Navigate Through a SharePoint Site
Solution: The following section explains the different mechanisms that help you navigate through a site. A standard SharePoint site has two navigational aids that help you find your way in the site. These navigation bars are usually at the top and left sides of the screen. The site manager can change them to show different links to different parts of the site, and they should be your primary source of information to what you can view in the site.
Figure 2.10 shows a sample site with both navigation bars configured to show the same information.
Figure 2.10 A sample site with two navigation bars.
As you can see in the image, both navigation bars show links to subsites that exist under the current site and some of the actual content in one of those sites (the News site has two news items in it: Sample News Article and News Archive, which are pages in the News site). The top navigation bar exposes those articles as flyouts that show only when you hover the mouse cursor over the News menu item (see Figure 2.11).
Figure 2.11 Accessing fly-out menus in the top navigation bar.
To navigate to a subsite, you can click the links to that subsite in either navigation bar. Most likely (depending on how your administrator set up the navigation), the subsites show the same top navigation bar but a different left navigation bar, as shown in Figure 2.12.
Figure 2.12 The left navigation bar might show different navigation links than the top navigation bar.
However, the administrator can choose that a subsite will display the same left navigation bar as the top site. This setup makes it look as if you are still in the same site, except for the fact that the top navigation bar highlights the current site you are on, as shown in Figure 2.13.
Figure 2.13 The left and top navigation bars might show the same navigation links.
Use the Left Navigation Bar
The quick launch left navigation bar, also known as Current navigation, is usually used to show content that exists in the current site and sometimes content from subsites, sites that exist under the current site (see Figure 2.14). The content is usually (but not always) lists and libraries, and is (usually) grouped so that document libraries are shown under a Documents header, lists under a Lists header, discussions under a Discussions header, and so on.
Figure 2.14 A site with a left navigation bar showing links to content in the current site.
The left navigation bar highlights where you are in the navigation, but only when you are on a page that is shown in the navigation (see Figure 2.15).
Figure 2.15 A site with a left navigation bar highlighting the current page.
This navigation bar is meant to be used as a “quick launch” bar—a useful list of links in the current site and sometimes the sites under it. It might even contain links to content that isn’t in SharePoint—for example, an Internet site.
Use the Top Navigation Bar
The top navigation bar, also known as Global navigation, is usually used to show links to sites that are at the top level of the site hierarchy. This feature enables you to quickly see what important sites are available globally that the site administrator wants you to see.
This menu bar can support flyout menus. These menus become visible when you hover the mouse cursor over the parent menu items. You can usually know when a menu has flyout menus as children: it is marked with a triangle pointing to the direction in which the flyout menu will open.
In Figure 2.16, you can see a two-level flyout menu. The first level shows that under the News site, there is another site called Corporate News and also two articles. The second level (on the right of the first level) shows that there are three articles under the Corporate News site.
Figure 2.16 Opening the flyout menus using the top navigation bar.
Use the Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are a common mechanism to navigate in any website. They show you where you are in the site and what parents this site has so that you can go up the hierarchy to any of the parents easily and quickly.
In SharePoint, there are two built-in breadcrumbs in each page: global and local. The global breadcrumbs are usually at the top left of the screen and track where you are when switching between sites that do not share the same navigation bars (see Figure 2.17).
Figure 2.17 Using the global breadcrumbs.
The local breadcrumbs are usually right under the top navigation and show you where you are in relation to the current site hierarchy (see Figure 2.18).
Figure 2.18 Using the local breadcrumbs.
To use the breadcrumbs, just click the link of the parent you want to navigate to.