Auto Submenu


The default custom menu in WordPress only allows checking the “Automatically add new top-level pages” (Appearance > Menus) or adding a Navigation block with all pages and all child pages (Appearance > Editor).

With Auto Submenu you get extra functionality to automatically include child pages into the menu.

NEW: ASM now provides support for the Customizer via Appearance > Customize
NEW: ASM now provides support for Full Site Editing with the Gutenberg Block Editor via Appearance > Editor

Using it

Enable the plugin and go to Appearance > Editor.

For each Page in your menu, you now have the following extra configuration options:

  • Add child pages as submenu y/n;
  • child pages are ordered ascending by Menu Order;
  • specify the (maximum) nesting depth of children you want to show (max 3);
  • specify the title for the child pages. For this you can use %post_title, %post_author and other wildcards, see ‘Other Notes > Wildcards’. Default value: %post_title

Via Appearance > Menus and Appearance > Customize you also get the following option:

  • Check the “Automatically add new top-level and all its child pages to this menu (Auto Submenu)”-checkbox.
  • If this option is checked, all top-level pages will automatically be added and will automatically have all child pages added as submenu.

With the Free version you cannot control the nesting depth of the child pages, all subpages are added, regardless the depth of the page tree.


You can control the title of the menu items generated by the plug-in with the following wildcards:

  • %post_title
  • %post_author
  • %post_date for the unformatted post date: 2012-11-10 18:14:23
  • %post_date() for a formatted post date with the following default formatting: November 10th, 2012
  • %post_date(<your formatting here>) for custom date formatting. Example: %post_date(l jS \of F Y, h:i:s A). See for formatting options.
  • %post_date_gmt
  • %post_date_gmt()
  • %post_date_gmt(<your formatting here>)


  • Go to Appearance > Menu to automatically add top level and all its child pages to the menu when publishing a page.
  • Go to Appearance > Customize to automatically add top level and all its child pages to the menu when publishing a page.
  • Go to Appearance > Editor to enable/disable and set the options for adding child pages to each top level page in your menu.


This plugin provides 1 block.

  • ASM Navigation Link Extension


  1. Go to plugins in your dashboard and select “Add New”
  2. Search for “Auto Submenu”
  3. Install and Activate the plugin


How do I use it?

Here’s a walkthrough:

  1. Create a page with title “Page 1”
  2. Save the page
  3. Create a child page with title “Child Page 1” and parent “Page 1”
  4. Save the child page
  5. Go to Appearances > Menus (or via Appearance > Customize or Appearance > Editor, in WordPress 5.4 or higher)
  6. Add your page named “Page 1”
  7. Open the menu item and check “Automatically create submenu with child pages”
  8. Save the menu

If you now look at your website, “Page 1” has a submenu with “Child Page 1” below it. Add additional child page and you will automatically see these additional child pages in the menu.

Missing CSS classes

The CSS class ‘current-post-ancestor’ is not applied correctly. This is a bug in WordPress that I have reported here: This is not something I am able to fix in the plugin, it has to be fixed in WordPress. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Performance issues

The plugin is potentially very expensive, especially when you have a lot of pages and child pages.

The solution would be to cache the menu using transients, as reported here

$my_cached_menu = get_transient( ‘my_cached_menu’);

if( $my_cached_menu === false )


$my_cached_menu = wp_nav_menu( … );

set_transient( “my_cached_menu_”, $my_cached_menu, YEAR_IN_SECONDS );


echo $my_cached_menu;

Can’t see it working in any way

Problem: “I can’t see what effect it has had. Nothing has changed (not that I can see) in the Appearance > Menu/Customize/Editor pages. It’s just like before.”

If you are using a recent version of Auto Submenu and an updated version of WordPress, the problem can only occur due to your theme or other plugins conflicting with Auto Submenu. Please disable all themes and plugins except ASM; verify that the ASM fields show; enable other plugins and themes one by one to determine which plugin/theme conflicts with ASM.

Note: A theme must either call wp_nav_menu() or apply_filters( ‘wp_nav_menu_objects’, … ) for ASM to be triggered.

Does not work for scheduled pages

Automatically adding future dated child pages doesn’t work due to what appears to be a bug in the WordPress core. Future dated top-level pages don’t seem to get added to custom menus either.


November 3, 2023
Appreciate the dev to have developed something like this but it’s amazing how in 2023, wordpress cannot resolve URL like every other cms. Wow, just wow.
August 30, 2023
Simple solution for a simple problem. Works like a champ without apply any additional settings.
September 3, 2016
This work simple and perfect. for me as a beginner with wordpress Thanks
September 3, 2016
An excellent tool, thank you! Flaws: 1. Needs better explanation on how to implement – getting started might seem intuitive to some, others (like myself) have to figure out how to start a new menu’s “child” hierarchy correctly; 2. When adding new pages, MUST get it right first try; if you forget to make the new page a child (using “PARENT” drop-down), you cannot go back after and correct – the auto-add menu feature won’t see it; have to redo /clone the page and get it right this time;
September 3, 2016
With or without that other box ticked, and with Setting Parent correct, it doesn’t appear in the menu.
December 23, 2016
Sadly not working. Let me know if its gonna be compatible with my version(4.4.2) !
Read all 24 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Auto Submenu” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


Translate “Auto Submenu” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.



  • Confirmed compatibility with WordPress 6.6


Bugfix: Plugin moved page to the bottom of the submenu.


Now provides support editing via the Customizer.
Now provides support for Full Site Editing with the Gutenberg Block Editor.


  • Confirmed compatibility with WordPress 6.4


Plugin has been split into a Free and a Premium version. The Free version functionality is unchanged. Premium version has extended functionality.


  • Confirmed compatibility with WordPress 6.3
  • If the page is moved under a different parent, also move it in the menu.


  • Added support for multiple menus.


  • First release.