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Create and edit menus (site section navigation)

How to edit and display navigation on SDP sites, including the top menu, footer menu and side menus (site section navigation).

There are 3 types of menus on Single Digital Presence (SDP) websites:

  1. Top menu
  2. Sidebar menu (called site section navigation)
  3. Footer menu – made up of the 'fat' footer (which mirrors the top menu) and the smaller menu across the bottom.

All sites must have the top and footer menus. Sidebar menus are optional; these are often used as sub-menus on site sections.

All menus on SDP sites are built manually so when you move or remove a page you must also update any menus it's linked on.

Top menu

The top menu is created by site administrators when a site is set up. It's usually called 'Main menu' in the CMS.

Usually we prefer that site administrators update menus. Advanced CMS users can edit top menus, but be aware that as soon as you add a menu item, it goes live unless you untick the Enabled checkbox.

It's good practice to:

  1. Uncheck this checkbox as you add or edit menu items.
  2. Go back to view the menu as a whole and drag the new or edited items into correct position.
  3. Tick to enable the new items when they are in correct position.
  4. Save the menu and the changes immediately will go live.

The top menu is also used to:

  • populate the fat footer on the live site
  • populate the sitemap
  • create breadcrumbs.

The front-end display of the top menu is limited to only display 4 levels of menu. Then the menu can go to deeper levels in the back end to allow us to set breadcrumbs on pages while not letting the menu go too deep (and off the side of the screen!) on the live site.

Most pages in a site section should have Site-section navigation set to display.

Your site administrator should have set up the initial menu for you – you just need to tick the box on each content page to make sure it displays.

These menus are created and managed manually, so if you add a new page to the site, you need to ensure it's added to the site-section navigation.

Creating a site section menu

Menus can only be created by Site Admins.

The site section navigation menu and the site section footer are automatically created when adding a new site in the taxonomy section: Structure > Taxonomy > Sites.

Editing a site section menu

To add, remove or reorder items in a site section menu, go to the menus landing page (Structure > Menus).

Find the menu with the name of your site (eg - <site section name> - Main menu).

Click on the Edit button on the right side of the screen.

Add items one by one by clicking the +Add link button.

In the Add menu link screen, start typing the page title and choose the correct page from the list of published pages that appears in the dropdown.

You then need to add a Menu link title*. Generally use the exact page name here, though we can shorten it in special circumstances.

Note that changes made in menus appear on the live site immediately, so while you're working, untick the checkbox in the Enabled column. When you've finished adding and ordering the items in your menu, tick all items to make them display on the site.

Reordering new items in a site section menu

Once you’ve added all the menu items you want to include, go back to view the menu page and drag and drop your items into order using the grabber tool.

You can also drag to ‘indent’ the items to push them to level 2 or 3. Our side menus (site section navigation) only display down to level 3.

Click Save when you’re done.

Displaying the site section menu on a page

We generally don't display the site section menu on the site section's 'home' page, but it will then generally appear on all other pages of a site section.

To have the menu appear on a page, go in to edit that page and:

  • tick the 'Show Site-section Navigation?' box
  • enter the menu title

The menu title is what displays at the top of the menu on all pages so this should be consistent across the whole site section.

Example of checked box to enable Site section navigation

The title should generally be the same name as the site section (e.g. LGBTI equality).

What you put in the Site-section navigation title field will display as a heading at the top of the menu on that page. If you don’t fill in this field, nothing will be displayed and the menu will look strange. This title helps users to orientate themselves in the site section.

Example of Site Section navigation front end display

The easiest way to ensure consistency is to copy and paste in the name of the menu from another page in your site.

Further information on using menus

  • We know from user testing that an overwhelming majority of users never use the main menu.
  • Users on mobile (the majority of users on all of our sites) never see the site section navigation (side menu) anyway because it's pushed to the bottom of the display.
  • The main menu user interface can’t handle the depth of IA present on some sites - that is, we can display links to pages 4 levels deep, not deeper.
  • The user interface is not ideal - many users don't understand that parent items are clickable.
  • Breadcrumbs are drawn from the main menu. If an item is on the top navigation, breadcrumbs show the content structure and relationship. But when a page is not on the top navigation, the breadcrumbs display it as one level from home. Hence the site doesn't have a consistent breadcrumbs experience on all pages.
  • In the SDP CMS, all menus are built manually. There's no formal relationship between a site's main menu and any site section navigation (side menus).
  • Click Structure > Taxonomy > Sites

    Click the Add term button.

    Fields to fill out when adding a taxonomy term to Sites taxonomy (

    • Name - this title will show up on the menus screen, but not be visible on the live site
    • Slogan - leave blank, we're not using this
    • Logo - this is not generally used on site sections (only on sites with their own URL, which you are unlikely to be doing)
    • Domains - put the root site URL with no http:// (eg or Sometimes multiple domains are entered in here for development and testing while the site is built.
    • Main menu
      • Leave the field blank - it will get automatically filled after you click the Save button.
      • Leave the checkbox ticked for ‘Automatically create and assign a Main menu menu’.
    • Footer menu:
      • Leave the field blank
      • When creating a taxonomy term in order to create a side menu (site section navigation) you MUST untick the checkbox for ‘Automatically create and assign a Footer menu menu’ for site sections.
    • Homepage - start typing the title of the page that will be your home page for the site section and choose the correct option from the dropdown by clicking on it. If this page hasn't been built yet, you can leave this field blank but you must remember to come back and add it before you go live.
    • Acknowledgement to country:
      • If you're creating the taxonomy for a site section, leave this field blank.
      • If you're creating the taxonomy for a new site, add the following: 'The Victorian Government acknowledges Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria and pays respect to their cultures and Elders past, present and future.'
    • Prominence of acknowledgement of country - ignore this field
    • Social media image - only if you're creating a taxonomy for a new site, add the artwork that was created for social sharing.
    • Twitter share image - if you have an image specifically sized for Twitter, add it here.
    • Site alerts and notifications - leave blank.

The same footer menu displays on all pages in and most semi-independent sites (sites using to edit and publish).

In the Menus section of the CMS, it's called 'Footer menu' (eg - FOOTER MENU).

Independent sites have their own instance of the CMS and so they have their own footer menu and footer pages. These should be set up based on the content in the footer pages on unless there's a need for site-specific information. Most of the footer pages on are standard, though the privacy page has some specific information for certain site sections.

All footer menus should include:

  1. Privacy
  2. Disclaimer
  3. Copyright
  4. Accessibility
  5. Sitemap
  6. Contact us


When you create a footer menu, all links go to pages (nodes) in the CMS except for the Sitemap link.

The sitemap is dynamically generated, so you need to type an absolute link (eg Link ). You can add the URL into the footer menu, but make sure to test it on the live site when you go live.

Reviewed 01 July 2022

Single Digital Presence

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