How to create custom navigation menu in SharePoint with XML data source

Did you ever wanted to create completely custom menu in SharePoint and use some common way to manage the navigation nodes?

In this post I’ll show you how to build custom navigation with an XML file as a navigation source and treeview as display control.


And what is the benefit of this approach?


Because navigation nodes are defined in XML file, nodes can be managed manually or retrieved automatically. XML file can be retrieved from anywhere or even constructed and manipulated by custom code. One of simpler approaches would be even to have data source available as XML web service.



Another benefit is XML structure. Structure below is just a sample. Structure can be more complex or completely different or contain a lot more information. It’s up to you to define which information is in element and what in attributes.

Maybe you even have an XML schema already defined somewhere and you just reuse it….

Create navigation source

Create sample xml file with nodes that should be displayed in navigation menu.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<Menu name="MyNavigation">
    <Folder name="Technical Links">
        <Node name="Microsoft" url=""></Node>
        <Node name="MSDN" url=""></Node>
        <Node name="TechNet" url=""></Node>
    <Folder name="Links">
        <Node name="My Blog" url=""></Node>
        <Node name="Microsoft Slovenia" url=""></Node>

Save file as “MyNavSource.xml” on SharePoint. I used Pages library for this post.

Create blank aspx file

On SharePoint create a blank aspx file and save it as “NavigationPost.aspx”.


Add SPXMLDatasource in NavigationPost.aspx

  • Click on a “Data Source Library”.
  • Under XML Files create new data source by clicking “Add an XML file…”
  • Point “Source” to XML file created at the beginning (MyNavSource.xml)


  • In Data Source Library click on MyNavSource.xml and then select “Insert Data Source Control


File NavigationPost.aspx should look like this:


Add TreeView control

  • Select Toolbox


  • Insert TreeView


  • Click on TreeView and set Data Source to SPXmlDataSource1


  • File NavigationPost.aspx should now look like this:


  • In a browser is should look like this:


  • Because sample XML file uses attributes name and url edit the DataBindings for TreeView control


  • For node set binding as set on picture


  • Preview should look like this:


  • Autoformat the treeview if necessary…



  • In SharePoint Designer click Format, Master Page, Attach Master Page



It is also possible to use aspmenu control instead of Treeview. That would look like this:


Comments (11)
  1. Praveen.Pemmaraju says:

    hi nice article … I wanted to check with you how do we security trim the menu / site map

    meaning i want to show the links to only those who have access to

    Thanking you in advance

  2. binojpb says:

    Awesome Post.  Could you also explain How I can replace my Quick Launch menu with this kind of custom made menu?

  3. Woody says:

    Useful post dude, using a similar method now on sp2010 direct from db!

  4. Woody says:

    Useful post dude, using a similar method now on sp2010 direct from db!

  5. Michal M. says:

    Thanks. Very useful. I have struggled with this for 3 days… and finally moved forward with your help.

    I am trying to bind normal sharepoint list as data source and I feel that with your example I eventualy succed.

  6. Akilan says:

    Hi, is it possible to create further sub-node levels? We have a requirement upto 7-levels of navigation. Thanks

  7. Chris says:

    I need sub-node levels too. Any hints out there?

  8. Hyde says:

    I need something like this for 2010… anyone have anything?

  9. satish d says:

    i need some thing like this for topnavigation menu and quicklanch for sharepoint 2010 if any one having at least top navigation?

  10. Malin says:

    This saved me, really good article!

Comments are closed.

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