Site navigation overview (SharePoint Foundation 2010)
Published: May 12, 2010
Site navigation provides the primary interface for site users to move around on the sites and pages on your site. Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 includes a set of customizable and extensible navigation features that help orient users of your site so they can move around on its sites and pages. This article describes the navigation controls that are available in SharePoint Foundation 2010. It does not explain how to add navigation controls to Web pages, how to configure navigation controls, or how to create custom navigation controls.
In this article:
Navigation controls overview
Navigation controls can be displayed on master pages, and—by using Web Part zones—directly in a page's content.
SharePoint Foundation 2010 bases its navigation model on the hierarchical structure of the site collection. By using the navigation features, you can link to the following:
Sites below the current site
A site's peer sites
Sites higher in the site structure
Web pages in a site
Additionally, you can create links to arbitrary locations, such as to an external Web site.
Navigation links in SharePoint Foundation 2010 are security-sensitive. If a site user does not have permissions to a SharePoint Foundation 2010 site or page that is linked from the site navigation, the user cannot see the link. Other content which has had links manually added to the navigation are still visible to users.
SharePoint Foundation 2010 navigation is based on the ASP.NET features in the .NET Framework version 3.5, which you can use to customize the following:
The site map provider.
The data source, which anchors and filters the structure that is provided by the site map provider.
The menus, which control the visual appearance of the navigation elements and how deep a hierarchy to display.
Navigation controls on master pages
A master page defines the outer frame of the Web pages in a site. Master pages contain the elements that you want all pages in your site to share, such as branding information; common commands, such as Search; and navigation elements that you want to be available throughout the site. This includes top link bar navigation, and Quick Launch navigation.
Master pages also provide the menu style of the navigation controls. You can configure master-page menu style by using Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.
Top link bar navigation
The top link bar is a navigation menu which typically links to the sites that are one level below the current site in a site hierarchy. It is common for the top link bar to appear at the top of each page in a site. By default, all sites that are one level below the current site are added to the top link bar, and each site has its own unique top link bar for navigation. Site administrators can customize the navigation for a specific site by removing a site from the top link bar. They can also configure the top link bar so that only the home page link is shown and no other sites in the site hierarchy are displayed.
Site administrators can choose to inherit the top link bar from the parent site. This approach allows users to switch from one site to another from anywhere within the site collection, by allowing the top link bar to stay the same in all the sites in the site collection. For example, an Internet site that is used to market an organization's products could have a site for each line of its products. By displaying each product's site in the top link bar of each site, site designers can make it possible for users to easily switch from one site to another without having to return to the site home page.
Other top link bar configuration features include the following:
Linking to specified external sites.
Linking to specified sites or pages that are anywhere in the site.
Manually sorting the items on the top link bar.
All top link bar features, such as linking to external, can be defined uniquely for each site.
By using SharePoint Designer 2010 or Visual Studio 2010, you can additionally customize the appearance and functionality of the top link bar. For example, you can do the following:
Customize the cascading style sheets to change the appearance of the top link bar.
Modify the data source, for example to decrease the number of sites that are displayed in the top link bar.
Quick Launch navigation
The Quick Launch navigation typically highlights the important content in the current site, such as lists and libraries. It is common for Quick Launch navigation to appear on the left of each page in a site.
Quick Launch navigation configuration features include the following:
Linking to specific external sites or to pages in the current site.
Organizing links under headings.
Manually sorting the items in the Quick Launch navigation.
Just as you customize the top link bar, you can also customize the appearance and functionality of Quick Launch navigation by using SharePoint Designer 2010 or Visual Studio 2010.
Breadcrumb navigation displays a dynamically generated set of links at the top of Web pages, to show users their current position in the site hierarchy. By using SharePoint Designer 2010 or Visual Studio 2010, you can configure the breadcrumb navigation control. For example, you can specify a custom navigation provider.
Tree view navigation
Tree view navigation displays site content, such as lists, libraries, and sites that are below the current site, in a hierarchical structure. It is common for tree view navigation to appear on the left of each page in a site.
By default, tree view navigation is turned off. Site administrators can add tree view navigation to a site by using the Tree View page. To enable tree view, in Site Actions click Site Settings, in the Look and Feel area, click Tree view, and then select the Enable Tree View check box.