SharePoint Tip: How to Activate the Drop Down Menu in MOSS Sites

MOSS 2007 sites can display drop down menus in the tabbed navigation across the top. Unfortunately there is not an easy check box to activate this functionality, instead things just have to be set up the right way. If you want your MOSS site to show drop down menus, make sure the following is true or walk through the following steps:

  1. From the root of the parent site (Home) choose to create a new site (Site 1). Once that site is created, you will be in that new site. From here choose to create a new page.
  2. Once that is created, choose to create another new site (Sub Site 1). Then create a new page in Sub Site 1.
  3. Your site structure should resemble this, see structure.
  4. For each site in the Navigation settings, both Show Subsites and Show Pages should be checked.
    • Select Site ActionsSite SettingsModify Navigation.
    • Check Show subsites and Show pages in the first row. See sample.
  5. The end result would be a tab in the horizontal bar for Site 1, with a vertical drop showing Sub Site 1. See sample.

The navigation shows sub sites under the parent and published pages at the parent. Pages for one site are stored flat in a single library. If you want the navigation to show 2nd level sub site pages or 3rd level sub sites under the 2nd level, you need to make a very minor tweak to the master page that the site is using.

  1. Using SharePoint Designer (SPD), open the master page being used by the site. Warning! Making edits to this file will customize the file, a.k.a. unghost it. Don’t worry you can always undo this action.
    • In SPD, navigate to _catalogs/masterpage/*.master
    • How do you know which master the site is using? In the site, go to Site Actions Site Settings Modify All Settings, then choose Master page under the Look and Feel column. Check which master page is selected in each drop down.
  2. In the master page file, search for SharePoint:AspMenu.
    • You will more than likely have more than one instance of a menu control. Look at the IDs to find the right navigation control for what you want to edit. They are intelligently named, you will be able to sort out which one you need. For default.master, look for ID=”TopNavigationMenu”.
  3. In the properties for the tag, find MaximumDynamicDisplayLevels=”1″. Change the number from 1 to 2.
  4. Save the file and publish the master page (do this from SPD, Manage Content and Structure, or the Master Page Gallery).
  5. Refresh your browser. Now when you mouse over Site 1 – Sub Site 1, you should see another level of navigation pop up. See sample.

Cool, ehh? Please don’t abuse this dynamic display level. As tempting as it is to provide instant access to something 5 levels deep in your site, drop down menus notoriously aggravate end users. I highly recommend using no more than 2 levels (what we set in this walk through).

61 thoughts on “SharePoint Tip: How to Activate the Drop Down Menu in MOSS Sites”

  1. Hey nice tutorial… I did have a question… I am not using a top nvaigation like you are in your example… I am using the left navigation… When I go into the master page and change the MaximumDynamicDisplayLevels to 1, 2 ,3 ,4 ,5 … doesnt matter … it only ever shows me 1 level. I need 2 levels …. But I cannot seem to get it to work… Do you have any idea??Thanks,Steve

  2. Hi Heather,Great Article, but for some reason I am not able to display more than one level of menu to users Here is what I did.1. Edited the Master Page to set the MaximumDynamicDisplayLevels=”2″ . I logged in as Admin.Created site –> subsite –> Subsite and menu shows fine.Logged out and logged in as regular userI can only see Site –> Subsite menu.Is There something else I should change? When I add myself as Sitecollection Admin then I can see all the menu.I appreciate your help– Rk

  3. Hi Heather,Great article, but for some reason it does not display for users, I mean for read only users, when I add one of ther users as sitecollection admin then the menu is visible(more then 1 level) else it only displays 1 level,Any help would be greatly appreciated.Thanks–RK

  4. Thanks for the post..Although I tried it and it didn’t work..I know your process does work however, I have seen it done before.Any ideas why it wouldn’t work?

  5. Very thorough article Heather. I’d also like to point your visitors to a post on SharePoint BuzzHow To Customize QuickLaunchMenu

  6. How do you create a navigation that you show in your “see sample” images. I am a newbie and was trying to follow the steps but i dont get that navigation appeared in my portal as you have shown. how do i do that? can you elaborate a bit more.thanks

  7. Heather -Have you run into this problem with the menu control? If the mouse pointer happens to be hovering over a menu item that exposes a fly-out as the page is loading, it is possible that an error dialog will appear stating: “Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site, Operation aborted” and a blank page will be shown upon clicking OK.

