Joomla 4/5 User Manual

Manual Index

Submenus

Menu Basics

In Joomla, three elements contribute to the display of a menu to the user:

  • A Menu is a container for menu items.
  • A Menu Item is a link to a site page or external page.
  • A Menu Module provides a method to allocate the menu to a position on the page and to control aspects of the menu or page appearance or behaviour.

Simple menus consist of lists of links. Sometimes, members of a list have parent-child relationships displayed as indented children or drop-down lists. Parent-child relationships can be nested to any level. However, nesting beyond two levels can make lists unattractive and awkward to use.

There are occasions when you may wish to show the children of a parent menu as a separate submenu. One common use case is to show a submenu to the left of a page, the page content in the centre, and a table of contents of the page to the right. This tutorial explains how to do it.

Example Data

Suppose you have a series of articles on animals. It could be family pets, a veterinarian information sheet or a zoo. The following is a short example structure for demonstration purposes:

Animals
    Cats
        Burmese
        Russian Blue
    Dogs
        Collies
        Pomeranians

The lists could be quite long so you may wish to display just a list of cat breeds on pages about cats and just a list of dog breeds on pages about dogs. The following screenshot shows the target layout the user would like to achieve:

J4x-submenus-objectives-animals-cats-en.png

In this example, when the user selects the Animals menu item the Animals page is loaded and the Cats menu module disappears (no Dogs module either). Select the Cats menu item and the Cats menu module appears alongside the Cats page. Select the Burmese menu item and the Burmese page appears. Select the Dogs menu item and the Cats menu module is replaced by a Dogs menu module alongside the Dogs page.

To try this tutorial for yourself you will need to create some articles, a menu with menu items and three menu modules.

Create Articles

If you are super-efficient you can create an article and then create a menu item from the article. For that you would need to first create a new menu and take some extra steps during article creation. So best keep it simple at first and start with your new articles:

  • Select Content  Articles  + from the Administrator menu. Or select the New button from the Articles list.
  • Fill out the form as you would for any article.
  • Select the Save & New button from the Save & Close to move on to the next new article.

The example data shown above requires seven articles.

Create a New Menu

From the Administrator menu:

  • Select Menus  Manage.
  • In the Menus list page select the New button to create a new menu.
  • In the Menus: Add form give the menu a title: Animals and a unique name: animals.
  • In some cases you may need to remind yourself what this menu is for. So fill out the description field.
  • Save or Save & Close.

J4x-submenus-new-menu-en.png

Create Menu Items

There are seven menu items to create.

Animals Menu Item

The new menu items will be located in the Animals menu.

  • Select Menus  Animals  + from the Administrator menu.
  • Fill out the Menu: Edit Item form.
    • Title: Animals
    • Menu Item Type: Single Article
    • Select Article: Animals - this is the parent article used to introduce the series on Animals
    • Menu: Animals
    • Parent: - No Parent - this is the menu root
  • Select Save & New from the Save & Close drop-down list.

Cats Menu Item

This is very much a repeat of the Animals menu item. Except:

  • Title should be Cats.
  • The article selected in the Select Article field should be Cats.
  • The Parent Item should be set to Animals.

Burmese Menu Item

Repeat again. Except:

  • Title should be Burmese.
  • The article selected in the Select Article field should be Burmese.
  • The Parent Item should be set to Cats.

More Menu Items

Carry on until you have seven menu items, one for each article.

Menu Item List

When you have created all your menu items check that they have the correct parent-child relationships and they are in the correct order. You can sort on the Ordering column (the second column) and use the grab handles (vertical ellipsis) to drag items into the correct order. If any item has a wrong parent just select the item title and change the parent in the Menus: Edit Item form.

J4x-submenus-menu-items-list-en.png

Menu Modules

At this stage you have a menu but it does not have a module to be assigned to a position on the page. You could use the whole menu as a standard menu or drop-down menu. However, the point of this tutorial is to demonstrate how to create submenus. For that you need three different modules:

  • An Animals module for a submenu with menu items on Animals, Cats and Dogs.
  • A Cats module for a submenu with menu items on cat breeds.
  • A Dogs module for a submenu with menu items on dog breeds.

Animals Submenu Module

From the Administrator menu:

  • Select Content  Site Modules  + or select New from the Modules (Site) list.
  • Select the Menu module.
  • In the Modules: Menu edit form enter the following data:
    • Title: Animals
    • Select Menu: Animals
    • Base Item: Animals (this is the parent menu item)
    • Start Level: 1
    • End Level: 2 (this limits the items to the menu items on Cats and Dogs)
    • Position: sidebar-left (or wherever suits you)

J4x-submenus-animals-module-en.png

Menu Assignment

Submenus are normally shown only on pages where they are relevant, in this case on only three pages. From the Menu Assignment tab:

  • Set the Module Assignment field to Only on the pages selected. That reveals a hierarchical list of all items in all menus.
  • Check the boxes against Animals, Cats and Dogs.
  • Check the boxes against the breeds of cats and dogs. Otherwise the Animals submenu will disappear on pages about breeds.
  • Make sure no other boxes are checked.
  • Save & Close

J4x-submenus-animals-module-menu-assignment-en.png

Cats Submenu Module

This is very similar:

  • Select Content  Site Modules  + or select New from the Modules (Site) list.
  • Select the Menu module.
  • In the Modules: Menu edit form enter the following data:
    • Title: Cats
    • Select Menu: Animals
    • Base Item: Cats (this is the parent menu item)
    • Start Level: 3
    • End Level: All
    • Position: sidebar-left (or wherever suits you)

Menu Assignment

From the Menu Assignment

  • Set the Module Assignment field to Only on the pages selected. That reveals a hierarchical list of all items in all menus.
  • Check the boxes against Cats, Burmese and Russian Blue. Make sure no other boxes are checked.
  • Save & Close

Dogs Submenu Module

More of the same ...

Menu Item Alias

So far so good! But there is no link to the Animals page from the Main Menu, or any of the other site menus. The easy way to fix this is with a Menu Item Alias. For this example, an entry is made in the menu at the top of the page, entitled Main Menu Blog. From the Administrator menu:

  • Select Menus  Main Menu Blog (or whichever is your preferred site menu).
  • Select the New button from the Toolbar.
  • Fill out the Menus: Edit Item form
    • Title: Animals
    • Alias: creatures - there is already a menu item named Animals so you must use a different alias.
    • Menu Item Type: Menu Item Alias
    • Menu Item: Animals - selected from the list of existing menu items.

J4x-submenus-animals-alias-en.png

  • Save
  • Ordering - after save the order can be changed. In this example it is placed first.

Check the Result

View the pages in your site. In this example, most pages will not show the submenus in the left side position. The Animals link in the top menu will open the animals page from which it is possible to navigate to the Cats or Dogs pages:

J4x-submenus-objectives-animals-dogs-en.png