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So, the problem is simple: I have a front page with featured articles blog with articles of different categories, let's say "Cat1", "Cat2", etc... (Cat1 has ID=9) SEF is on.

An article with ID=99 has URL of following format: wwww.mysite.com/9-cat1/99-my-article

If I create menu item Category list of Cat1 this article URL is changed automatically to wwww.mysite.com/menu-item/99-my-article

Is there any way of preserving former URL format site/category/article instead of site/menu/article ?

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No, this is how Joomla's sef system works. If you were to make a menu item to an article, that too would lose its item id from the url.

I think your only option would either be to override the router or use a sef plugin like sh404sef or Mijosef.

The only other thing I can think of is to actually make the category menu item alias 9-cat1 but obviously if someone just clicks the menu item, they'd be at wwww.mysite.com/9-cat1/ not wwww.mysite.com/menu-item (like your example).

Hope that helps.

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    The URLs not being consistent after a menu change is 75%+ of the benefit of having sh404SEF. I use it for other things, of course, but the consistent urls are the most important thing. – Toni Marie Nov 6 '14 at 4:25
  • Thank you. I ended with a different approach - using Archived Articles module, which was my original intention. Now I have other problems with Archived due to some articles has End Date for publishing, which prevents them from showing in the Archive module. Btw, I've read about using hidden menu item, which could help in sorting URL. – pl71 Nov 6 '14 at 9:59

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