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How TO - Dropdown Sidebar

Learn how to add a dropdown menu inside a side navigation.

Dropdown Menu in Sidenav

Try it Yourself »

Create A Dropdown Sidebar

Step 1) Add HTML:


<div class="sidenav">
  <a href="#about">About</a>
  <a href="#services">Services</a>
  <a href="#clients">Clients</a>
  <a href="#contact">Contact</a>
  <button class="dropdown-btn">Dropdown
    <i class="fa fa-caret-down"></i>
  <div class="dropdown-container">
    <a href="#">Link 1</a>
    <a href="#">Link 2</a>
    <a href="#">Link 3</a>
  <a href="#contact">Search</a>

Example Explained

Use any element to open the dropdown menu, e.g. a <button>, <a> or <p> element.

Use a container element (like <div>) to create the dropdown menu and add the dropdown links inside it. We will use the same styling for all links inside the sidenav.

Step 2) Add CSS:


/* Fixed sidenav, full height */
.sidenav {
  height: 100%;
  width: 200px;
  position: fixed;
  z-index: 1;
  top: 0;
  left: 0;
  background-color: #111;
  overflow-x: hidden;
  padding-top: 20px;

/* Style the sidenav links and the dropdown button */
.sidenav a, .dropdown-btn {
  padding: 6px 8px 6px 16px;
  text-decoration: none;
  font-size: 20px;
  color: #818181;
  display: block;
  border: none;
  background: none;
  text-align: left;
  cursor: pointer;
  outline: none;

/* On mouse-over */
.sidenav a:hover, .dropdown-btn:hover {
  color: #f1f1f1;

/* Main content */
.main {
  margin-left: 200px; /* Same as the width of the sidenav */
  font-size: 20px; /* Increased text to enable scrolling */
  padding: 0px 10px;

/* Add an active class to the active dropdown button */
.active {
  background-color: green;
  color: white;

/* Dropdown container (hidden by default). Optional: add a lighter background color and some left padding to change the design of the dropdown content */
.dropdown-container {
  display: none;
  background-color: #262626;
  padding-left: 8px;

/* Optional: Style the caret down icon */
.fa-caret-down {
  float: right;
  padding-right: 8px;
Try it Yourself »

Step 3) Add JavaScript:


//* Loop through all dropdown buttons to toggle between hiding and showing its dropdown content - This allows the user to have multiple dropdowns without any conflict */
var dropdown = document.getElementsByClassName("dropdown-btn");
var i;

for (i = 0; i < dropdown.length; i++) {
  dropdown[i].addEventListener("click", function() {
    var dropdownContent = this.nextElementSibling;
    if (dropdownContent.style.display === "block") {
      dropdownContent.style.display = "none";
    } else {
      dropdownContent.style.display = "block";
Try it Yourself »

Tip: Go to our CSS Dropdowns Tutorial to learn more about dropdowns.

Tip: Go to our Clickable Dropdowns to learn more about clickable dropdowns

Tip: Go to our CSS Navbar Tutorial to learn more about navbars.

Tip: Go to our Side Navigation Tutorial to learn about how to create closable side navigations.