Navigation File Names and Storage Locations

On this page, you’ll learn:

  • The ways visitors can navigation to site pages.

  • The purpose of a navigation file.

  • The navigation file’s extension and naming rules.

  • Common and alternate navigation file storage locations.

All of the AsciiDoc files in a pages directory are automatically published to your site by Antora. That means visitors can find a page using search tools, through links on other site pages, and in some scenarios, through dropdown menus such as the page version selector. When you want visitors to be able to locate and go to a page using a component navigation menu, then you must add a cross reference (xref) to that page in the appropriate navigation source file.

What is a navigation source file?

A navigation source file is a list of page cross references, resource links, external URIs, and other content that is marked up in AsciiDoc and stored at the base of a module. If registered in a component descriptor (antora.yml), the contents of the navigation file will be incorporated into a component menu and published to a site.

Navigation files must end with the AsciiDoc file extension (.adoc). They are typically named nav.adoc; however, you can use any name that is meaningful to you. Feel free to name your navigation files kaboom.adoc if that’s what makes your team happy.

Navigation file storage locations

A common pattern we see is for each module to contain its own navigation file. Modules already represent logical groups of concepts or objectives, so it’s likely that you’d arrange the xrefs to that module’s pages into a continuous, hierarchical flow of navigation menu entries. This also reduces the number of coordinates the page IDs in the xrefs require when you add a page to the navigation file.

Navigation files should be stored at the base of a module, i.e., at the same level as the module’s pages directory. Don’t save navigation files inside pages, otherwise the navigation files will be converted to individual pages and published as pages.

Multiple navigation files per module

A module can contain more than one navigation file. This functionality helps you finely tune the navigation list order when you register the navigation files in a component descriptor.

Alternative storage patterns

Storing a navigation file in the module it references the most simplifies the page cross references entered into it. It also helps writers locate the navigation that may be affected when they add pages to, or remove pages from, a module. However, links to other modules' pages (and even other components' pages) can be entered into any module’s navigation file. You’ll just need to add the module coordinate (or component coordinate) to the cross references you create in the navigation file. For example, you could store a single navigation file in a component’s ROOT module, and, instead of having navigation files in each module that may exist in the component, you could just add the cross references to pages in those other modules directly to the ROOT module’s navigation file.

What’s next?