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I am trying to build a Wordpress theme with boostrap, but the nav menu is giving me some trouble. I would like the dropdown to work like boostraps dropdown, but I do not know how to do this.

This is my menu:

<ul class="nav">
   <?php wp_nav_menu( array( 'items_wrap' => '%3$s' ) ); ?>

This is what I have in my functions.php for the menu:

add_action('after_setup_theme', 'blankslate_setup');
function blankslate_setup(){
array( 'main-menu' => __( 'Main Menu', 'blankslate' ) )

function my_wp_nav_menu_args( $args = '' )
    $args['container'] = false;
    return $args;
} // function

add_filter( 'wp_nav_menu_args', 'my_wp_nav_menu_args' );

When I add a submenu item (via Appearance - Menus) this is what is currently generated:

<ul class="nav">
    <li id="menu-item-18" class="menu-item menu-item-type-post_type menu-item-object-page menu-item-18"><a href="#">Parent</a>
        <ul class="sub-menu">
                <li id="menu-item-19" class="menu-item menu-item-type-post_type menu-item-object-page menu-item-19"><a href="#">Child</a></li>

For my menu to work with bootstrap I need the menu to be generated like:

<ul class="nav">
    <li class="dropdown"><a href="#" class="dropdown-toggle" data-toggle="dropdown">Parent <b class="caret"></b></a>
        <ul class="dropdown-menu">
            <li><a href="#">Child</a></li>

So I need:

  • To add the class "dropdown", if a menu-item has child-items.
  • To add class="dropdown-toggle" data-toggle="dropdown" to the .dropdown a element
  • To add <b class="caret"></b> after the Dropdown-menu name (inside the .dropdown a element)
  • To add class="dropdown-menu" to <ul class="sub-menu">

Hope someone can help!

share|improve this question
If you search on Github, you'll find some custom walker functions for wp_nav_menu on Bootstrap. – RRikesh Feb 27 '13 at 9:28
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You will need to write a custom walker extending Walker_Nav_Menu, more or less like so:

class My_Custom_Nav_Walker extends Walker_Nav_Menu {

   function start_lvl(&$output, $depth = 0, $args = array()) {
      $output .= "\n<ul class=\"dropdown-menu\">\n";

   function start_el(&$output, $item, $depth = 0, $args = array(), $id = 0) {
       $item_html = '';
       parent::start_el($item_html, $item, $depth, $args);

       if ( $item->is_dropdown && $depth === 0 ) {
           $item_html = str_replace( '<a', '<a class="dropdown-toggle" data-toggle="dropdown"', $item_html );
           $item_html = str_replace( '</a>', ' <b class="caret"></b></a>', $item_html );

       $output .= $item_html;

    function display_element($element, &$children_elements, $max_depth, $depth = 0, $args, &$output) {
        if ( $element->current )
        $element->classes[] = 'active';

        $element->is_dropdown = !empty( $children_elements[$element->ID] );

        if ( $element->is_dropdown ) {
            if ( $depth === 0 ) {
                $element->classes[] = 'dropdown';
            } elseif ( $depth === 1 ) {
                // Extra level of dropdown menu, 
                // as seen in http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/components.html#dropdowns
                $element->classes[] = 'dropdown-submenu';

    parent::display_element($element, $children_elements, $max_depth, $depth, $args, $output);

Not sure of what you need with points 3 and 4, though.

share|improve this answer
Thank you, I will try it out. I forgot to wrap some code in point 3 and 4 :) – Cody Feb 27 '13 at 10:27
Ok, now it makes sense, I think the above code should take care of it all. – Sunyatasattva Feb 27 '13 at 10:38
do you think there would be a way to do this in the functions.php? Or in some other way which would allow me to only modify the theme. – Cody Feb 27 '13 at 10:49
You can totally use this in your functions.php, perhaps use an include to an external file to keep it a bit cleaner, but that's all. – Sunyatasattva Feb 27 '13 at 11:55
Thank you! You saved the day, it is working like a charm :) – Cody Feb 27 '13 at 12:17

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