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How to Add Image Icons With Navigation Menus in WordPress

Do you want to add image icons in your WordPress navigation menus? Recently, one of our users asked for an easy way to add menu icons. In this article, we will show you how to add image icons with navigation menus in WordPress.

Adding navigation menu icons in WordPress

Why You Should Add Image Icons with Navigation Menus?

Usually, WordPress navigation menus are plain text links. These links work for most websites, however, you can make your navigation menu look more interactive by adding image icons.

Image icons can also be used to make your menu more noticeable. For example, a beautiful image icon next to your contact page can make it standout among other links in your menu.

With that said, let’s take a look at how to easily add image icons with navigation menus in WordPress.

Video Tutorial

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If you don’t want to watch the video tutorial, then you can continue reading the text version below:

Method 1: Adding Menu Icons Using a Plugin

This method is easier and it’s recommended for beginner users because it doesn’t involve code.

The first thing you need to do is to install and activate the Menu Image plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Appearance » Menus page.

From here, you can click on any menu item in the in the right column to expand it. You’ll see the ‘Menu image’ and ‘Image on hover’ buttons in settings for each item.

Menu image buttons

Using these buttons, you can select or upload the menu image icon you want to use. If you want, then you can just upload a menu image and ignore the hover image.

In the ‘Image size’ dropdown, you can select a size for the image icon. This size will apply to both the menu icon image and image on hover.

The plugin comes with multiple options to choose from. However we recommend to keep menu icons small by using 24×24 or 36×36 sizes.

Menus icon size

If you want to add your own custom size for the menu images, then you can do that by adding this code in your theme’s functions.php file or site-specific plugin.

add_filter( 'menu_image_default_sizes', function($sizes){
  // remove the default 36x36 size
  // add a new size
  $sizes['menu-50x50'] = array(50,50);
  // return $sizes (required)
  return $sizes;

You can also set the title position above, below, before, or after the image icon. It also allows you to hide the title and only display the image icon for each navigation menu.

Title position

Once you have configured the settings, simply add image icons to all your navigation menu items separately. Next, you need to click on the ‘Save Menu’ button to see menu icons in action.

Image icons in navigation menu

Method 2: Adding Menu Icons Using Code Snippet

This method is for more experienced users who know their way around CSS.

First, you need to visit Media » Add New to upload all your image icons in WordPress. Once uploaded, you need to copy their URLs and paste them in a text editor like Notepad.

Next, you need to go to Appearance » Menus and click on the ‘Screen Options‘ button at the top right corner of your screen. In the screen options, you need to check the ‘CSS Classes’ option.

Add CSS classes

After that, scroll down and click on any menu item to expand its settings. You’ll notice a ‘CSS Classes (Optional)’ field where you need to add a CSS class name for the menu item.

Add class name

Now you need to add this custom CSS to your theme.

.homeicon {
background-image: url('');
background-repeat: no-repeat;
background-position: left;
padding-left: 5px;

In this CSS snippet, .homeicon is the class name that you added in the CSS Classes field above.

Depending on your theme, you may need to tweak the CSS a little bit to get the perfect placement for menu icons. Once you are satisfied with the result, repeat the process for all menu items.

That’s all. We hope this article helped you learn how to add image icons with navigation menus in WordPress. You may also want to check out our guide on how to style WordPress navigation menus.

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Reader Interactions

46 CommentsLeave a Reply

    • It would depend on your specific theme for what would need to be added for that, for the time being we would recommend using the plugin method for what you are wanting to do.


  1. Hi, how could I modify the code to hide the menu link and only show the icon? Thanks for your help.

    • You would want to use the plugin and that would allow you to do what you are wanting.


  2. Hi,

    Im wondering if you can help me.

    Using Css how would i make the posts in my menu show their respective featured image.


    • That would require more than CSS, we would recommend reaching out to your theme’s support and they should be able to assist with your featured image display :)


  3. I try this plugin but facing issue while creating sub-menu. All things I set it up as per guidelines. but those menu have have sub-menu there i’m unable to see the image.
    please help me out.

    • We would first recommend reaching out to the plugin’s support and they should be able to assist.


