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How to inherit navigation in SharePoint

One of the biggest issues that exist in company Intranets is the lack of consistent navigation. I am sure you encountered this scenario yourself. You click on some subsite and the only way to navigate back to where you came from is to desperately hit the browser “Back button”. One of the best practices and user adoption techniques is to assure your companyIntranet has a consistent navigation, no matter which site you are on. A while back, I have published a post on various ways to build the navigation. Today, I want to explain how to inherit navigation in SharePoint, assuring consistent user experience.

How to inherit navigation menu when creating a site

The easiest way to inherit the top menu navigation is at the point of site creation. When you create a subsite in SharePoint, one of the questions at the bottom of the screen is “Use the top link bar from the parent site?“. Just make sure to set the radio button to Yes.

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How to inherit navigation menu after you create a site

If you have already created a site and need it to inherit the menu from the parent site, you can always do it at any point. Go to Gear Icon > Site Settings > Top Link Bar (under Look and Feel)

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From there, just click on Use Links from Parent. You are done!

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How to inherit navigation menu for Publishing sites

If you have enabled Publishing features on your Intranet site collection, you can still inherit the menu, but steps/commands are a bit different. Moreover, once you enable Publishing features, you can inherit not only the Global (Top Link Bar) but also the Current (Quick Launch) navigation!

To inherit Global (Top Link Bar) Navigation

Go to Gear Icon > Site Settings > Navigation (under Look and Feel)

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Under Global Navigation Section, choose “Display the same navigation items as the parent site” radio button

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To inherit Current (Quick Launch) Navigation

Go to Gear Icon > Site Settings > Navigation (under Look and Feel)

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Under Current Navigation Section, choose “Display the same navigation items as the parent site” radio button

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Things to keep in mind

  • You can only inherit the menu for sites in the same site collection (each site collection has unique navigation/top link bar)
  • You cannot inherit Current Navigation (Quick Launch) menu if you are using an Oslo Theme for your page and do not have Publishing Features enabled. Oslo theme, unlike Seattle theme, uses Quick Launch menu in place of the Top Link Bar.

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