Tutorial - implementing Nice Menus

As our site grows, simply showing the menu items in a strip across the middle is not enough to cope with all the pages. There are various options for navigation in a larger website, but here we are going to look at how to implement drop-down menus in Drupal. Drop down menus can be implemented by adding a module called Nice Menus.

Installing the Nice Menus module

We’re not going to dwell to much on the options for Nice Menus since there is plenty of documentation available elsewhere, so we’ll just go through the steps required to install and utilise this module on our Instant Indicia website.

  1. First, download the latest recommended release of the Nice Menus module for Drupal 6, from http://drupal.org/project/nice_menus. I chose the zip file for version 6.x-2.1.
  2. Unzip the file and place the resulting nice_menus folder inside the sites/all/modules folder within your Instant Indicia installation.
  3. Whilst you are doing the modules, also download the latest recommended release for Drupal 6 of the Special Menu Items module from http://drupal.org/project/special_menu_items. Unzip and copy the module folder over as before. This module allows for menu items that don’t actually link anywhere, such as menu titles.
  4. Visit the Site building > Modules page using the admin menu in your Drupal website and find the 2 new modules. Tick the boxes to enable them and click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page.

Enabling Nice Menus

The Nice Menus module does not replace the default menu display, but it does provide blocks which can be added to any or all pages. To put a Nice Menu onto our website for the main “Primary Links” menu:

  1. Select Site building > Blocks > List on the admin menu.
  2. Find “Nice menu 1” in the list of blocks, this is one of the two blocks that Nice Menus creates for you by default. Click the configure link.
  3. Change the following settings:
    • Block title to “<none>” since we don’t want a title displayed over our menu.
    • Menu Name to “Primary links”
    • Menu Parent to “<Primary Links>” (it will be near the bottom)
    • Menu Style to “down” so that the menu flows left to right and sub-menus drop

Now, save the block settings. On the block list page, beside your Nice Menu 1 block there is a drop down allowing you to choose which section of the page you want to put the block into, so choose “Navigate”. The page should look like this:

Adding our Nice Menu block to the page

Finally, click the Save blocks button.

Organising the menu

Although Nice Menus is capable of displaying a drop down menu hierarchy, our menu is still only 1 level deep so we won’t see the benefits of the changes yet. To change our menu:

  1. Select the Site building > Menus > List menus option from the admin menu.

  2. Click on the link for the Primary links menu, which is the main menu used for navigating our website.

  3. Click the Add item link, to add a new menu item for the menu heading. We are going to add a menu heading called “Submit Records” and put our existing forms beneath it.

  4. Set the Path to “nolink”, which is a special value allowed by Special Menu Items to indicate a menu item that does not actually go anywhere.

  5. Set the Menu link title to “Submit Records”.

  6. Set the Description to “Submit records of your wildlife”.

  7. Click the Save button to add the new item.

  8. Now, use the drag crosshairs to move the 2 data entry forms’ menu items beneath the Submit Records item, and indent them to the right indicating the hierarchical structure of the menu. Your page should now look like the following:

    Organising the Submit Records menu

    Click Save configuration button then check that you now have a drop down menu working.