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A wiki's local navigation is the menu that can be found in the page header at the top of all pages. It provides useful links to the most important and interesting pages on your wiki. A well-crafted navigation menu will help readers find key content that they are looking for.

When deciding how to organize your local navigation bar and what content to include, you'll need to put yourself into your visitor's shoes, think about what they are most likely to be looking for, and provide a straight path to as much relevant wiki content as possible.

Keep in mind that almost all visitors to your wiki come to read articles, not to create them. Editors only make up 0.05 percent of Fandom's visitors, and while wikis couldn't even exist without their hard work, the local navigation bar should first and foremost serve your readers. Editors create awesome content, and the navigation bar helps readers find it, while other site elements, such as the bottom tool bar help editors access the tools they need.

Default navigation bar elements

MCU local nav

The navigation menu can be found in the page header at the top of every wiki page. It has the option to add up to four customizable menu options, in addition to the "Explore" menu and "Discuss" button.

  • The "Explore" tab is always present in the navigation and provides important wiki links, including WikiActivity, Random page, Community (if enabled), Videos, and Images. This menu is not customizable and no additional links may be added.
  • "Discuss" links to your wiki's Discussions.
    • Note: if Discussions and Forum are both enabled, "Discuss" will lead to Discussions while Forum will appear in the "Explore" menu. If Forum is enabled but not Discussions, you will see a "Forum" button instead that leads to the Forum. If neither feature is enabled, "Discuss" will not appear. When you are already on Discussions, the "Discuss" link will also not appear in the navigation.
  • On the right, it indicates a cosmetic header image that can be uploaded from Theme Designer.
  • On the top right corner of the page header, there is a page count along with a few buttons that access to various tools (For more info, see Help:Header shortcuts). All users will see the "Add New Page" button, registered users will see the Wiki Activity button next to it along with the more shortcuts button next to the Wiki Activity button and administrators will also see a button to the Admin Dashboard.
  • On the left, there is a graphical wordmark, along with the community name, where both can be customized via Theme Designer.

Customizing your navigation

Editing navigation items

If you are an administrator, you can edit the navigation menu at MediaWiki:Wiki-navigation. You can also access this in your Admin Dashboard by clicking Top Navigation.

Each item in the navigation bar is represented by a line in MediaWiki:Wiki-navigation page. Level 1 items are prefixed with one asterisk (*), level 2 items are prefixed with two asterisks, and level 3 items are prefixed with 3 asterisks. Like so:

Wiki nav editing

After the asterisk, type the name of the page you are linking to. If you want the name to display differently than the page's actual name, set a pipe between the name of the page and the text you want to display. For example, if you are linking to a page called Lion but you want to display it as Kitten, use Lion|Kitten after the asterisk.

If you don't want a navigation item to link to anything, add #| in front of it. For example, a navigation bar set to

* #|Movies
** Prequel trilogy
** Sequel trilogy
* #|Videogames
** First videogame
** Second videogame
** #|In Development
*** Untitled Third Videogame|Third game
*** Spin-off (Game)|Recently announced spin-off title

will contain:

  • Two Level 1 navigation items, Movies and Videogames, that aren't linking to any pages.
  • Four Level 2 navigation items, two being under Movies and linking to Prequel trilogy and Sequel trilogy pages on your wiki, and two being under Videogames and linking to First videogame and Second videogame, with In Development not linking to anything.
  • Two Level 3 navigation items under In Development, first linking to the Untitled Third Videogame page on your wiki and displaying the text Third game, and a second one linking to Spin-off (Game) and displaying the text Recently announced spin-off title.

After you make your changes, you will need to Preview the changes before you can Publish them. The Preview button is located beneath the Edit Summary box. The Preview button will show your new navigation and check for errors in the wiki text. For example, it will report an error if you try to use a Magic Word in a Level 1 or Level 3 menu item. It will also run a width validator tool which will inform you if your menu items are too wide to display at the minimum width of the site.

Width validator

If there are any problems, you will need to return back to the editor to adjust your navigation. When your preview contains no errors, the Publish button will appear in the preview window. Click it and your new navigation will be live.

Wiki nav menu levels

How many links can it contain?

The Navigation menu offers a maximum of 312 links, although it is not necessary to use all of them. The links are grouped as:

  • 4 Level 1 links which combine for a total width of 550px. These are the links that are always visible above the colored menu bar.
  • 7 Level 2 links with a maximum total width of 729px. These are the links that appear on the colored bar when hovering over any of the level 1 links.
  • 10 Level 3 links with a dynamic width and a minimum width of 150px. These appear as dropdown style menus under each of the level 2 links.

It is best to showcase as much relevant content as possible in a clearly organized fashion, without overstuffing your navigation. Include links to those categories and pages that are most important for readers, while leaving out any links that are only useful for editors or that are already built into Fandom's interface. For example, links to contact Fandom staff, create a new page, or access RecentChanges can already be found elsewhere on every page, and links to special pages or editing guidelines are only relevant to editors and shouldn't take up a navigation bar slot.

No additional links or menu levels may be added with custom CSS or JavaScript.

Auto-populating the menu

You can use magic words to automatically fill in menu items. Note that these are heavily affected by caching, and it may still be better to list out specific pages instead.

Supported magic words:

  • #categoryX# — lists the top pages from the Xth-biggest category on a wiki (replace "X" with a number greater than 0)
  • #category-Y# — lists the top pages from Category:Y (replace "Y" with the name of your category)

Since magic words generate lists of pages, they may only be used as Level 2 menu items; the list they generate will appear as the Level 3 menu items. All of the magic words list a maximum of 7 pages.

Note: don't forget to include the # symbols around the magic words you choose to use.

Next pages

Further help and feedback

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