  8. Hi Heather,Thanks for the ‘How-to’ I have menus 2 levels, but the second level isn’t lining up with the first menus line & below .. it’s showing up in the middle.Any ideas on how to change where the second level menu appears?ie it’s appearing like this … Menu A.1Menu A — Menu A.2Menu B Menu A.3Menu CThanks in advance,Loreeta

  9. Hi Heather,There is no Navigation option under Site Settings here, instead, there is a “Top Link Bar” option, but this is not able to allow drop down menu. How could I active the drop down menu in my case?Thanks,

  10. Hi Heather,do you know of any way that this functionality can be replicated using navigation headers – OR – is there a way to target the default tabs at audiences so that only tabs that are targeted at the end user will be visible by that user?thanks,KP

  11. Hello Heather,Thank you for the great walk-through. I do have the same problem as Raj mentioned: as admin I do see the fly out, but all other users cannot see it.Rgds

  12. This article was very helpful. I am currently building a state-wide Intranet for CalFire leveraging WSS 3.0 as much as possible.The multi-tier menu is working for me thus far, though I have not tried it as a “read only” user as people mentioned above.I have a few issues I wanted to ask you about:1. When I go to Site Settings for the main site or any subsites, there is no “Modify Navigation” nor is there “Modify All Settings” directly under the Site Actions -> Site Settings drop down. Is this because I used “Blank Site” templates?2. When I select a subsite, it inherits the top navigation links as it should, yet it does not build the multi-tier menu system. I have heard this is because the subsite pages inherit a fresh unghosted copy of “default.master”. I would like to synchronize all subsites to use the “default.master” of the top level site. Any idea of how to do this?3. A small issue, when using “SiteMapProvider” rather than the original “NavigationProvider” in default.master, it changes the node “HOME” text to the name of the Site or perhaps the “Application Name”, I am not sure since they are the same in my example… so for instance, you click on the top-level page, and “Home” becomes “CalFire Intranet”.Thank you for the time and consideration. You can contact me via email if you have any time.

  13. To those of you having trouble getting this working, check these three things:- Make sure that you have checked “Show subsites” in the Navigation Settings- In default.master, when not modified after installation, there are two menu objects: “QuickLaunchMenu” and “TopNavigationMenu”. Make sure you make changes on the correct one, which is “TopNavigationMenu”- When you have made the change and saved the master page, make sure you also publish it! Otherwise, only you will see the changes, and no one else.

  14. Heather, Your article has been great except I can only select the “Show Subsites” check box. The “Show Pages” check boxe is greyed out. Do you have any ideas on why this is happening?ThanksRich

  15. I also do not see Navigation under Site Settings. I have sections labeled Users and Permissions, Look and Feel, Galleries, Site Administration and Site Collection Administration. Any thoughts on why?

  16. found it! – Navigation can be enabled under Site Settings/Site Collection Admin/Site collection features – Activate Office Sharepoint Server Publishing Infrastructure.But, the Show Pages check box is disabled. Any thoughts as to why?

  17. Dear Heather,Is there a possibility to display only the first level of global navigation and only the second level of current navigation? and just the items under the map of global navigation where you click on? I have been searching for this for ages!Greetings

  18. Have anyone try creating their own navigation control reading from a list? I am trying to create my own custom navigation control using the menu control and reading it from a list. The problem I am having is that when I select a menu item, it does not recognize that it should be in the selected style.

  19. Hi,To view the Navigation Option. goto the following linkhttp://<your site url>/_layouts/AreaNavigationSettings.aspx

  20. Thanks Heather – your site helped me get to this point very quickly – however …My client wants the second level of nav to be horizontal and show up under the top row of links on rollover — is there a quick property cahnge to make it do this – or will I need a custom control?

  21. Thanks for all the useful articles and tips.I am building a Publishing site in MOSS and was wondering if you have any tips for an issue I’m facing.I need each section of my top nav menu to be styled differently (i.e. different bg colors). Since by default the top nav is in one AspMenu this doesn’t seem possible out of the box. Do I need to create a separate AspMenu for each section? If so is there an easy way to still use the PortalSiteMapDataSource and have the items displayed in the appropriate sections?

