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).