  4. I have done all of the above and within the menu I can see the image that I have uploaded so looks like it’s all worked but when I go to the front page of the website the images are not showing, can’t understand why it’s not working

    • If you’re using the plugin you may want to reach out to the plugin’s support otherwise, you would want to reach out to your theme’s support in case it is being overridden by your theme’s settings


  5. Hello, I’m author of Menu Image plugin, and first of all thanks for great article and video manual! May I use link for this tutorial in plugin official description?

    And feel free to contact me in case if it misses some useful features, I can add it in new releases.

    Btw, there is new version with new title positions: below and above the image.

    • Hi zviryatko,

      Yes, please feel free to add the link and we appreciate it. However, we do not allow full copy of an article. Thank you for letting us know about the new version.


    • Hey, I’ve been trying to get the newest version of this to work (totally breaks the menu for me, links included) and it looks like all support is dead air. @zviryatko do you intend on maintaining your plugin? I really like it when it works but I’m considering ditching it for a custom coded solution.

      • Hello Steph,
        I’m doing some small steps, usually helping people with some custom css to fix their theme. But still, have some plan for fixing supports of old themes and providing a version with better support per user.

  6. I can’t edit files . I want to add custom image sizes but when I try to save , it shows
    “Unable to save file: Permission denied ‘/var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/menu-image/menu-image.php’ ”

    The message also displays whenever I try to edit any files [by atom editor]. Can you please help. Thanks in advance

  7. I was wondering if there was a way to have the image line up evenly with the title? That way the image doesn’t fall in the middle but aligns on the bottom.

  8. I’m sure this is going to be helpful. Especially that font-awesome will always not have enough icons.

  9. Hi There! I’ve been using Menu-Icons but there is no way to place icon ABOVE the Menu Text with that plugin. Does the Menu Image plugin allow this option? If not, how would I tweek either plugin to make this work. PS: Not a developer so the simpler/more detailed the instructions the better! Thanks much!

  10. Hi, i added a shortcode in the description textbox there :[glt language=”English” Label=”English”],
    after using this plugin, this shortcode no function and display icon only on my page,anyone can help?

  11. Hello

    ‘have just tried the “Menu Image” plugin and have added the Facebook and the Youtube pics form my own Media Library.

    But !! I am using the Twenty Sixteen Theme which uses genericons for the social media menu and they are still there!

    I want to replace them with my own images. How do I remove the genericons?



  12. This plugin isn’t working. But I do have an option for icons … but I don’t have the Font Awesome Menu Icons installed … is it possible that maybe it’s built into the theme and it’ conflicting with this plugin?

  13. Sheesh, thanks. This saved me lots of time I would have spent coding otherwise. Typically, I use ionicons or font awesome for menus – but the customer is always right! :)

    Again, super thanks!

  14. I basically added this to the Menu label


    It basically turns the text white and my background is white.

    A proper solution would be ideal.

  15. Hi, this plugin would be perfect, if the hide of the original text would work. I prefer just having my image instead of the text and even if I set “hide”, the text is still showing, on the left of the image. Any ideas why?

    Thanks for help.

  16. This all works great, except that each image is stuck behind the text in the navigation bar instead of sitting to the side of it. I think the problem is that each section of the nav bar menu is the exact size of the text so it’s pushing the images inwards to fit into the space. I’ve tried various things with padding, image size etc but can’t get it to work. Thanks for any help with fixing this!

    • Hi guys, does anyone have any thoughts on this please? I’m really stuck and I feel like there should be a straightforward way of fixing it! Thanks,

      • I found a solution so am posting in case this is of use to others. I set a ‘min-width’ element for each item in the navigation menu, and reduced padding, margins and text-size to make sure there is enough room for all the items to fit on one line. It’s not a 100% ideal solution because it will look slightly different depending on screen size, but this is the best I could come up with.

  17. Thank you for this! I looked all over before I found this as the solution to my client’s problem. Love that I could replace ONE BUTTON instead of EVERYTHING.

  18. if you have no Navigation Label. then it deletes your menu item. for example I have a youtube icon and i don’t want any text, just a link so i have to a ‘.’ inthere

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