I want to change my page template automatically when someone selects a specific post parent.

I have the code to update the template but couldn't find anything for detection of post parent attribute changes. Can you help?

  • 2
    You mean... when someone changes the page parent in page editor (inside wp-admin)? Jun 28, 2013 at 10:56
  • Check this and the signaled duplicate.
    – brasofilo
    Jun 29, 2013 at 14:20

2 Answers 2


This is how you do it...

function update_post_template($post_id, $post){

    //set $post_parent_id however you wish  

    if ($post->post_parent == $post_parent_id) {

        //unhook save_post action to avoid infinite loop
        remove_action('save_post', 'update_post_template'); 

        //change template
        update_post_meta( $post_id, '_wp_page_template', 'custom_template.php' );

        //re-hook save_post action
        add_action('save_post', 'update_post_template');


add_action('save_post', 'update_post_template', 10, 2);


To explain what is happening, first we hook onto the save_post action which is fired when inserting/updating a post. We then check for the existence of a certain post_parent id which is up to you to decide and determine which (you may want to extend this conditional statement to cover multiple cases). If we find a match, we unhook the save_post action to avoid creating an infinite loop when we call our update_post_meta function. Once the page template has been updated, we re-hook the save_post action and continue on our merry way.


Using MySQL you can do;

$result= $wpdb->get_row("select post_parent from wp_posts where ID=".$post->ID);

     //your logic
     //Do something else
  • 3
    I don't think it is answer for this question, or I misunderstood something. Nevetheless I'm pretty sure you should not write your SQL queries like that. Don't use hardcoded wp_posts (it depends on WP config). You should escape $post->ID in your query (you don't know what will be hidden in this value, and assuming it's always correct isn't very good idea). Jun 28, 2013 at 12:22

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