  22. Hi Heather,I am new to sharepoint development. I was able to create flyout menus for my application which works fine. I am facing a small issue with it. I want to highlight the level 1 menu item when user transverse to its child menus i.e. level 2. This will help user to understand which is the parent menu/level 1 menu for the child menu/level 2 menu there are looking.It will be really helpful to get any help/information for adding this behaviour. I am struggling to get a solution for this from last so many days.Thanks,Sandy

  23. to view the navigation pane …Go to Site Settings –> Site Collection Features and Activate the publishing infrastructure service….u would be able to see the “Navigation” link in the site settings page

  24. Hi,I have the same problem as raj.When i log in as an admin i am able to see the menus and submenmus but when a member or a viewer logs in the the arrow and the pop out menu don’t appear.It would be really helpful if i get a solution to this.Thanks,Meghna

  25. Hi Heather ! I checked the Show subsites and Show Pages option in Navigation option under Look and Feel.But sub sites are not displayed what is the problem…….Help me……and i also did Open Site Actions -> Site Settings -> Modify All Site Settings -> Page Layouts and Site Templates under Look and Feel Selected the option Subsites can use any site template but no use ………plz help me……. Thanks Janardhan.K

  26. My thanks to you Heather! This post was a great learning post and you walked me through the steps beautifully!For those of you that are having a problem with it not showing, did you check the master page back in? Did you approve the master page? I had checked the page back in but when I went in to check that all my pages were published and approved, I noticed my master page was still pending. Once I approved it, voila!Good luck and thanks again!!

  27. Thanks Heather, very helpful article. One of the projects I am working on is a Knhowledge Base in MOSS 2007 for my organisation. I am using publishing pages to serve the information so it has a bit more of a website look to it. All the pages are in one pages library yet I only want to show certain pages in the drop down menu?e.g. each department has a “home” page, and all the other pages effectively fall under one of the department pages. I would likw only to show the department pages in the drop down menu, how can I do this? Thanks in advance for your helpSam

  28. Hi HeatherI want to create a sub header in the global navigation area. eg. I have a heading called faculties which list all the sub-sites. I also want to create a sub-header under faculties (faculties > Faculty Admins > list of external sites) which will list external sites.In summary here’s what I want:>Faculty list of sub sites sub header (Faculty Admins) > external sitesAnand

  29. I have created custom top nav tabs by adding heading and links in the navigation options. when I am on my top level page (welcome page) of my portal the drop down flyouts do not work. However, if I click on the tab heading (for example accounting) it takes me to that team page (sub-site of top site) and then all the drop downs work, as do they on all sub-sites. why do they not work on my top level page / site?? I know they will because I have another Portal site (same version-2007-sp1) and they work fine, and I have compared all settings between the two outside of actual code. Help!!

  30. Heather, the team I am oon is in the process of branding our clients intranet and due to the provided design I was forced to alter the both the text of the Site Actions menu and the location of the divs that contain both the text and the arrow. Once the changes were saved and the page, I am using for testing, was refreshed, the flyout menu for the site actions menu started opening up over top of the site actions section instead of below it. I have tried to force the SPAN that the menu appears in to be below the containing div. By the way we placed the ‘SharePoint:SiteActions’ inside of a div with a class of siteAction. my css style looks like this ….siteAction span { position:static; top:100px; left:30px;}The position points were chosen so as to hopefully see som eadjustment in the flyout menu. unfortunately nothing happened. The menu continues to open up over the Site Actions menu.Here are the enire list of styles I am applying against the div containing the ‘SharePoint:SiteActions’/* Site Actions *//* controlling location of site action menu */.siteAction { position:absolute; height:25px; width:130px; top:65px; right:35px; background-color:#6E7A2A;}/* controlling location of site action anchor*/.siteAction div div span div a { color:#FFFFFF; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:0.9em; text-decoration:none; position:absolute; top:5px; left:5px;}/* controlling location of site action arrow */.siteAction div div span div img { position:absolute; top:7px; left:80px;}/* controlling anchor, on hover, for site action *//* stops text from changing when link if hovered over */.siteAction div div span div a:hover { color:#FFFFFF; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:0.9em; text-decoration:none;}/* trying to control the location of the flyout menu */.siteAction span { position:static; top:1000px; left:600px; visibility:visible;}/* controlling the location of the span containing the text and image for site actions */.siteAction div div span { position:absolute; top:0px; left:10px;}The styles appear in this order. Any ideas as to why the flyout menu opens over the site actions menu and not below it?

