I have built a custom menu in Wordpress that contains links to posts and pages. I am adding it to my header using this line of code:


        'theme_location' => 'primary', 
        'depth'          => 0, 
        'menu_class'     => 'nav-menu',


My problem is, if I add a child page to the top level ones on the menu, they don't automatically appear as sublinks on the nav. I know I can create them manually each time by rebuilding the menu, but I would like to be able to just add a child page in the pages section and have it show up in the nav without having to go to the menu and build it there also, if that makes sense?

I've tried using depth => 0, but that didn't work. Is there a way to have child pages show up without having to build it into the custom menu?

  • The only way I know is when your custom menu is empty, WordPress will fill it with all existing pages. Once you start adding pages inside it, it won't continue automatically. Commented May 27, 2013 at 5:22
  • It looks like you've got a problem with configuring a software-component. Please contact the vendor of that component for your support options, this website here is about concrete programming questions, not how to use a vendor-specific API.
    – hakre
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 6:40
  • Thanks for migrating Toscho - I didn't know this forum existed.
    – Desmond
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 0:59
  • code for menu with sub-menu from pages and child pages.It MAY help you build your menu from child pages and child pages pragmatically.
    – Core
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 6:37

1 Answer 1


here is how:

* auto_child_page_menu
* class to add top level page menu items all child pages on the fly
* @author Ohad Raz <[email protected]>
class auto_child_page_menu
     * class constructor
     * @author Ohad Raz <[email protected]>
     * @param   array $args 
     * @return  void
    function __construct($args = array()){
     * the magic function that adds the child pages
     * @author Ohad Raz <[email protected]>
     * @param  array $items 
     * @return array 
    function on_the_fly($items) {
        global $post;
        $tmp = array();
        foreach ($items as $key => $i) {
            $tmp[] = $i;
            //if not page move on
            if ($i->object != 'page'){
            $page = get_post($i->object_id);
            //if not parent page move on
            if (!isset($page->post_parent) || $page->post_parent != 0) {
            $children = get_pages( array('child_of' => $i->object_id) );
            foreach ((array)$children as $c) {
                //set parent menu
                $c->menu_item_parent      = $i->ID;
                $c->object_id             = $c->ID;
                $c->object                = 'page';
                $c->type                  = 'post_type';
                $c->type_label            = 'Page';
                $c->url                   = get_permalink( $c->ID);
                $c->title                 = $c->post_title;
                $c->target                = '';
                $c->attr_title            = '';
                $c->description           = '';
                $c->classes               = array('','menu-item','menu-item-type-post_type','menu-item-object-page');
                $c->xfn                   = '';
                $c->current               = ($post->ID == $c->ID)? true: false;
                $c->current_item_ancestor = ($post->ID == $c->post_parent)? true: false; //probbably not right
                $c->current_item_parent   = ($post->ID == $c->post_parent)? true: false;
                $tmp[] = $c;
        return $tmp;
new auto_child_page_menu();
  • That works perfectly, thanks so much for your help Bainternet! Much appreciated.
    – Desmond
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 11:13
  • Sorry for asking that but, how should I use this? paste it in functions.php and call it from the place where menu suppose to go?
    – 1GR3
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 16:14
  • I'm with @1GR3, how do we use this?
    – Spedwards
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 5:16
  • Yeah, simply add this to the functions.php file and press save!
    – David Shaw
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 15:10
  • Good effort, but this DOES NOT WORK! It adds ALL the child pages under the top level parent as they would be 1st level children. The 2nd and 3rd level child pages are also added under top level parent. Totally messed up my navigation.
    – Joe Bloggs
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 1:33

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