dropdown-menusMenus are navigational aids. They let the user navigate from one page to another. You can have menus across the top, along the side, down at the bottom of the page. You can use menus as Site Maps so the user can easily see what all your site has to offer in one quick glance.

The items that are in a Menu are also quite varied. With Joomla you can have a Menu Item Type of a single article, a category of articles, a contact form, a search page, newsfeeds, user information, a login page, an outside web site, the list goes on. This is covered in the  joomarticle on Menu Manager. We will just go over the basics here.

Learn by Example

Lets go back to Susie Catlover and her site on cats. In the Understanding Categories and Articles section, Susie has already followed Joomla's CAM concept by creating Categories, then creating Articles and assinging Categories for the Articles. Now she is ready to create a Menu so that her readers can navigate to the different sections of her site.

She goes up to the dropdown menu items across the top and selects Menu -> Menu Manager. By default there is already a menu called Main Menu.  Susie wants to put these core sections of her site in the Main Menu.  Later she may want to add some additional navigation so that her readers can quickly hop to her YouTube videos on cats, and some other outside links, but for now she just wants to stick to the basics.

She clicks on Main Menu and there is one thing in the list, Home.  By default Joomla created the Home page - which is the landing page for the site.  If Susie typed in the domain name of her site and nothing else into a browsers address bar, she would come to her Home page.  By default, the Home page would show Featured Articles, which would be any articles that have the designation of Featured set in the Articles Manager.

If you didn't choose to pull in the sample data during your Joomla Installation, Joomla3, using the Protostar Template, will populate the Home page with the name of your site at top, the title for the Home page, the Main Menu over to the right and a login form for logging into the Front End of the web site.  At the bottom left is the Copyright information, the name of your site and a Back to the Top link on the right.  You will be able to rearrange or remove any of these items within the Administrative Interface.

For now Susie wants the Home page to just be a single article. So she clicks on Home and it opens up that Menu Item. First she wants to change the Menu Item Type from Featured Articles to a Single Article, so she clicks on Select and changes this setting by clicking on Articles from the list and then select Single Article.

The next step is to select the particular article that she wants on the Home page.  She has already created this article, so she clicks on Select and selects the article "The Wonderful World of Cats".

There are other ways to approach this page since Susie only has the one article in the Category of Home.  If she felt that in the future she wanted to add more articles for the home page, she could have selected a Menu Item Type of Articles->Category Blog, which is called a Blog - but really is just a display of the articles in a specific category.  Susie will use this for her Blog on her own three cats, but for now the Home page will be just the Single Article.  She selects Save & New as she wants to go on to create the next Menu Item.

Note: you must have the article already in existence to select Single Article or Joomla won't let you save the menu item. A red line will show up around the box that is missing information.

She selects Single Article for the next Menu Item Type and gives it a title of "Choosing a Cat", she selects Save & New and does the same for "owning Multiple Cats" and clicks on Save & New again.

For the next Menu Item of "The World of Cats", she wants a listing of all of the articles in that Category. So she clicks on Select, the picks Articles, but this time she selects Category List.  She has already created this category in Category Manager, so she uses the pull down selection box and selects "The World of Cats" from the category list.  For the title she types in "The World of Cats", then selects Save & New.

For her Blog on her three cats, she wants to display the latest article, then have a teaser of the two most recent articles before that.  She also wants the user to be able to see a listing of the other Blog Article titles at the bottom of the page. For Menu Item type, Susie clicks on Select and then Article -> Category Blog. She then chooses the Category for this Blog and fills in the Menu Title with "My Three Cats". She then clicks on Save & Close.

She will eventually need to go into Advanced Options to set the display settings for the Blog, but for now she wants to check that the Menu Items show up on her Home page.

To view the Home page all she has to do is click on either the name of her site at the top left of the Administrative Interface or on View Site at the lower left. Or if Susie has the web page up on a different tab - she can refresh the window to see the changes.

She should now see the new Menu Items in the right sidebar of the Home page.  If she clicks on these items, they should take her to what ever content she has entered on the page.

Susie wants to change the location of the menu to be a horizontal menu across the top of the content.

This will be covered under Understanding Modules