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TechnologyOct 24, 2012

SharePoint 2013 and Managed Metadata Navigation

Will Stokes

Microsoft has released a Preview version of SharePoint 2013. There are dozens of great new features included in the new version. The focus of this blog is the feature, Managed Metadata Navigation.  Anyone who has managed a SharePoint farm utilizing multiple site collections knows the level of planning and time needed to manage consistent navigation with this architecture.  For those who have not managed a multiple site collection SharePoint site, the issue is that navigation is not inherited by different site collections. This means that to have consistent navigation on different site collections, you have to either develop a custom feature that is deployed throughout the web application or you have to manually update the navigation on each site collection. With dozens of site collections, this can be a daunting task.

To fix this issue, SharePoint 2013 has introduced Managed Metadata Navigation. This valuable and easy-to-manage feature allows you to create and update navigation for all sites in the farm using the Managed Metadata Service Application, which was first introduced in SharePoint 2010. The new navigation management system makes it very easy to add a consistent universal navigation structure to all site collections in your farm.

There are two different locations to manage your Managed Metadata Navigation: Site Settings and Central Administration.  If you only want to utilize your new menu in one site collection, you can use the Term Store Management page under Site Settings.  If you want to be able to utilize Managed Metadata Navigation throughout all the site collections, you will need to head over to Central Administration.

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setting it all up

Setting up a basic Managed Metadata Navigation scheme is easy to complete.  The following steps outline how to set up basic Managed Metadata Navigation for either single or multiple site collections.

single site collection – site settings

Use this method if you only want to use the navigation menu in one site collection.

  1. Go to the site you want to add the new Managed Metadata Navigation menu

  2. Go into the Site Settings and Term Store Management under the Site Administration section

  3. In the left navigation, expand the Site Collection – [your server name] section. You will see a new section named Site Navigation.

  4. Highlight the Site Navigation section and click the drop down arrow

  5. Choose Create Term

  6. Enter the name for the navigation item and press enter

  7. Enter any other menu items you would like to add to your navigation

  8. Select one of the menu items. You will now see the configuration pages for that item in the main section of the page. (Note: There are multiple tabs for the configuration of the new navigation item.)

  9. On the General tab, you can select whether an item is available for tagging, the language of the item, a description, default label, and other labels

  10. Select the Navigation tab. This is the main tab for adding a simple navigation item. Enter any navigation hover text, select which menu the item is visible (global or current navigation), and the navigation node type. The navigation node type allows you to choose a simple link, header, or a term-driven page with a friendly URL.  For simple navigation, we will select a simple link or header.

  11. Click Save

  12. Navigate back to Site Setting

  13. Click on Navigation under the Look and Feel section

  14. Under the Global Navigation section select Managed Navigation

  15. On the left side of the page, select the node that contains your menu

  16. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on OK

Your new Managed Metadata Navigation menu should now be displayed on your SharePoint 2013 site.

multiple site collections – central administration

Use this method if you want to use the navigation menu across multiple site collections.

  1. Open Central Administration for your SharePoint 2013 farm

  2. Go to Application Management: Manage Service Applications

  3. Click on the Managed Metadata Service application link

  4. In the left column, click on the dropdown arrow next to the Managed Metadata Service node and click on New Group

  5. Give the group a logical name such as Global Navigation

  6. Click the drop down arrow next to your newly created group and choose New Term Set

  7. Give the term set a logical name such as Top Nav Menu

    1. Click on this node in the tree and review its settings in the main section of the page

    2. Click on the Intended Use tab

    3. Check the box next to Use this Term Set for Site Navigation

    4. Click Save

    5. Click the drop down arrow next to the new term set and choose Create Term

    6. Add your menu items by typing in each name, press enter, and enter the next item

      1. You can add sub-menu items by clicking the drop down next to any term and adding a new term under it

      2. After creating all menu items, click on each one, and review its settings in the main section of the page

      3. Click on the Navigation tab in the main section of the page

      4. Edit the Navigation Hover Text to meet your needs

      5. Select the Simple Link or Header radio button in the Navigation Node Type section

      6. Edit the URL or click on the Browse button to select the link destination

      7. Click the Save button

      8. Repeat for each menu item

      9. After updating all menu items, click on the main term set (Top Nav Menu in this example), and click on the Custom Sort tab in the main section of the page

      10. Choose the sort option that suits your needs and reorder as necessary

      11. Click Save

As you can see, there are many customization options available by clicking on the Site Navigation item in the left column of the page. The options in this area include general items (i.e., contact, stakeholders, submission policy), the intended use, custom sort, term driven pages, and custom properties.

To use the new Managed Metadata Navigation, you must now apply the menu to your site collections by leaving Central Administration on opening Site Settings.

  1. Go to Site Settings on the site collection you want to apply the menu to

  2. Click on Navigation under the Look and Feel section

  3. Under the Global Navigation section select Managed Navigation

  4. On the left side of the page, select the node that contains your menu

  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on OK

In SharePoint 2013, Managed Metadata Navigation is intended to provide a solution to an issue that nearly everyone who manages SharePoint has run up against.  No longer will you have to manually update navigation on multiple site collections or create a custom code solution to implement consistent site navigation.  Utilizing SharePoint 2013’s Managed Metadata Navigation features can save hours of custom development work, and makes it easy to implement a highly usable and manageable navigation structure.

In future blog posts, we will explore the advanced features of Managed Metadata Navigation, including SEO Optimization and Term Driven Pages.  Credera has extensive experience in designing, planning, and implementing SharePoint solutions. If you have questions about this blog post or SharePoint, please contact us.