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Managed Navigation(or Term based navigation) in SharePoint 2013 – How manageable is it and how to configure global navigation across multiple site collections

Managed navigation is introduced in SharePoint 2013. It provides a great way to build and manage navigation of a site collection and completely decouples the navigation from the actual site structure. The following post explains nicely how to configure navigation –

Term based navigation in SharePoint 2013

Now, coming to the manageability part, you can manage navigation for a site collection very easily by simply managing its navigation termset.

Unfortunately, all these bells and whistles are only limited to a particular site collection. SharePoint 2013 allows a termset to be associated only to a single site collection for navigation. So, if you want to have a consistent/same navigation across multiple site collections, there is no direct way to implement and manage it. Let us analyse the indirect ways in detail :

1) Create a master navigation termset with all the required navigation terms in the proper order. Associate it to the site collection to provide the navigation structure. For any other site collection which needs the same navigation, create a new navigation termset (dont add any new terms) and reuse/pin all the terms from the master navigation termset. Follow the same process for all site collections that need the same navigation.

Note : Add the url to each term as “Simple Link or Header”, else in many scenarios, it will not appear for other site collections.

Let us discuss the pros and cons of this approach –


a) Any name/property changes (except some – mentioned in cons) to terms in master termset will be reflected across all other termsets with reused/pinned terms.
b) The term GUIDs in reused term sets are same as the master termset. This will be helpful to manage them via code/powershell.


a) Since, you need to create a separate termset for each site collection, the no of termsets may be huge.
b) The custom order of terms and child terms in master termset is not propagated to other termsets even though they reuse the same terms.
c) If a navigation url is changed for a term in master termset, it also doesnot get propagated to other termsets.

You can write a powershell to create terms, reuse terms in other termsets, set the term order and also for propagation of order to reused terms, association of termset to site collection etc. This will ease a lot of burden. I will share a script very soon.

2) Create a completely custom navigation provider which uses the termset as the source for links and builds the navigation by itself. I will share a sample soon.

3) Write a custom javascript to workaround these issues to a good extent. A nice sample is available in the following blog –

Building global navigation in SharePoint 2013


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