How to Configure Dynamic Navigation in SharePoint 2010 - dummies

How to Configure Dynamic Navigation in SharePoint 2010

The navigation options in a SharePoint 2010 publishing site allow you to manage both the top navigation and the site’s Quick Launch navigation in one page. SharePoint lets you manage the two major kinds of navigation found on most websites:

  • Primary navigation is what your site visitors use to reach the main areas in your site, no matter where they are in your site. It’s usually positioned somewhere in the top of the page and is consistent across every page in your site. SharePoint calls this your global navigation.

  • Contextual navigation is usually found in the body of the page, usually on the left or right, and is used to access the pages within each major area of your site. This navigation is considered contextual because the navigation items change depending on where the visitor is in the site. SharePoint calls this your current navigation.

SharePoint provides two navigation menus that correspond with your global and current navigation. The Top Link bar is the global navigation menu that’s usually present at the top of publishing pages. The Quick Launch menu provides the current navigation that appears along the left of most pages.

Both the Top Link bar and the Quick Launch menu are provided by the same navigation control — SharePoint’s AspMenu control. This is a very powerful control that has a lot of settings.

SharePoint’s publishing site assumes that you want your global and current navigation menus created dynamically based on your site hierarchy. Toward that end, configuring navigation in a publishing site requires two things:

  • A site hierarchy that matches your navigation requirements. In other words, you have subsites for the major items in your global navigation and pages for the items below. Any time you want to create a new grouping of pages in the navigation menu, you have to create a new subsite.

    This often leads to extensive nesting of sites. This is one reason that people start looking for alternative approaches to navigation.

  • The ability to think in terms of the current site you’re setting navigation options for, its parent site, its sibling sites, and any children sites that may exist. This can be extremely confusing to people, which is one reason why many people abandon dynamic navigation. It’s too hard to keep track of what’s happening where.