How to add class to link in wp_nav_menu?

Taking a hint from this answer which I found was the most concise about adding classes to the list items of the menus, I used nav_menu_link_attributes filter which does work well for adding classes.

In your functions.php, add:

function add_menu_link_class( $atts, $item, $args ) {
  if (property_exists($args, 'link_class')) {
    $atts['class'] = $args->link_class;
  return $atts;
add_filter( 'nav_menu_link_attributes', 'add_menu_link_class', 1, 3 );

Optionally, you may want to add the option to add classes to list items:

function add_menu_list_item_class($classes, $item, $args) {
  if (property_exists($args, 'list_item_class')) {
      $classes[] = $args->list_item_class;
  return $classes;
add_filter('nav_menu_css_class', 'add_menu_list_item_class', 1, 3);

Now, in your template, to build a menu you just add two new arguments, e.g.:

    'theme_location'=> 'primary_navigation',
    'menu_class'    => 'navbar-nav ml-auto flex-nowrap',
    'list_item_class'  => 'nav-item',
    'link_class'   => 'nav-link m-2 menu-item nav-active'

Works well with themes with multiple menus which have different appearance.

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