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Secret SharePoint: Hiding and Showing Navigation

Secret SharePoint: Hiding and Showing Navigation

by: Robert Bogue 08 May 2018

SharePoint, as a platform, serves multiple purposes.  It can do collaboration and information management, and it can be a navigation portal that helps users find the resources they need to get their job done.  Sometimes, however, it’s more important to present guard rails to help users end up in the right place.  It’s more than helping find the places they have access to – it’s hiding those places they may have access to but that they typically don’t go to.

Link Lists as Navigation

SharePoint offers a wealth of navigation tools – as you would expect with a tool that can be used as a portal.  When considering navigation, most folks focus on top navigation and quick launch, since they are (mostly) ever-present navigation options.  Office 365 adds the ability to add to the application launcher – and on-premises versions of SharePoint allow access to change the suite bar (the very top bar on pages).  However, another powerful way to do navigation is to create a list of links and to use those links as navigation.

SharePoint Link Lists

One of the predefined lists that SharePoint has is a list that contains links.  This list type can be created directly from the menu when you’re creating a list – or you can create your own custom list and add a URL field to it.  Either can then be displayed as a list of links anywhere within a site.  Adding another navigation option isn’t what makes the link lists powerful.  What makes them powerful is the ability to manage security on individual items.

By default, SharePoint inherits permission from larger containers (sites, lists and libraries) to smaller containers (folders), and down into the items.  Despite the general guidance provided in Secret SharePoint: Permissions and Inheritance you can – and should – break inheritance in a navigation list that you want to hide irrelevant links to.  The number of unique permissions won’t get anywhere near SharePoint’s 50,000 limit for a list.  Unique permissions will, however, activate SharePoint’s security trimming functionality to hide the links when a user doesn’t have permission – regardless of whether they have access to the site that is targeted by the link.

You can create a set of links that are filtered by group – or by individual user – by setting individual permissions on link items.

My Links Are Special

Another way to leverage links that are useful to the user – and ones that you don’t have to manage – is to create a list and set the list so that only the creator can see the items in the list.  This means that you can’t create items for other users, but it does dramatically simplify management of items.  Since only the creator of an item can see it, it’s necessary for them to create their own entries.

Suzi might need the accounting system.  Bill needs the logistics management system.  Jane needs the maintenance system.  They manage their own links.


About the Author

Robert Bogue is a thought leader on all things SharePoint and an engaging presenter who speaks at events around the world.  Rob has been awarded the Microsoft MVP designation fourteen times, and earned recognition as a Microsoft patterns & practices Champion.  Rob holds certifications from Microsoft: MCPD, MCITP, MCTS, MCSA: Security, MCSE, as well as CompTia: A+, Network+, Server+, I-Net+, IT Project+, E-Biz+, CDIA+.  Rob also served as a team member for the SharePoint Guidance.  He is the author of 25 books.  Robert is committed to “making the complicated, simple.”  Find out more about SharePoint made simple at www.SharePointShepherd.com and follow Rob’s blog at www.ThorProjects.com/blog/.  You can also contact Rob at Rob.Bogue@ThorProjects.com.

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