I'd like to have a menu show as expanded regardless of whether it is checked or not in the UI (or always checked when a new menu item is created by a user)

I have been looking at hook_menu_links_discovered_alter


expanded: (optional) If set to TRUE, and if a menu link is provided for this menu item (as a result of other properties), then the menu link is always expanded, equivalent to its 'always expanded' checkbox being set in the UI.

How could I implement this?

  • Menu Block will solve this in 2 seconds. It will force all children to be expanded for every menu you configure for it.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 19:05
  • Good chance we'll have this as an adjustable option in D8.5 drupal.org/node/2594425
    – leymannx
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 17:35

3 Answers 3


If you are placing the menu in a block for display, check out the Menu Block module https://www.drupal.org/project/menu_block it has an option to expand all menu links.

  • This is the easiest way to do it, and Menu Block gives you more options as to how to display the menu and make theming much easier.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 1:41

If this is for a custom module:

1) Make a file called [modulename].links.menu.yml

2) add information about the link to the file, for example:

title: 'View 1'
parent: main
menu_name: main
route_name: [modulename].route1
expanded: TRUE
weight: 2

title: 'View 2'
description: 'View the second'
parent: [modulename].menulink1
route_name: [modulename].route2
menu_name: main
weight: 2

title: 'View 3'
description: 'View the Third'
parent: [modulename].menulink1
route_name: [modulename].route3
menu_name: main
weight: 3

3) Refresh the cache. As long as the routes are defined in your [modulename].routing.yml file, the menu will appear in the main menu block, and the parent menu will be auto-expanded.


Quick solution to expand the entire menu, you can do this with drush or phpmyadmin:

First get the machine-name of the menu you want to set expanded. To see a quick list use this query in phpmyadmin:

//In Phpmyadmin:
SELECT DISTINCT menu_name FROM menu_tree;

//with Drush: 
drush sqlq "SELECT DISTINCT menu_name FROM menu_tree;"

Once you know the machine name you can use this query to convert the entire menu to expanded:

//in Phpmyadmin:
UPDATE menu_tree SET expanded='1' WHERE menu_name='replace_menu_name_from_previous_query';

//with Drush:
drush sqlq "UPDATE menu_tree SET expanded='1' WHERE menu_name='replace_menu_name_from_previous_query';"

Afterwards it might be necessary to clear the caches.

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