Building custom menus using the Sharepoint 2010 UI

As with anything else in Sharepoint,  planning is great place to start when you want to build out your own custom menu’s.  Whether you have a custom master page or you are using the out of the box Sharepoint Masterpages. You can customize the menus according to the site or site collection structure you want.  This can be donethrough the User Interface with absolutely no code.

Follow the following link to find your menu settings.

Site Actions>>Site Settings>>Navigation.

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(Please remember that the Navigation option will only be available if you have publishing enable under Manage Site Features (at a site and site collection level)

Just as an example we will use a site that consists of a site collection that will be the home to Excel Dashboards.

Excel Dashboards is an easy way to display live data in Sharepoint.  There are a few tricks you can use to make it not even look like an Excel Spreadsheet (which I will discuss in another blog post).

Once you have created your Excel Dashboards, upload them to a document library.

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Each Excel Dashboard should be in a document library of the site on which it will be displayed.  This ensures that when you view a dashboard, you will have a breadcrumb trail to be able to link back to the specific site you are on and not to another site if you choose to save all on one specific site.

Once you have opened the Navigation option under your Site Settings.  You can scroll down and delete all the current menu’s available.  If you are on a sub-site it is always a good idea to first create a link that links back to your main site.

Remember that you have two out of the box menus you can use.  One is your Top Navigation (Global Navigation) and the other your Left Navigation (Current Navigation) .

Both can have drop down menu’s . So it’s a good idea to plan these out on paper first to see what will work best.

You have 2 options to create a menu link.  The first is a Heading the second a Link.

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When creating drop down menus on your top navigation bar.  Start off with a Heading.  Then click on that heading and click on Add a Link.  The link will then be your drop down option.  It’s always a good idea not to make the Heading a link, but to start off with your first link on your drop down menu.

To create a link to a dashboard that will display on a full screen.  You can copy the shortcut of the document first. You can do this by right clicking on the document and click “copy shortcut”. Then return to your Navigation and click Add a Link once you selected your relevant Heading.  You can give it a name such as “Sales Dashboard” and then paste the link in the URL field. Then press ok.

To create links to other sites or to pages, you can click the Browse button next to the URL field and then select a page or site.

Once done with your changes, remember to always press “OK” at the top or bottom of the Navigation screen, else your changes will not be saved.

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 Happy menu building!

Blog post by Amanda

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