dropdown-menusThe Menu Manager section of the Joomla 3 Administrative Interface is where you create menus for site navigation.

The default Joomla 3 installation will have already created one menu called Main Menu and within that menu is the Home page. If you bring up your site on a browser right after installation and before any modifications, you see this Home page with the Main Menu in a module located in position-7 in the right hand column. The intent of the Main Menu is the navigation for the main areas of your site. You may want to have other Menus that allow the user to navigate to certain other pages, or have a sub-menu only show up on the interior pages.

Within the Menu are Menu Items. These can be going to one article, a page with several articles all in one category, a list of the articles in a category, a page with a contact form, a page with newsfeeds, a user profile page, there are many options.

Create a New Menu

Creating a new Menu is very simple. You select Menu on the top of the administrative interface, select Menu Manager -> Add New Menu. Or select Menu Manager from the Quick Icons and select New.

You will get to a simple screen called Menu Details with three text boxes. The Title of the Menu will be what you see on the list of Menus - so name it something logical like Specialties. The Menu Type is just the system name for the menu, kind of like its alias. you can just repeat the name of the menu for this box. Joomla will fix it so that it is lower case and has no spaces or symbols. You can type in a description for the menu if you would like.

The menu will now show up on the list of menus.

Note: Just because you created the menu, doesn't mean that it will show up on the site. You need to place it in a module with the Module Manager.

Create a New Menu Item

When you are creating Menu Items you are taking two steps at once.  You are creating a link to a web page and you are telling Joomla what type of Content to put on that web page. As you create the Menu Item you are given many options to choose from for the Menu Item Type.

From the list of Menus, click on one of the Menu Titles in the list (a new site will only have Main Menu on the list) and it will open up a new list of Menu Items in that menu. Menu Items can be thought of as the link to the page in a navigational menu and the page itself.

To create a new Menu Item, select New from the list of actions near the top of the screen.  You will be brought to a new screen with the Details Tab for the Menu Item. 

menuitemsMenu Item Types

Click on the Select button and a popup box will show up with a list of options for the Menu Item Type. If you click on one of these options, the topic will open up to the Menu Item Types for that topic.

Contacts

This will create a page for your Contacts if you have already created Contacts under Components -> Contacts.  

Contacts are used if you wanted to create a Contact Form for the Web Site, a Contact Form for certain individuals within the company, maybe a Contact Form for Technical Support, etc.  If you had numerous Contacts, you could categorize them - such as Sales, Parts, Service, Administration, etc.  Feature Contacts are simply any Contact that has be designated as Featured for some reason.

When you click on Contact on the Menu Item Type dialog box, it will open up to a list of options for you to select how you want to display the Contact information. The options are:

  • List All Contact Categories: choose this if you want to list the different categories of contacts.  
  • List Contacts in a Category: This would show a list of all of the individual contacts within a single category.
  • Single Contact: this Menu Item would take you to only one contact
  • Featured Contacts: This would ahve a page of contacts designated as featured.

Click here to read more about Menu Item Types for Contacts...

Articles

Articles are items that you created under the Article Manager in the Content section.

  • Archive Articles: Would created a Menu Item that displays the Archived Articles
  • Single Article: Would link to to a page comprised of only one Article
  • List all Categories: Would list all of the different Categories that have been created in Category Manager
  • Category Blog: This displays a designated number of articles within a category. You can decide how you want the Articles laid out with the many options available
  • Category List: This would display a list of the titles of all of the articles within a specified Category
  • Featured Articles: This would display the Articles that have the designation of being Featured
  • Create Article: This will allow a Registered User to create a new article from the Front End of the web site. If you create this Menu Item Type, it is best to set its Access Level to Registered.  If a person that is not logged onto the site selects this Menu Item, they will get a 404 error page.

Smart Search

There is only one option under Smart Search - Search.  What this does is create a link to a Search page for users to enter terms and see if the words in that term show up anywhere on your site. Smart Search allows you to incorporate more advance search features over the basic Joomla Search function.

Newsfeeds

If you have set up Newsfeeds under the Components -> Newsfeeds section, this is where you place those in a menu.

  • List all News Feeds Categories:  If you have multiple categories from which the user can select, this is what you select.
  • List All News Feeds in a Category: This will create a page with all the News Feeds in a single Category
  • Single News Feed: This will create a page with a single news feed.

Search

This creates a page with the simplified default Joomla Search function rather that Smart Search

Users Manager

This allows you to have designated pages on your site for User profiles, login forms, Registration forms, etc.

  • Login Form
  • User Profile
  • Edit User Profile
  • Registration Form
  • Username Reminder Request
  • Password Reset

Weblinks

If you had created Weblinks in the Component -> Weblinks section, this is how you create pages for those Weblinks

  • List all Web Link Categories
  • List Web Links in a Category
  • Submit a Web Link

Wrapper

Iframe Wrapper: this allows you to create a page that contains an iframe - which is like a window into another site.  YouTube videos and Google Maps are often in iframes.

System Links

Here you can create Menu Items that take you offsite, copy another Menu Item (so that you can get to the same page), a Text Separator or Just a Heading for other Menu Items.

  • External URL: Link to an external web page
  • Menu Item Alias: copy another Menu Item - so it shows the exact same page.
  • Text Separator: put in to separate parts of your menu
  • Menu Heading: Doesn't create an actual link - just a heading for sub-menu items - like a dropdown.

Configuring the Menu Item Options

Each Menu Item Type will have a number of settings that you can modify to make your page look and function differently. These options are covered in the joom3 focus pages for each Menu Item Type.