  31. Hi Raj,I believe I can answer your question. When a Master Page has been modified, it needs to be checked in and published to allow other users to see the updated version.Regards,Jacques Murray

  32. I am trying to customize the QuickLaunch Menu , meaning I change the following setting in the Quicklaunch ASP menu :1. set the staticdisplaylevels property value of the menu control =12. set te the MaximnDynamicDisplayLvels Property value of the menu control to 1this changes brings back the way I wanted, Ie collapsed view with flyout menus or submenus.But the problem I am facing I am not able the see the full text of the sbmenus rather its getting truncated.Could you tell where I am doing wrongBTW I am using the “block_lay4_blue.master” and it can downloaded from the microsoft site help would be highly apprecicated.Danya

  33. I am trying to customize my WSS 3.0.I can get the dynamic drop down menus to appear. And with a regular theme applied everything works great. However if I try to apply one of MS sample Master pages the dropdowns start appearing underneath the web parts in the middle webpart zone and cannot be read.Any ideas?

  34. Hi , i have strange problem in Modify navigation page “AreaNavigationSetting.aspx”I have added 50+ pages after a certain among of pages the area navigation dont show new pages there. Can you suggest me what to check for.

  35. Got this working after several tries… One problem, though. When i create a new site and add a sub site to it then the flyout menu works, I already had an exsisting site with a sub site that I attached to the default.master page and set all the setting correctly as well as activating the publishing feature on the siite (orig created as a team site) Did some add’l muddling to make it work with team sites (see My problem is that the existing site and its subsite doesn’t appear as a flyout, but the new site I created (after the master page edit) works like a charm.Any ideas…Chris

  36. Has anyone figured out how to get the menus to remember where they are. Also, another issue I have is getting the sort order changed. I can change the sort order in the settings but it has no affect on the menu after you change the source.Thanks,Spencer

  37. I have the same problem as Sandeep, is there any solution for this?Thanks”SandeepPosted @ 3/12/2008 8:12 AMHi Heather,I am new to sharepoint development. I was able to create flyout menus for my application which works fine. I am facing a small issue with it. I want to highlight the level 1 menu item when user transverse to its child menus i.e. level 2. This will help user to understand which is the parent menu/level 1 menu for the child menu/level 2 menu there are looking.It will be really helpful to get any help/information for adding this behaviour. I am struggling to get a solution for this from last so many days.Thanks,Sandy”

  38. Hi, We are getting drop down menus for sites and subsites only. Is it possible to create a fly-over menu for docuement library and pics library etc….Thanks,P.Venkateswara Rao.

  39. I get the following error when I tried to change the 1 to a 2 on the default.master page: An error occurred during the processing of . The resource object with key ‘treeview_hea?er’ was not found. I need some serious help on this, I appreciate any help anyone might be able to provide.

  40. Hi,Does anyone have a solution to get Show Pages from being greyed out? Show Subsites is available to be checked.Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  41. Hello and help?Under Site Settings there is no “Modify Navigation”. (WFT.MS?)There is no page at http://<your site url>/_layouts/AreaNavigationSettings.aspx (for any level of the site).And, from Designer, when I try to publish the Master page I get the wonderful message (pop up) “The local and remote webs cannot be in the same location. Please enter a new location”. Anybody want me to save my master to your site instead of mine? And then you can return the favor! Why would I want to publish it anywhere else?!I always choose to edit the master page in Designer from the site, and then when I save the master, and refresh the site in the browser, the changes appear. It’s be so much easier in VS!I’m happy for everyone (practically exuberant!) who magically and mysteriously managed to find and modify the Navigation and Master Page to do this! Congratulations for solving another side of the SharePoint Rube Goldberg Rubix Cube Administration!For the rest of us (including our lucky friends who can find the Navigation options, but some are greyed out) are there any answers? Thank you for this site, info and help!ChristopherWe’re able to use computers and applications only because we’ve learned to work around the engineers and designers to find solutions! ;^)SharePoint Rocks, it is a shame it requires SO much research and so many gurus and so many websites, blogs and books to accomplish VERY common tasks!

