SharePoint Navigation and top link bar

Copper Contributor

I have a SharePoint Online site with a big site hierarchy (Lots of subsites containing folders and sub folders)  I have a top link navigation bar that shows the sub sites, and when you are inside a subsite, the 'site navigation visibility' is set to 'on' with vertical orientation.  Me as admin that has access throughout the site can see the toplink bar as well as the vertical navigation.  

But the site members that only has access to certain folders, can not see the top link or the vertical navigation.  How can I activate that for the site users to be able to navigate through the subsites and folders?

In the image below, one can see the navigation at the top and on the left, but the end users do not see either of these navigation.  Please help?


2 Replies


In SharePoint Online, the visibility of navigation elements like the top link bar and left-side navigation (quick launch) can be controlled based on user permissions and the structure of your site. It is important to understand how SharePoint handles navigation for different user groups and site structures.

Here is how you can ensure that site members can see the navigation elements:

  1. Permissions:
  • Ensure that site members have appropriate permissions to view the content within the subsites and folders. They need at least "Read" access to see navigation elements.
  1. Navigation Settings:
  • Top Link Bar: By default, the top link bar is typically visible to all users with sufficient permissions. To check if it is enabled:
    • Go to Site Settings.
    • Under "Look and Feel," select "Navigation."
    • Make sure the "Show subsites" or "Show pages" options are selected.
  • Left-Side Navigation (Quick Launch): The left-side navigation is often used for quick access to site content. You can control its visibility at various levels of your site hierarchy:
    • Navigate to the specific subsite where you want to configure the left-side navigation.
    • Go to Site Settings.
    • Under "Look and Feel," select "Navigation."
    • Ensure that "Enable Quick Launch" is checked. Also, check "Display this site on the Quick Launch" if you want the subsite to appear in the left-side navigation of the parent site.
  1. Navigation Security Trimming:
  • SharePoint applies security trimming to navigation elements, which means users will only see links to sites, libraries, or folders they have permissions to access. If a user does not have access to a particular subsite or folder, it will not appear in their navigation.
  • Make sure that site members have appropriate permissions on the subsites, libraries, or folders that you want to be visible in the navigation. If they do not have access, those items will not be displayed to them.
  1. Inheritance:
  • Check whether your navigation settings are inherited from the parent site. If you customized navigation settings for a subsite, it might not inherit the parent site's settings.
  1. Modern vs. Classic Experience:
  • Depending on whether you are using the modern or classic experience, the navigation settings may differ. In the modern experience, navigation settings are often controlled through site settings and site designs.
  1. Audience Targeting (Optional):
  • SharePoint allows you to target navigation links to specific audiences. You can configure this if you want to show certain links to specific groups of users. However, audience targeting is a more advanced feature and requires careful configuration.

If after checking these settings, site members still cannot see the navigation elements, it is possible there might be specific permission issues or customizations that need to be addressed. In such cases, it may be helpful to review your site's unique permissions and any custom navigation configurations to ensure they align with your intended navigation structure for all users. If you continue to face issues, consulting with a SharePoint administrator or support team may be necessary to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. The text and steps were edited with the help of AI.


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I found the problem. It is so silly, but maybe it might help someone else in the future. The browser screen of the user were zoomed in, it removed the menu items and switched to a mobile view (if I can call it that) When we zoomed out of the screen, the menus (top bar and quick nav) become visible.