green “Alternate settings” message is showing then the ticks and crosses buttons will show the approriate Alternative
settings but they will be slightly opaque and they will not be clickable!

Once you are happy with the results, having tested all possible settings of “current menu item” (if it applies), then simply Save the widget.
If you are using a shortcode implementation, then copy-paste the shortcode text – at the base of either the “assist” or the widget form – straight into your post.

Is there an easy way to construct the shortcode?

Yes, use a widget form. The shortcode for all the selected/specified options is show at the base of the widget (v3+) and the base of the
“assist”. The widget does not have to be placed within a widget area, it can also be used from the Inactive Widgets area.

Do I have to Save the widget if I am using a shortcode?

Only if (as of v3.1.5) you are using the widget=N attribute, which refers back to an existing widget instance
for its settings.

How do I get the menu item ids for the ‘Items’ option?

Use the widget’s interactive “assist” (see above). Within the representative menu structure, each menu item’s id is set in its title
attribute, so should be seen when the cursor is moved over the item. A simpler way is to check the Items option : the “assist” will
then show a green tick “checkbox” to the right of each menu item and you simply [un]check the items as required. Each selection will be reflected back into the
widget’s Items settings, and also in the shortcode texts.

The more painstaking way is to go to Appearance, Menus and select the relevant menu; hover over one of the edit, Remove, or Cancel links for an item and look in
the URL (the link’s href) for menu-item=NNN … the NNN is the menu item id.

How do I get the menu item ids for the ‘Exclude Ids’ option?

The “assist” shows a red cross “checkbox” to the left of each menu item, and [un]checking the items will reflect back into the options and
shortcode texts. Otherwise, it’s the same principle as outlined above for Items ids.

What’s the difference between including Branch Siblings (or Branch Ancestors + Siblings), and switching to ‘Level’ instead of ‘Item’ in the Secondary Filter section?

If you elect to include Branch [Ancestor] Siblings, you will only get the siblings, not their descendants (assuming they have any).
On the other hand, if you make Starting at use ‘Level’ instead of ‘Item’ then siblings and their descendants will be added to the filter.

For example, let’s say that Bravo and Charlie are sibling items immediately below Alpha, and that Bravo is the selected Branch Item,
with Starting at set to “the Branch” (ie. Bravo). If you switch from “Item” to “Level” then both Bravo, Charlie, and all their descendants,
will become eligible for filtering. If you left “Item” enabled, and switched on the inclusion of Branch Siblings, then Bravo and Charlie
would both still be eligible, but only Bravo’s descendants would be; not Charlie’s!

Can CMW handle menus that have items dynamically added by other plugins?

Ummm … Maybe.

Unfortunately, I can’t answer this with a definitive Yes or No. By definition, if something is “dynamic” then
it is likely to change. If the plugin that creates those dynamic items does its job correctly then the items
added should have unique ids, at least within the context of the menu being manipulated. Also, those items
will probably have been set up with a menu_order property that places them appropriately within the menu
structure, and the existing menu items will have been modified accordingly. If that is the case then CMW will
be able to process them in the right order & structure.

However, there is a big caveat here : CMW stores item ids wherever a specific item is targeted – such
as Branch=Page One, or Items=1,3,5, or Exclusions=2,4,6+, etc. If any one of those ids relates
to a dynamically-generated item at the time the widget (or shortcode) is configured, then it is possible that
the id may get assigned to a different item, or may not even exist, when it comes to displaying the

As a contrived example, let’s say that posts Alpha, Charlie and Echo are dynamically added to a menu, and you
can see them when you configure the CMW widget. You decide to Exclude post Charlie, so you configure and save the widget accordingly.
Then someone adds or changes post Beta such that it now qualifies for dynamic inclusion into the menu – so, the
menu should now contain posts Alpha, Beta, Charlie and Echo. Unfortunately, the ids get re-assigned by the
plugin doing the dynamic insertion, and Beta now has the id that Charlie was given when you configured CMW, so
Beta gets filtered out and Alpha, Charlie and Echo get shown!

So, my advice would be : If you use CMW with a menu that you know contains dynamically-degenerated items,
try to avoid specifically targeting any of those items in the configuration. For example,
setting Branch=Current Item is fine, but don’t set Branch=A Dynamic Item; and avoid including or excluding
specific dynamic items, use a parent item that exists in the menu instead. If you can do that then there
should be no problem.

What classes does CMW automatically assign?

Every menu item :

  • cmw-level-N : every menu item gets this class, with N being the hierarchical level of the item within the menu
    shown (starting at 1). Note that selecting the flat output option does not affect the hierarchical level of
    any item.

