Introduction to site navigation

This topic introduces the site navigation elements that are part of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. Two types of navigation elements are available: those that can be customized by site owners and administrators and those that cannot be customized.

Customizable navigation elements

The two navigation elements that can be customized by site owners are the Quick Launch and the top link bar.

Quick Launch    The Quick Launch is displayed on the side of most user-facing pages directly below the View All Site Content link. You can use the Quick Launch to display section headings and links to different areas of your site in a logical manner. Neither the Quick Launch nor the View All Site Content link is displayed on site administration pages, such as the Site Settings page and the pages on which site administrators create and edit lists, libraries, workspaces, and Web pages. For information about how to show or hide the Quick Launch, see Customize site navigation.

When a new site is created, the site owner can choose whether to list the site name on the Quick Launch of the parent site. If the site owner selects No for this option when the site is created, the owner of the parent site can add the site at a later time by using the Site Settings page. Administrators can customize the Quick Launch in the following ways:

  • Add a new link to a site either within the site collection or external to the site collection.

  • Delete a link.

  • Change the name and URL of an existing link.

  • Change the order of links within a heading.

  • Change the names and URLs of headings, delete headings, and create new headings.

  • Change the order of sections (that is, headings and their associated links) within the Quick Launch.

Note: You display and customize the Quick Launch on a site-by-site basis. Subsites do not inherit the settings that you choose for the Quick Launch from their parent site.

Tip: Because the Quick Launch is customizable, all lists and libraries for the site do not always appear in the Quick Launch. To ensure that all lists and libraries for a particular site can be viewed, use the View All Site Content link, which is described in the following section.

Top link bar    This navigation element appears as one or more hyperlinked tabs across the top of all pages on a site. Site owners can choose to display the top link bar of the parent site or display a unique top link bar for their subsite.

Noncustomizable navigation elements

View All Site Content    This navigation element appears as a link on the side of pages (except for site administration pages such as the Site Settings page), directly above the Quick Launch. You cannot customize or disable this link in the user interface. Users can click this link to go to the All Site Content page, which lists links to all lists, libraries, discussion boards, sites and workspaces, surveys, and the Recycle Bin for the site.

Only subsites that are direct children of the parent site are displayed on the All Site Content page. For example, in a site hierarchy where the parent site has three subsites and each of those subsites has additional subsites, the All Site Content page will display only the three subsites one level below the parent. To view the entire site hierarchy, you can use the tree view.

Tree view    Because this navigation element is similar to the tree view in Windows Explorer, it is a familiar navigation element for most Windows users. Objects shown in the tree view are displayed in a hierarchy view, as follows:

  • Subsites (if present)

  • Libraries

  • Lists

  • Discussions

  • Surveys

    Branches of the tree that contain other objects can be expanded to view those objects. For example, if your site hierarchy is such that the site you are viewing has a subsite that contains another subsite, you can expand the first subsite in the tree view and then go to its subsite. You can navigate down the tree view to the folder level.

    The tree view is not customizable (except by using a Web design program that is compatible with Windows SharePoint Services, such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007) and is not displayed by default. If you choose to display the tree view, it appears directly under the Quick Launch, above the Recycle Bin.

Content breadcrumb navigation    This navigation element provides a set of hyperlinks that enables site users to quickly navigate up the hierarchy of sites within a site collection. When you navigate down the site hierarchy, content breadcrumb navigation appears on the page to which you have navigated. Content breadcrumb navigation does not appear when you are on the home page of a site.

For example, if you navigate to the Tasks list on your site, open a folder named Task Folder 1, and then click an item called Task 1, the content breadcrumb navigation displays the following: Site name > Tasks > Task Folder 1 > Task 1. Because breadcrumb navigation is designed to help you quickly navigate up the hierarchy, "Task 1" will not be a hyperlink because you are already viewing that item, but all the other names in the breadcrumb are hyperlinked. You can click any of the links in the breadcrumb navigation to go to that part of the site.

Global breadcrumb navigation     This navigation element provides hyperlinks that you can use to link to different sites within your site collection. Global breadcrumb navigation is always visible and appears in the top corner of the page above the name of your site. The first link in global breadcrumb navigation is a link to the top-level site of the site collection. The first link is followed by links to the sites that have unique breadcrumb navigation above the point in the site hierarchy that is currently displayed. Links to sites that inherit their top link bar from their parent are not displayed in global breadcrumb navigation.

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