Editing Side Navigation

How it Works

Sample side navigation

Before editing the side navigation, it is important to understand its purpose, and basically how it works.

The navigation on the left side of web pages is automatically created as new sections are created. As each new page is added to a section, an additional line is appended to the end of the _sidenav.inc file with the name of the page added and a link to that page.

As new sub-sections are created, they each have their own _sidenav.inc file, which only includes the links to files within that section.

The default configuration for the navigation on department sites is to Inherit the parent navigation. That means the navigation that is used on the top level pages, as well as sub-sections, is the same. This makes for easy navigation across any department site.

The navigation is built from the top _sidenav.inc file, which includes links to pages at that level, as well as to the sub-sections. Links to sub-sections appear with a caret symbol next to it as seen in the sample to the right. Those entries, instead of being direct links to pages within the sub-section, will open to expose a list of the pages in that section. Notice the Website Guidelines section to the right. When you create a new section the section title is added here.

The entries shown within a section are included in the _sidenav.inc file within that specific section.

Remember, when you add new pages, you must re-publish the _sidenav.inc for that section. If you create a new section, you must publish the _sidenav.inc for that section, as well as re-publish the one for the parent section, since it would have received a new link to the new sub-section. Read the Create and Publish Sections and Pages instructional for more details.

Why to Edit

Generally, there are very limited reasons to need to edit the side navigation:

  • Reorder page links
  • Correct spelling or change link text
  • Delete links to pages or sections that no longer exist

You shouldn't have to add a link to the side navigation, since they are automatically added as the pages are created unless one is deleted by mistake, or in the process of reordering.

Side navigation editorHow to Edit

As mentioned above, the file to edit is named _sidenav.inc and there is a separate one for each section. Click on the filename to edit. You will be shown the contents of the file in a wysiwyg editor, with a very limited toolbar.

There is one important point to remember when editing this file: Do not delete everything from it and expect to be able to recreate yourself! Doing this will cause the file to not work properly.

The file consists of a simple unordered list of HTML entries, with the text linked to the appropriate files or sections. If you click to place your cursor at the end of a line, and press Enter/Return, you will have a new line to add text and then link in the normal manner to your files. Do not link to pages outside your own pages. This navigation is strictly for pages within your own site.

  • To move an existing link, select all of the text on the line, then drag it to a new blank line.

When finished editing, use the Save icon in the upper left of the wysiwyg toolbar. Be sure to Publish the _sidenav.inc file after making any changes.

Special Cases

You may have noticed the icon next to Staff Profiles section link, and that it does not have a carat to show it as a section. This is a standard link that we would like to have all departments use in a similar manner and as the last item in your navigation.

As you add files, you will need to move this link to the bottom of the navigation again, and most likely, it will lose it's link and special properties when you copy & paste the text, or re-type it. Just relink as usual to the section for your profiles.

Side navigation styles menuTo give it the special properties, you will need to place your cursor inside the text link, and look for the Styles drop-down box on the wysiwyg toolbar as shown to the left. You need to select both NoSubNav and Profile for the profiles link(s). You will only see one at a time, but if you do them both it will work.

You should see the icon appear next to the text in the wysiwyg editor, and when you save and publish, the carat should be gone as well.