Certain menu items :

  • cmw-current-item : assigned to the menu item that CMW has decided to use as the “current menu item”.
  • cmw-has-submenu : assigned to any menu item that has child items in the output menu.
  • cmw-menu-item-had-children : assigned to any menu item that had child items in the original base
    menu, regardless of whether it still has child items in the final output menu.
  • cmw-an-included-ancestor : assigned to any menu item whose presence is solely due to a request to include ancestors.
  • cmw-an-included-ancestor-sibling : assigned to any menu item whose presence is solely due to a request to include
    the siblings of ancestors.
  • cmw-an-included-sibling : assigned to any menu item whose presence is solely due to a request to include branch
    item siblings.
  • cmw-an-included-level : assigned to any menu item whose presence is solely due to a request to include one or
    more levels.

The menu itself (the outermost list element) :

  • cmw-fellback-to-parent : assigned to the menu when the fallback for Current Item has no children is set
    to Start at : -1 (parent), and it has been invoked.
  • cmw-fellback-to-current : assigned to the menu when the fallback for Current Item has no children is set
    to Start at : the Current Item, and it has been invoked.
  • cmw-invoked-alternative : assigned to the menu when the output has been produced as a result of
    an alternative configuration being brought into play.

The menu wrapper :

  • shortcode_custom_menu_wizard : if the menu is produced from a [cmwizard] shortcode then this class is assigned
    to the element that wraps the output.
How can I find all my posts/pages that have a CMW shortcode so that I can upgrade them?

There is a button on the widget’s “assist” – [...] – that will provide a list of posts/pages whose content, or meta data (custom fields),
contains any CMW shortcode. Each entry is a link that opens the item in a new tab/window. The link’s title gives a bit more information :
post type, id, whether the shortcode(s) are in content and/or meta data, and the shortcode(s) concerned.
This utility does not check things like text widgets, plugin-specific tables, theme-provided textareas, etc.

There is also an extension to the shortcode – [cmwizard findme=1/] – that will output the same information, should you not be able to use
the “assist” (for some unknown reason). You may optionally provide a title attribute; any other attributes are ignored.
Note that output from this shortcode extension is restricted to users with edit_pages capability.

Is Version 2 of the widget, including the old [custom_menu_wizard/] shortcode, still supported?

In Version 3, Yes. However, I highly recommend that you upgrade your widgets & shortcodes to the latest versions,
because Version 2 will not be supported beyond Version 3.


Read all 38 reviews



  • change : minimum WordPress version is now 3.9! (because require .dashicons-before, as part of needing to dump jQuery UI theme)
  • bugfix : ! Possible Breaker ! fixed incorrect determination of current item when a “current menu item” has a duplicate of itself as an ancestor (hopefully rare). There is a (very slight) chance that this may affect your displayed menu : if it does, toggle the Fallback option for If more than 1 possible Current Item, and I apologise for not catching the problem earlier
  • change : dumped jQuery UI’s Smoothness theme for WordPress’s own CSS, to work around styling issues with WP4.5
  • change : removed the hide_empty option (only relevant pre WP3.6) entirely
  • change : remove support for Widget Customizer plugin (part of core from WP3.9)
  • change : localized all text used by assist, to reduce byte footprint of the widget
  • add : in customizer, if there are no menus, link to the customizer’s menus panel
  • add : opt in to customizer selective refresh for widgets (WP4.5)
  • bugfix : correction to regexps that sanitize the alternative
  • bugfix : corrected some problems with the assist dialog’s auto-sizing, particularly after dragging
  • tweak : squidged the widget form a bit, to reduce byte footprint of the widget
  • tweak : included screenshots in html version of documentation


  • addition : add cmw-current-item class to the menu item that CMW is using as ‘current item’


  • addition : add cmw-menu-item-had-children class to any menu item that originally had children, regardless of whether it still does when output


  • bugfix : improve handling of dynamically-generated items, by pre-sorting into menu_order order and coping with negative item ids
  • documentation : updated FAQs


  • tweak : minor updates to documentation, and verified for WordPress v4.4


  • bugfix : fixed initial widget display when adding new widget instance in the customizer


  • bugfix : missing echo statement for the update message


  • internationalization


  • addition : expanded Title From to allow absolute ancestor levels (besides root) and relative ancestor levels
  • addition : added a fallback option to switch determination of Current Item from first-found to last-found
  • addition : added a shortcode attribute that loads an existing widget instance : [cmwizard widget=N/]
  • documentation : updated, and provided an html version in the plugin download


  • bugfix : in shortcode processing, any supplied Alternative settings weren’t being used. thanks corrideat
  • bugfix : prevent texturization of shortcode’s content, for when it is being used with an Alternative setting
  • addition : the ability to make a title into a link when the title has been set from a menu item


