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WPML is getting an upgraded language switcher, which will allow you easier customization, full control and a nicer setup. A beta version is now available for you to try.

Over the years, the language switcher options for WPML have evolved. Now, we decided it’s time to refresh the entire design, add missing features and organize everything in a convenient GUI. The new language switcher will go into WPML 3.6, but it’s already available as beta. We’re hoping to get client feedback and see if it covers all your needs.

Separate sections for different kinds of language switchers

The new language switcher has clear sections for each kind of language switcher. The first section includes global settings, like the order of languages.

Each of the sections includes settings that will apply to each of the language switchers.

The new language switcher settings
The new language switcher settings

Each section has its own « add » button (to add another language switcher of that kind), a « pencil » icon to edit and a « trash » icon (which I’ll let you guess what it does).

But these are only the cosmetic changes. Under the surface, you’ll discover more significant improvements.

Full control over each language switcher

Every language switcher kind now has its own complete settings, which allows you full and independent control over what it includes and how it looks.

For example, this is the settings page for the menu language switcher:

Settings for menu language switcher
Settings for menu language switcher

Live preview, showing the language switcher options

As you change the settings of the language switcher, the preview updates. The preview is « schematic ». It doesn’t load the front-end CSS (which is not a good idea to load in the WordPress admin), so the actual language switcher will be styled differently. However, it does show you the effect of the different options, color settings, order and content.

See how it works:

And, the Languages page shows a working preview for the different language switchers in your site.

All the previews are shown on the main Languages page, so you can see how all the language switchers in your site look like
All the previews are shown on the main Languages page, so you can see how all the language switchers in your site look like

Better HTML for menu language switchers

The menu language switcher also got a major update for the front-end. Until now, WPML would render the menu language switcher with its own HTML. This was OK for some themes, but not for all. Now, we’re injecting « language switcher » elements into the menu structure, so that your theme will render the language switcher, like it renders other menu items.

This means that menu language switchers will suddenly start looking nicer in your sites. You will no longer need to apply custom CSS to make WPML’s menu language switcher look like the rest of your menu.

Menu language switcher in the front-end
Menu language switcher in the front-end

We did a lot of testing for this upgrade with different themes and it looks great (to us). We need your feedback. Please test and see that there are no side effects to this new HTML for your sites.

Fully compatible with your existing custom language switchers

If you’ve created your own custom language switcher, it will continue working normally. The API that returns that language and translation information did not change at all.

Fully compatible with the language switcher settings in existing sites

The new language switchers have more settings, but they are all backward compatible with previous versions of WPML. After you upgrade, your site should look the same. Now, there are new settings for the different language switchers for you to explore.

Download and try

This beta is available for you to download and play with. It’s a beta, so please only use it on development sites and not on production sites.

To download this beta, log in to your WPML account. Click on Downloads and then scroll to the bottom of the page. Download the beta package and unzip it. You will find the dev versions of all of WPML’s components.


We’d love to know your opinion about this update. Is it doing what you need? Is everything working correctly or do you need help with anything?

Leave your comments and we’ll get back to you.

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