Introduction to site navigation

This topic introduces the site navigation elements that are available for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 sites. It also explains how navigation customization options differ between publishing sites and non-publishing sites. Two types of navigation elements are available: those that can be customized by site owners and administrators and those that cannot be customized.

Note: To manage navigation for a SharePoint site, you must have the Full Control or Design permission level for the site. You have one of these permission levels if you can access the Sites Settings page for the site and you see the Navigation command under Look and Feel (on non-publishing sites, you will see the Quick Launch and Top link bar commands under Look and Feel instead of Navigation).

In this article

Learn how navigation options differ between a publishing site and a non-publishing site

Determine what navigation customization options you have

Customizable navigation elements

Noncustomizable navigation elements

Learn how navigation options differ between a publishing site and a non-publishing site

Before you start to customize the navigation for your SharePoint site, you need to determine whether or not the publishing features available with Office SharePoint Server 2007 are enabled at the site collection level for the sites in your site collection. Certain site templates, such as the Publishing Site, or the News Site, have the publishing features enabled by default. However, the Office SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure can be activated or deactivated at the site collection level for any type of site template, so it is not possible to use the site template alone to determine whether publishing features are enabled. It is important to know whether or not your site is a publishing site because the navigation customization options for a publishing site are more extensive than those available for a non-publishing site.

Even if the publishing features are not enabled for your site, you can add, edit, remove, or reorder links on the Quick Launch and the top link bar.

If the publishing features are enabled for your site, you can customize the navigation for your site in the following additional ways:

  • Display subsites, pages, or other links on drop-down menus from the top link bar.

    Drop-down menu in top link bar displaying subsites of the current site

  • Specify whether to sort navigation links and headings automatically (in ascending or descending alphabetical or numeric order) or manually.

  • Configure which navigation items from the parent, current, and subsites that you want the Quick Launch to display.

  • Configure whether you want the top link bar to display items from the parent site or display subsites of the current site.

  • Hide subsites or pages on the Quick Launch and the top link bar.

  • Target navigation links to display only to members of a specific audience.

  • Add a Table of Contents Web Part to a page to display the navigation structure for your site.

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Determine what navigation customization options you have

Depending on which type of site you have, you will have different navigation settings options on the Site Settings page. Here's how you can quickly determine which type of site you are working with:

  1. On the Site Actions menu, point to Site Settings. If necessary, click Modify All Site Settings.

  2. Look at the list of links on the Site Settings page under Look and Feel.

    • If you see a link titled Navigation, then you are working with a publishing site and you can customize your site by using the Navigation Settings page.

    • If you see links titled Top link bar and Quick Launch, then you are working with a non-publishing site and you have a more limited set of navigation configuration options available to you.

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Customizable navigation elements

The navigation elements that site owners can customize are the Quick Launch, the top link bar, and the Table of Contents Web Part.

Quick Launch

The Quick Launch is displayed on the side of most 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 navigation links on the Quick Launch.

Quick launch navigation

Site owners 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 a link.

  • Change the order of links under 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.

On a publishing site, site owners can customize the Quick Launch in the following additional ways:

  • Configure whether you want the Quick Launch to display:

    • The same navigation items as the parent site

    • The navigation items for the current site, the navigation items below the current site, and the current site's siblings

    • The navigation items below the current site.

  • Specify whether to sort navigation links and headings automatically (in ascending or descending alphabetical or numeric order) or manually.

  • Hide links or headers for the Quick Launch.

  • Target navigation links on the Quick Launch to appear only to members of a specific audience.

Tip: Because the Quick Launch is customizable, all lists and libraries for the site do not always appear on 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. Site owners can add, remove, and reorder headings and links in the top link bar. Additionally, on a publishing site, site owners can specify whether to sort navigation items in the top link bar automatically or manually. They can also hide links or headers so that they do not display in the top link bar, or they can target links in the top link bar to display only to members of a specific audience. Site owners can also choose to have subsites or pages appear in drop-down menus from links in the top link bar. For more information about customizing the top link bar, see Customize the top link bar.

Drop-down menu in top link bar displaying subsites of the current site

Table of Contents Web Part

On a publishing site, site owners can add a Table of Contents Web Part to a page if they want to display a customized view of the navigation hierarchy of the site. Site owners can edit the Web Part to add or remove specific links and to customize the appearance of the links. For more information, see Use the Table of Contents Web Part to display navigation on a Web page.

The Table of Contents Web Part

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Noncustomizable navigation elements

Sites contain navigation elements that you cannot customize except by using a Web design program such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007.

View All Site Content

The View All Site Content link appears 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.

View All Site Content link

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 the tree view 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, starting with subsites.

Tree view navigation

Branches of the tree that contain other objects can be expanded to view those objects. For example, if 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 such as Office SharePoint Designer 2007) and is not displayed by default. If you choose to display the tree view in addition to the Quick Launch, it appears directly under the Quick Launch, above the Recycle Bin. You can also display the tree view instead of the Quick Launch.

Content breadcrumb navigation

The content breadcrumb navigation is 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, the 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 hyperlinks. You can click any of the links in the breadcrumb navigation to go to that part of the site.

Content breadcrumb navigation

Global breadcrumb navigation

The global breadcrumb navigation is a set of hyperlinks that you can use to navigate to different sites within your site collection. The 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 the global breadcrumb navigation goes to the top-level site in the site collection. The other links go to the sites that have unique breadcrumb navigation and that are above the site you are on. The global breadcrumb navigation does not display links to sites that inherit the top link bar from their parent site.

Global breadcrumb navigation for a SharePoint site

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