  • tweak : minor change to css for the assist when running under the Customizer (WordPress 4.1)


  • modified the readme : documentation for the Shortcode Attributes has been moved to the Installation page (to avoid being truncated)


  • bugfix : only show the allow_all_root setting in the shortcode equivalent if the primary filter is by branch
  • addition : work-around for when a theme inadvertently(!) de-registers the widget, which then prevents the shortcode working


  • addition : new Alternative section which takes a cmwizard shortcode and conditionally applies it as an entirely new widget configuration
  • addition : new fallback switch which enables an item marked as current_item_parent to be used as current item when no other current item is found
  • bugfix : updated the determination of current item so that a paged (?paged=2, etc) Home page still shows Home page as being current
  • bugfix : fixed code introduced in v3.0.4 that prevented CMW script loading on the customizer page – when the Widget Customizer plugin is loaded – for WordPress v3.8 and below
  • bugfix : stop disabling selected fields based on other settings, because this caused the customizer to wipe values that may have been still required


  • bugfix : corrected the display of the “No Current Item!” warning in the “assist”
  • bugfix : corrected the enabling/disabling of a couple of fields in the widget form, and tweaked the indentation for better responsiveness
  • bugfix : corrected the options setup when in accessibility mode with javascript enabled
  • addition : added a warning about the accuracy of the shortcode when javascript is disabled
  • addition : extended the All Root Items inclusion to be a selectable number of levels (as per the Exclusions by Level)


  • bugfix : removed all occurrences of “Plugin ” followed by “Name” from everywhere except the main plugin file to avoid update() reporting Invalid Header when activating straight from installation (rather than from the Plugins page)
  • tweak : eliminate the over-use of get_title() when determining the widget title
  • tweak : added self-terminating forward slash to generated shortcodes
  • change : prepare for WordPress v4 (avoid use of deprecated functions)


  • bugfix : the shortcode display on new instances of the widget (in admin) did not initially reflect the automatically-selected menu


  • bugfix : changed the determination of pre-existing legacy widgets versus brand new widget instances, to get round problems encountered when other plugins utilise the widget_form_callback filter to inject fields into a widget
  • addition : added a couple of filters


  • ! Rewrite, and Change of Approach ! The widget has had a major rewrite! The Children of filter has been replaced with a Branch filter, with a subsequent shift in focus for the secondary filter options, from the children’s level (0, 1 or more items) up to the branch level (a single item!). This should provide a more intuitive interface, and is definitely easier to code for. However, it only affects new instances of the widget; v2 instances are still fully supported.

    Please also note that the shortcode tag for v3 has changed to [cmwizard], with a revised set of attributes. The old shortcode tag is still supported, but only with the v2 attribute set, and only providing v2 functionality, ie. it is the shortcode tag that determines which widget version to use, and the appropriate attribute set for that version.

    There is no automatic upgrade of widget settings from v2 to v3! I suggest bringing up the “assist” for the existing v2 widget, running it side-by-side with the “assist” of a new instance of the widget, and using them to the compare the desired outputs. I would also strongly recommend that you put your old widgets into the inactive area until you are completely happy with their new replacements. If you are upgrading from version 2, and you would like a bit more information, this article might help.

  • change : the minmum requirement for WordPress is v3.6
  • addition : more options for requiring that the “current” menu item be present at some point in the filter process
  • addition : Branch filter levels can be either relative (to the selected Branch item) or absolute (within the menu structure)
  • addition : menu items can now be excluded from the final output, either explicitly by id (optionally including descendants), or by level
  • addition : the ids of Items can be set to include all descendants
  • addition : the inclusion of branch ancestors, and optionally their siblings, can be set by absolute level or relative number of levels
  • addition : the widget title can now be automatically set from the root level item of the Branch item or current menu item
  • addition : the shortcode for a widget’s current settings is now also displayed at the base of the widget (as well as at the base of the “assist”)
  • addition : “title_tag” has been added to the shortcode options, enabling the default H2 to be changed without having to resort to coding a filter
  • addition : as an alternative to using the “assist”, “findme” has been addded to the shortcode options to aid editors with the location of posts containing a CMW shortcode ([cmwizard findme=1])
  • This release includes an upgrade to v2.1.0 for all existing version 2 widgets/shortcodes – please read the v2.1.0 changes below.