  42. Hi,Can you please advice me that whether MOSS 2007 has this facilities., Having 3rd level drop-down on top menu – Under the ‘Navigation’ setting, I tried to create a header, and put links under the header, but the header does not appear in the top tab. Any help or advice on this part is highly appreciated with tons of thanks.

  43. It is possible to have a drop drown menu but not flying out, just having all the option group and when a user click it display as having a group items from a library?Thanks!

  44. I am trying to get this workng with Document Folders as well. Can anybody please provide some assistance.I would like to have a line (maybe more than one of all Document folders at the route site. If you do a mouse over on one it must then show all the sub folders underneath the main folder. If you then select a sub folder it must then open that subfoder in a new window.If a main or sub folder is added it must be displayed on the relevant “Menu” bar. ADMINISTRATION PROJECTS FINANCIALS ADM Sub Folder 1 Project A Financial Sub Folder 1 ADM Sub Folder 2 Project B Financial Sub Folder 2 ADM Sub Folder 3 Project C Project D

  45. I also have the similar requirement as Danie. Any solution to display folder and subfolders as flyouts in the left navigation please?Thanks!

  46. Hi, We recently self hosted our division portal. I am seeing an issues with flyouts where the Heading doesn’t show up in the flyout? Due to this user cannot navigate to required location easily.Can someone please help?

  47. Is it possible to handle with CSS?How can I make drop down menu for 2 in the CSS?Thanks for response.Mr. KimV/R

  48. Hi, I am not find the Site Actions -> Site Settings -> Modify All Site Settings -> Page Layouts and Site Templates under Look and Feel. Please tell me what is the problem. Currently I am using share point standard version. Thanks to All

  49. Hi Heather,Please let me know how can we replace the arrow of dynamic display menu. we have a black global navigation and the second level menu has an arrow which is also in black (and hence unnoticiable) we want to replace it with a white arrow, please suggest. we are not able to find this WebResource.axd. Please reply on urgent basis, this is critical. Thanks for your help.Pooja

  50. Hey Heather,i have only 2 levels but for some reason, when I press on the subsite (Sub Site 1 in your example), then the Parent Site (the parent TAB) isn’t Highlihted.Any ideas?

  51. Hi,I need ur guidance on a sharepoint issue. we have drop down with top menu and sub menu 1 and sub menu 2. there is an arrow which shows up while we hover on submenu 1 and the flyout opens to show submenu2 items, this arrow needs to be changed for one of the sharepoint projects in my company.Any help or advice on this part is highly appreciated with tons of thanks.

  52. Hi Heather,I am using Report center Template with Publishing feature ON. I want to change the Top navigation of my site. When I went to Site Settings >> Modify Navigation , under Global Navigation when I try to change the order of pages using Move Up & Move Down link, & press OK – it doesn’t work. When I go back and check, the order under global navigation resets to original. My requirement is to add a new tab between 1 & 2 tab and only way I can do out of box is through Navigation with Publishing on. Please guide. Maulee

  53. Here is an interesting issue that I haven’t found a solution for. Maybe I am googling the wrong keywords?When I have too many subsites accessible through one tab within global navigation the subsite drop down covers up the main site’s global navigation tab so you can’t click on it, you have to revert to breadcrumbs to get to that top level site. example: If I have a main site called bids and 20 subsites under bids, when I attempt to click the bids tab on the global navigation bar, it is instantly covered up by the 1st subsite’s name in the dropdown making it impossible to click on the main site. Is there a way to offset the dropdown either horrizontally or vertically? I’ve thought about using a table of contents page linked to the navigation item but would prefer to scroll the list.Thanks;Dave

  54. Hi Heather. I have found the information on your site invaluable during our Sharepoint branding process. I’m wondering if you know of a way to make the global navigation tabs highlight after clicking on one of the sub-menu items. Currently the root tab remains highlighted after navigating to a link in one of the drop-downs. Our global nav layout is largely manually created and so they do not follow the hierarchy of the sites and subsites. Thanks for any help you can provide!

  55. For guys with WSS and trying to activate the drop down menu

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