How to Import and Export Navigation Menus in WordPress

Navigation menus play a crucial role in enhancing user experience and guiding visitors through your WordPress website.

While WordPress provides a default import/export feature, it falls short when it comes to specifically importing and exporting menus. However, there is a workaround that allows you to accomplish this task efficiently.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of importing and exporting navigation menus in WordPress without the need for a full site transfer.

Why Import and Export Navigation Menus in WordPress?

Importing and exporting navigation menus becomes essential in various situations. For instance, if you’re creating a new website for a sister product and want to maintain the same design and menu structure, exporting and importing the menu alone can save you valuable time and effort.

By avoiding a complete site transfer, you can focus solely on duplicating the desired menu.

Default WordPress Import/Export Options

Before diving into the specifics of importing and exporting navigation menus, it’s important to understand the default import/export options provided by WordPress.

These options can be accessed through the Tools menu in your WordPress dashboard. The default export feature allows you to export all content or selectively export posts, pages, or media.

How to Export Navigation Menus in WordPress

To export a navigation menu, you’ll need to utilize the WPS Menu Exporter plugin. Begin by installing and activating the plugin.

Once activated, navigate to Tools » Export in your WordPress admin dashboard. A new option to export navigation menu items will be available.

Select the “Navigation Menu Items” radio button and click the “Download Export File” button.

This action will download an XML file containing the menu, linked pages, and associated comments.

How to Import Navigation Menus in WordPress

To import the exported navigation menu to another WordPress site, you need to install the WordPress importer plugin.

Head over to Tools » Import in your WordPress dashboard. Locate the “WordPress” option and click on the “Install Now” button to activate the WordPress importer.

Once installed, a “Run Importer” link will appear. Click on this link and on the Import WordPress screen, click the “Choose file” button to select the XML file you downloaded earlier. Proceed by clicking the “Upload file and import” button.

Managing Imported Menu Content

During the import process, you will have the option to assign the imported content to an existing user or create a new user. If your WordPress site has multiple authors, you can choose to assign posts to a specific author from the dropdown list.

Additionally, if your menu includes linked pages, it’s recommended to check the “Download and import file attachments” box to ensure that any associated images are included in the import.

Once you’ve configured the import settings, click the “Submit” button and wait for the import process to complete.

Verifying Imported Menu and Linked Pages

After the import process is successful, you can verify the imported menu by navigating to Appearance » Menus in your WordPress dashboard.

Here, you can ensure that the menu is correctly set up and matches the original. To confirm the import of linked pages, comments, and images, you can visit the Pages tab in your WordPress dashboard and review the imported content.


Importing and exporting navigation menus separately in WordPress provides a streamlined approach to replicate menus across different websites without the need for a full site transfer.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily import and export navigation menus, ensuring consistent design and user experience across your WordPress projects. Take advantage of these techniques to save time and effort while maintaining a cohesive menu structure.