SharePoint Navigation Settings and Audience Quirks

Besides the navigation settings and permissions on a specific Web, the Pages list permissions and audience settings also need to be taken into account to determine the items that will appear in the SharePoint navigation menu.

  • Are you wondering why some items appear in the navigation for some users, while not for others?
  • Did you already check all possible settings for the navigation controls?
  • Did you also looked into the Navigation Settings and tried to tweak all possible values?
  • Did you make sure the permissions were properly set for each Web?
  • Are you still struggling for why some items still do not appear for some users, which have more than enough rights, while they appear for others?

Besides the Navigation Settings (Site Actions > Site Settings > Modify Navigation), the SharePoint navigation is also controlled by the permissions in each Web and Pages list, but also, and importantly, it is also defined by the default page in the Pages list. This default page can have specific Target Audiences that will control if it will appear or not in the navigation for a given user.

Default page Target Audiences
Default page Target Audiences

Even if a user has access permissions for a given Web, it may still not see the respective item in the navigation, if the default page in the Pages library has specific Target Audiences that prevent him from seeing it. This is a somewhat confusing behavior, but it also makes some sense after one is aware of it.

In these cases, SharePoint cannot create a link for the Web in the navigation, because the link points to the default page of the Web and the page will be targeted for only a subset of users, thus the Web itself and all items under it will not show up in the navigation for the given user.

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