SharePoint Online: How to Enable Global Navigation using the App Bar?

Requirement: Add global navigation in modern SharePoint Online

Understanding SharePoint Global Navigation

Before we dive into the specifics of creating and customizing global navigation, let’s first understand what it is and why it’s essential in SharePoint.

What is Global Navigation? Global navigation, also known as top-level navigation, refers to the main menu that appears at the top of your SharePoint site. It is visible throughout the site and provides users with quick access to important sections and pages. SharePoint’s new global navigation menu is a crucial element that allows users to easily access and explore various sections of your SharePoint platform.

To plan your SharePoint global navigation effectively:

  1. Identify the key sections and pages that are most important for your users.
  2. Group related content into logical categories to simplify navigation.
  3. Prioritize the order of navigation items based on their importance and frequency of use.
  4. Create a hierarchical structure for your navigation, starting with top-level categories and drilling down to specific pages or subsections.

How to Create Global Navigation in SharePoint Online?

You may probably know that there is no global navigation in SharePoint Online. This can be a bit confusing if you work with multiple site collections, as you have to navigate back and forth to access different sites. Luckily, we have the new App Bar – The latest addition introduced to Microsoft Sharepoint Online, which provides quick access to sites, Recent files, News, and other commonly used features, located on the left-hand side. In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the fundamentals of SharePoint global navigation. Let’s look at how to use the App Bar in Sharepoint Online to create global navigation across site collections to provide a consistent navigation experience.

Although we have implemented managed navigation using term sets in the past (Create Managed metadata for navigation, Enable Publishing feature, and set the site navigation to “Managed Metadata” in SharePoint Server), there are some drawbacks like It doesn’t work for Modern group-connected SharePoint sites, non-responsive and changes may not reflect immediately. Now, You can enable global navigation in SharePoint Online in a few simple steps. This will give your users an easy way to navigate between sites within your organization. Plus, it’s a great way to improve the usability of your intranet.


  1. You have a Home site configured in SharePoint Online. A home site is typically a communication site that serves as the central hub for important content.
  2. You have enabled the new SharePoint App Bar feature – How to Enable or Disable the App Bar in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?

Add global navigation in SharePoint Online using the Home site and App Bar

How do I create global navigation in SharePoint online? By default, the global navigation is not enabled in the App bar. Let’s see how to create global navigation in SharePoint Online using the App Bar:

  1. Login to your “Home Site” with the site owner or higher permissions, and customize the home site’s navigation items (You can find your home site/configure home site from SharePoint Admin Center >> Settings >> Home Site. More instructions on SharePoint Home sites: Getting Started with SharePoint Online Home Sites). sharepoint online global navigation bar
  2. Register the Home site as a Hub site, so that we can use the Hub Navigation. From the “Active Sites” list >> Select the Home site >> Click on “Hub” in the toolbar >> Click on “Register as Hub”
  3. Navigate to the Home site >> Click the Settings icon from the Home site, then “Global Navigation”. (It takes a moment to get this menu item If you have just configured the home site!).how to create global navigation in sharepoint online
  4. Turn on the Enable global navigation option. Optionally, You can add a custom logo size of 20×20 pixels with a transparent background for the Home site logo on the app bar.
  5. Configure the links for global navigation by clicking “Edit Global Navigation”. You can add links/edit links or labels with the specific sites and important intranet resources that are most critical in your environment and build the mega menu. You can also enable site navigation audience to target links to specific employee groups.sharepoint online home site global navigation
  6. You can configure either custom global navigation or have the global navigation be sourced from your home site navigation. I have set the “Navigation Source” to “Hub or global Navigation”. Hit save to commit all your changes.

This replaces the default Home icon (linked to the SharePoint Online Start page) with the “Global Navigation”. Here are the before and after screenshots:

App bar Home Icon without Global Navigation – Linking to the SharePoint start page (

With the Global Navigation tab replaced the Home:

This App bar can be displayed in Microsoft Teams as well! Microsoft Documentation:

Points to Ponder:

  • It’s a good idea to hide the site navigation when you have Global navigation implemented (Setting >> Change the look >>Header >> Choose Extended).
  • The SharePoint app bar applies only to the modern SharePoint sites in the tenant – Classic SharePoint sites don’t get the app bar (One another reason to migrate classic sites to the modern experience, other than consistent user experience!).
  • Apart from the Home site, you can also use the Hub site navigation to establish consistent top navigation across all sites associated with the hub.
  • Setting audience targeting on the global navigation links is also possible.

Best practices for SharePoint global navigation

Some best practices for SharePoint global navigation include:

  1. Keeping navigation labels clear, concise, and descriptive.
  2. Using consistent naming conventions and terminology throughout the navigation.
  3. Limiting the number of top-level navigation items to prevent overwhelming users.
  4. Regularly reviewing and updating the navigation structure to ensure it remains relevant and accurate.
  5. Testing the navigation on different devices and screen sizes to ensure a responsive and mobile-friendly experience.


SharePoint Global navigation helps establish a Better Site Structure, organizing your site’s content into logical categories, making it easier to manage and maintain. It can significantly enhance the user experience and make your site more accessible and engaging. By understanding the fundamentals of global navigation, planning your navigation structure carefully, and implementing it effectively using SharePoint’s navigation settings, you can create a navigation menu that guides users seamlessly through your site. Remember to keep your navigation clear, concise, and user-focused, and regularly review and update it to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

What is SharePoint Global Navigation?

SharePoint Global Navigation is the top navigation bar that appears across all SharePoint sites within a site collection. It provides a consistent way for users to access commonly used sites, lists, libraries, and other resources.

Why is global navigation important in SharePoint?

Global navigation enhances user experience by simplifying access to important sites, documents, and pages within SharePoint. It aids in efficient information retrieval, supports organizational structure, and promotes branding consistency. Furthermore, It improves the user experience by providing a clear and intuitive way to navigate the site.

What is the difference between global navigation and local navigation in SharePoint?

Global navigation appears consistently across all sites within a SharePoint environment, providing links to major areas of the site collection. Local navigation, on the other hand, is specific to a particular site within the collection, offering links relevant to that site’s content.

Can global navigation be targeted to specific user groups in SharePoint?

Yes, with modern SharePoint features like audience targeting, you can customize global navigation to display specific links to different user groups based on their roles, departments, or other criteria, ensuring that navigation is relevant to each user’s needs.

What are the different types of navigation in SharePoint?

In SharePoint, there are primarily two types of navigation: Global Navigation and Current Navigation. Global Navigation provides links that are accessible across the entire SharePoint site collection, serving as a consistent top-level menu. Current Navigation, also known as Quick Launch or Local Navigation, displays links relevant to the current site or subsite, varying from one location to another within the SharePoint environment.

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack - Information Technology Expert with Two-decades of hands-on experience, specializing in SharePoint, PowerShell, Microsoft 365, and related products. He has held various positions including SharePoint Architect, Administrator, Developer and consultant, has helped many organizations to implement and optimize SharePoint solutions. Known for his deep technical expertise, He's passionate about sharing the knowledge and insights to help others, through the real-world articles!

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