Adding Menu Descriptions to WordPress Menus

In WordPress there’s an option to add custom descriptions to Menu links – but by default there’s no way to display these descriptions. I’m currently redesigning Binary Moon and wanted to add descriptions to the menu – so I thought I’d work out how to do it.

An example of the menu descriptions visible on the upcoming redesign of the Binary Moon theme.

An example of the menu descriptions visible on the upcoming redesign of the Binary Moon theme.

Googling around it seemed that I would have to create a custom walker class and do all sorts of complicated stuff – but then I realised the current default theme, Twenty Fifteen, has menu descriptions – and their solution is super simple.

It’s just a filter on the returned link menu items using a str_replace to inject the description.

 * Add descriptions to menu items
function bm_nav_description( $item_output, $item, $depth, $args ) {

    if ( 'primary' == $args->theme_location && $item->description ) {
        $item_output = str_replace( $args->link_after . '</a>', '<div class="menu-item-description">' . $item->description . '</div>' . $args->link_after . '</a>', $item_output );

    return $item_output;


add_filter( 'walker_nav_menu_start_el', 'bm_nav_description', 10, 4 );

Was it good/ useful/ a load of old rubbish? Let me know on Mastodon, or BlueSky (or Twitter X if you must).

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