Adding a Menu Item or Button to an Existing Menu

To create a menu item you must already have an article to link it to. So, create your article first and save it.

This tutorial is for adding or editing menu item (button) on an existing menu.

Adding a New Menu Item (Button) to an Existing Menu

Select menus from the Joomla main menu menu bar. From the download list, choose the menu you wish to work with. This will open the Menu Item. Manager page.



Each menu in your site is listed here. The main menu is your site’s main navigation bar. The rest are lesser menus usually on sidebars of pages or footers.

From the row of actions in the drop down, select New (big green button) to add a new menu or choose an existing menu to edit. Remember that as soon as you save your changes will be live. You should choose to work on important parts of your site, such as menus, at low traffic times in case you make a mistake.



Your Menu Item Editor window looks like this:


Menu Item Details

  • Title – This will be the text displayed for the newly added menu item. For this particular case let's use the word Documentation.
  • Alias – Usually, you will leave this empty and Joomla! will fill this in for you automatically. The content of this field will determine the page URL when SEF is activated. You may also change it to whatever you want but it must all be lower case, no spaces, and hyphens.
  • Display in – This should already be set to Main Menu (or the menu you have previously chosen). Here you have the possibility to move the item to another menu if you wish. This field is quite useful when you decide to change the item location later.
  • Parent Item – Here you can specify where to place the new menu item. You can make it a top item or a sub-item of an already existing item. We will choose Top.
  • Published – If you wish your new item to be shown on your site, set this to Yes. If you would like to remove this menu item from the site, simply set this to No. It will not delete the item but will make it invisible to your visitors.
  • Access Level – This option will specify who will be able to see this new menu item:
    • Public - All visitors
    • Registered - Registered users only
    • Special - users assigned to any group besides "Registered"
  • On Click, Open in – Here you can specify how to open the article. It can be the same browser window (Parent Window with Browser Navigation), a new browser window (New Window with Browser navigation) or a pop-up window (New Window without Browser Navigation)

Create a New Menu Item or Button

The first thing you need to do is select a Menu Item type. This lets Joomla know what type of menu you want to create. The power of Joomla is not just on the robustness of the CMS, but the ability to create many types of menus. For example, should you want to link to many articles at once, first associate them to a specific category, the create a menu that displays that category. When you click on the menu you will open a page that has a list of links to all the articles in that category. This allows you to quickly display a lot of content without having to physically link it all.


For now, we are linking just one article so you will be choosing Single Article.

Immediately, the right sidebar changes to select the article you want to link to. Click on Select/Change and find your article.


I usually disable the Article Options because I have already created Global Options for all the articles.

Link options is also nothing you have to worry about.

Page Display Options is very important. The Browser Page Title is the title that you see at the top of your browser as you surf the net. In the Show Page Heading select Yes. Page Heading is the big header title for your page. Leave page class empty since I have already designated a style for this.


Metadata Options is where you enter your descriptions and keywords for the search engines. I have already designated the Global Option for the Robots to follow. If you don’t want this page indexed by the robots, change the setting here. Joomla allows you to customize your SEO metadata in each menu, article and article category.



Menu Hierarchy

If this menu is going to show up in the top the hierarchy (for example the main menus that show in the main navigation bar, not the dropdown submenus below any of the main menus) then it will just be added at the end of the menus list. Once you save the menu you will have to move it up to the place in the list that you want it to display in. Click on the little blue arrow next to the menu to move it up or down. In Joomla 3.0 you can physically grab the menu and drop it into position.


If this menu is a dropdown submenu, then you need to change the parent item to the menu that it will be dropping down from. If for example you have an About Us page which has a submenu below it named Location, then location’s parent would be the About Us menu. It will display as a submenu in the dropdown menus below About Us.


menus explainedgraphic


If you didn't change the menu status and it is published, once you click save it will be live.


Creating Category Menus

Joomla is powered by a MySQL Database. It works, like any database, with hierarchies. This allows you to group articles by assigning them to a category and quickly create category menus that display all the articles in a single category without having to physically link them all. This is a very powerful function. If you want to add content automatically, once you are linking a menu to a category, any new articles that you create will show up in the page as soon as you assign the category to the article.  You can also add sub-categories to categories and so on.

TIP: Remember that all names in Joomla should be unique. So, I have created a naming convention where I name my articles "pages" or "articles" at the end, categories "cat" at the end, etc. That way I know that the database won't have a name conflict.

Create a new category. Enter a name, select a parent if this is a subcategory, and save. You can choose to add metadata to the categories now, or you can come back later.



Next, create your articles or assign this new category to articles you already have.



Now, go to your menus manager and choose the menu you want to add the category menu item to. Click the big orange plus sign to create a new menu, choose category for the menu type. Choose the category you want to include. Then you can play with all the options. You can choose to show the first article but list all the rest, or you can show them all listed, etc. Joomla gives you many choices.


Click Here to see a complete list of menu types and their descriptions.