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I'm wondering if it is possible to add different classes to second/third/fourth/etc-level items that have children in Appearance > Menus tree?

That's how I call the menu:

 <?php $menu_args = array(
    'container'       => '', 
    'menu_class'      => '', 
    'menu_id'         => 'my-menu',
    'walker'          => new Description_Walker);

    wp_nav_menu($menu_args );   

I know every link owns different ID like <li id="menu-item-3230">, but I want the solution to be dynamic so I won't have to edit code every time I change something. I guess the easiest way will be to attach additional class to these items but how?

enter image description here

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are two ways of doing this:

  • Javascript. You could use JQuery to select the <li> that have <ul> children of class 'sub-menu', inserting content, or appending a CSS class which you then style. For example: $('.sub-menu').parent().addClass('myclass')

  • PHP, a new walker function. Copy the code from wp-includes/nav-menu-template.php (until approx line 109) into your themes functions.php to create a new walker. Pass this walker as an argument to your menu call. In the modified Walker insert a <span> for an arrow on a sub-menu level item.

    function start_lvl(&$output, $depth) {
        $indent = str_repeat("\t", $depth);
        $output .= "\n$indent<span class=\"right-arrow\">&rarr;</span><ul class=\"sub-menu\">\n";

    This will add a small arrow that you can then style just before the sub-menu list item.

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You can extend the menu walker, and add a "has_children" class on items that have sub-menus:

class My_Walker_Nav_Menu extends Walker_Nav_Menu{
  public function display_element($el, &$children, $max_depth, $depth = 0, $args, &$output){
    $id = $this->db_fields['id'];    

      $el->classes[] = 'has_children';    

    parent::display_element($el, $children, $max_depth, $depth, $args, $output);

and pass your instance of the class as argument in wp_nav_menu():

  'theme_location'  => 'whatever',
  'walker'          => new My_Walker_Nav_Menu(),

Then add your arrow with CSS, like Philip posted:

li.has_children > a:after { content: " →"; }
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One solution is to add a custom CSS class when you're creating/editing your menu in the admin. If you don't already see the CSS option box, go to screen options on the menu admin page and tick it.

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with css you can also use the content property, something like this must do the job,

#div-id ul li a:after { content: " →"; }
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