How To Administer a Joomla Web Site — Part 3: Menu Administration

Our previous two articles covered creating categories and creating articles within them. Natrually, we will now follow up with how to get your articles to appear on your web site. This requires you to work with Joomla’s menu system.

Basically, in Joomla, the menu system is key. For 90% of items on a menu, it’s a simple associative relationship of (1) add something to the menu structure, and (2) link that thing to an article. For 5% of things, it’s a bit more complicated because instead of linking to one article, you’re creating a blog-style feed. For the remaining 5%, it’s any number of one-off type scenarios.

Let’s say you want a menu item called “About Us” that will link to your “About Us” article. To accomplish that, you would (for 99% of clients) go to Menus → Main Menu. you would then click NEW to instantiate a new item for you menu. By default, the new item will be at the same root level as your Home menu item. We will cover drop-down menu items in a bit… The main items will be as highlighted here:

So, the menu title is what it will say on the menu. In this case, it’s “About Us”. But, you could type “About” or “About XYZ Corp.” etc.

The Menu Item Type is a critical one. In 90% of cases, clients just need to create a menu item and link it to an article. This is the menu item type called “Single Article”. So, click SELECT, and then in the popup that comes up, click ARTICLES, and there you will see the Single Article choice. Select that one.

Next, under “Select Article” you can hit “Select” to be able to choose which article to link to. It’s pretty easy to do, and you’ll have many ways of filtering and selecting the articles that show (handy for very large sites with hundreds or thousands of articles).

Similar to the other topics described above, the menu screen will also allow for an alias, and here it’s more critical than elsewhere, as the menu aliases always wind up in the page URLs. Usually Joomla will do a good job of creating your alias, though, so you should let Joomla worry about this in most cases.

The only other tool you may want to use on this page would be the “Parent Item” drop-down. This is how you would create drop-down menu items. For example, maybe you have an “About” menu, and then you want “Meet the Team” below that as a drop-down. So, in this case, when you’re setting up the “Meet the Team” menu item, you would select “About” as the parent. It can be easy to forget to assign a parent item when you’re creating a menu item, so don’t get too frustrated if you see your new item as a main menu choice, but you didn’t intend that to happen. If so, just go back into the item you created and correct the parent.

That will do it for basic menu item creation. Keep in mind that this guide is meant as very basic, just to provide some fundamental orientation and guidance on using Joomla.

Jim Dee heads up Array Web Development, LLC in Portland, OR. He’s the editor of “Web Designer | Web Developer” magazine and a contributor to many online publications. You can reach him at: Jim [at]