2.1.0 (incorporated into v3.0.0 release)

  • change : the minmum requirement for WordPress is v3.6
  • bugfix : handle duplicate menu item ids which were causing elements to be ignored
  • bugfix : fix IE8 levels indentation in the “assist”
  • bugfix : the “assist” is now “fixed” position (toggle-able back to absolute), mainly to get around a bug in jQuery UI draggable
  • remove : take out the automatic selection of shortcode text (inconsistent cross-browser, so just triple click as usual; paste-as-text if possible!)
  • addition : in the “assist”, provide collapsible options for those larger menus
  • addition : added utility to the “assist” enabling posts containing a CMW shortcode to be located
  • change : in the “assist”, swap the menu Items checkboxes for clickable Ticks
  • change : in the “assist”, tweak styling and make more responsive to re-sizing
  • change : made compatible with Widget Customizer
  • Note : there is no separate release available for this version!


  • change : modified determination of current item to cope better with multiple occurences (still first-found, but within prioritised groups)
  • change : display of the upgrade notice in the plugins list has been replaced with a simple request to read the changelog before upgrading


  • bugfix : prevent PHP warnings of Undefined index/offset


  • bugfix : clearing the container field failed to remove the container from the output
  • addition : in the “assist”, added automatic selection of the shortcode text when it is clicked
  • addition : remove WordPress’s menu-item-has-children class (introduced in v3.7) when the filtered item no longer has children
  • change : tweaked styles and javascript in admin for WordPress v3.8


  • bugfix : missing global when enqueuing scripts and styles for admin


  • bugfix : the Include Ancestors option was not automatically including the Parent
  • bugfix : the “assist” was incorrectly calculating Depth Relative to Current Item when the current menu item was outside the scope of the Filtered items
  • behaviour change : only recognise the first “current” item found (used to allow subsequent “current” items to override any already encountered)


  • bugfix : an incorrect test for a specific-items filter prevented show-all producing any output


  • ! Possible Breaker ! The calculation of Start Level has been made consistent across the Show all and Children of filters : if you previously had a setup where you were filtering for the children of an item at level 2, with start level set to 4, there would have been no output because the immediate children (at level 3) were outside the start level. Now, there will be output, starting with the grand-children (at level 4).
  • ! Possible Breaker ! There is now deemed to be an artificial “root” item above the level 1 items, which mean that a Children of filter set to “Current Parent Item” or “Current Root Item” will no longer fail for a top-level “current menu item”. If you have the “no ancestor” fallback set then this change will have no impact (but you may now want to consider turning the fallback off?); if you don’t currently use the “no ancestor” fallback, then where there was previously no output there will now be some!
  • added new option : Items, a comma- or space-delimited list of menu item ids, as an alternative Filter
  • added new option : Depth Relative to Current Item to the Filter section (depth_rel_current=1 in the shortcode)
  • added new option : Must Contain Current Item to the Output section (contains_current=1 in the shortcode)
  • changed the widget’s “demo” facility to “assist” and brought it into WordPress admin, with full interactivity with the widget
  • refactored code


  • bugfix : fallback for Current Item with no children was failing because the parent’s children weren’t being picked out correctly


  • added some extra custom classes, when applicable : cmw-fellback-to-current & cmw-fellback-to-parent (on outer UL/OL) and cmw-the-included-parent, cmw-an-included-parent-sibling & cmw-an-included-ancestor (on relevant LIs)
  • corrected ‘show all from start level 1’ processing so that custom classes get applied and ‘Title from “Current” Item’ works (regardless of filter settings)
  • changed the defaults for new widgets such that only the Filter section is open by default; all the others are collapsed
  • in demo.html, added output of the shortcode applicable to the selections made
  • in demo.html, added a link to the documentation page
  • corrected 2 of the shortcode examples in the readme.txt, and made emulator (demo) available from the readme


  • added custom_menu_wizard shortcode, to run the widget from within content
  • moved the ‘no ancestor’ fallback into new Fallback collapsible section, and added a fallback for Current Item with no children
  • added an option allowing setting of title from current menu item’s title
  • fixed a bug with optgroups/options made available for the ‘Children of’ selector after the widget has been saved (also affected disabled fields and styling)
  • don’t include menus with no items
  • updated demo.html


  • added ‘Current Root Item’ and ‘Current Parent Item’ to the Children of filter
  • added Fallback to Current Item option, with subsidiary options for overriding a couple of Output options, as a means to enable Current Root & Current Parent to match a Current Item at root level
  • added an Output option to include both the parent item and the parent’s siblings (for a successful Children of filter)
  • added max-width style (100%) to the Children of SELECT in the widget options
  • added widget version to the admin js enqueuer
  • ignore/disable Hide Empty option for WP >= v3.6 (wp_nav_menu() now does it automatically)
  • included a stand-alone helper/demo html page
  • rebuilt the Children of SELECT in the widget options to cope with IE’s lack of OPTGROUP/OPTION styling
  • moved the setting of ‘disabled’ attributes on INPUTs/SELECTs from PHP into javascript


  • Initial release

Contributors & Developers

This is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


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