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How do I add the active class to the current link that the user is viewing? I have a mixture of pages and custom post types in my main nav menu and I know that wordpress has .current_page_item that can be used but when I tried that nothing happened. I'm slightly confused about how to implement it. Currently the menus for the site are being pulled in using:

<?php wp_nav_menu( array( 'theme_location' => 'header-menu' ) ); ?>


<?php wp_nav_menu( array('menu' => 'Mobile Menu' )); ?> - for mobile state.

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hi may b u should take a look at this might be wat ur looking for...wordpress.org/support/topic/… – codebreaker Oct 11 '13 at 11:12
thanks that worked for pages but when I click on the custom post types in the nav menu it doesnt work. – Neelam Khan Oct 11 '13 at 11:26
hi check this post ur done i believe..if not reply back..wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/6333/… – codebreaker Oct 11 '13 at 11:30


Two things:

  1. wp_nav_menu() also outputs .current_page_item, as backward compatibility with wp_page_menu().
  2. Among the list item CSS classes added by wp_nav_menu(), for a custom post type, list items will have a CSS class .list-type-object-{slug}, where {slug} is the CPT slug. So, you could target: .list-type-object-{slug}.current-list-item

Original Answer

The key is in the class name: .current_page_item. That class is added by wp_page_menu(), whereas wp_nav_menu() adds .current-list-item.

What that means is that wp_nav_menu() is outputting its fallback menu, and not a user-created custom nav menu.


  1. Custom nav menu Theme Location is registered via register_nav_menu() or register_nav_menus()
  2. Call to wp_nav_menu() includes the theme_location parameter *and not the menu parameter, and that thetheme_locationpassed towp_nav_menu()matches the one defined inregister_nav_menu()/register_nav_menus()`
  3. At least one custom nav menu is defined via Appearance -> Menus
  4. A defined custom nav menu is assigned to the Theme Location that corresponds to theme_location passed to wp_nav_menu().

For example:

  1. Register

    function wpse117502_theme_setup() {
        register_nav_menus( array(
            'primary' => 'Primary'
        ) );
    add_action( 'after_setup_theme', 'wpse117502_theme_setup' );
  2. Call

    wp_nav_menu( array(
        'theme_location' => 'primary'
    ) );
  3. Define

    User creates a menu, e.g. "Main Menu"

  4. Assign

    User assigns "Main Menu" to "Primary" Theme Location

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Thanks @chip Ive realised that for the page items in my navigation the class being applied by wordpress is: li.current-menu-item and so I can style those ones as I please, however for the custom post types I cant figure out which class wordpress is assigning which is making it difficult to style them. – Neelam Khan Oct 11 '13 at 13:36
Did you check the linked Codex references for wp_nav_menu() list item classes? (See edited answer.) – Chip Bennett Oct 11 '13 at 13:45
I have read through the codex but everything I try for the custom post types isnt working. The custom post types are in the main nav and then they are sub-nav items. I have viewed the source code and found that wordpress is assigning the following class to the current post type page: menu-item menu-item-type-post_type menu-item-object-page current-menu-item page_item page-item-133 current_page_item menu-item-137 – Neelam Khan Oct 11 '13 at 13:50
Nope; you're on a static page: menu-item-object-page. Can you post a live link? – Chip Bennett Oct 11 '13 at 13:54
purpleclaw.org.uk/lulu - Link to the site – Neelam Khan Oct 11 '13 at 13:55

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