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How TO - Dropdown Navbar

Learn how to create a dropdown navigation bar.

Dropdown Menu in Navbar

Try it Yourself »

Create A Dropdown Navbar

Create a dropdown menu that appears when the user moves the mouse over an element inside a navigation bar.

Step 1) Add HTML:


<div class="navbar">
  <a href="#home">Home</a>
  <a href="#news">News</a>
  <div class="dropdown">
    <button class="dropbtn">Dropdown
      <i class="fa fa-caret-down"></i>
    <div class="dropdown-content">
      <a href="#">Link 1</a>
      <a href="#">Link 2</a>
      <a href="#">Link 3</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.

Wrap a <div> element around the button and the <div> to position the dropdown menu correctly with CSS.

Step 2) Add CSS:


/* Navbar container */
.navbar {
  overflow: hidden;
  background-color: #333;
  font-family: Arial;

/* Links inside the navbar */
.navbar a {
  float: left;
  font-size: 16px;
  color: white;
  text-align: center;
  padding: 14px 16px;
  text-decoration: none;

/* The dropdown container */
.dropdown {
  float: left;
  overflow: hidden;

/* Dropdown button */
.dropdown .dropbtn {
  font-size: 16px;
  border: none;
  outline: none;
  color: white;
  padding: 14px 16px;
  background-color: inherit;
  font-family: inherit; /* Important for vertical align on mobile phones */
  margin: 0; /* Important for vertical align on mobile phones */

/* Add a red background color to navbar links on hover */
.navbar a:hover, .dropdown:hover .dropbtn {
  background-color: red;

/* Dropdown content (hidden by default) */
.dropdown-content {
  display: none;
  position: absolute;
  background-color: #f9f9f9;
  min-width: 160px;
  box-shadow: 0px 8px 16px 0px rgba(0,0,0,0.2);
  z-index: 1;

/* Links inside the dropdown */
.dropdown-content a {
  float: none;
  color: black;
  padding: 12px 16px;
  text-decoration: none;
  display: block;
  text-align: left;

/* Add a grey background color to dropdown links on hover */
.dropdown-content a:hover {
  background-color: #ddd;

/* Show the dropdown menu on hover */
.dropdown:hover .dropdown-content {
  display: block;
Try it Yourself »

Example Explained

We have styled the navigation bar and the navbar links with a background-color, padding, etc.

We have styled the dropdown button with a background-color, padding, etc.

The .dropdown class uses position:relative, which is needed when we want the dropdown content to be placed right below the dropdown button (using position:absolute).

The .dropdown-content class holds the actual dropdown menu. It is hidden by default, and will be displayed on hover (see below). Note the min-width is set to 160px. Feel free to change this.

Instead of using a border, we have used the box-shadow property to make the dropdown menu look like a "card". We also use z-index to place the dropdown in front of other elements.

The :hover selector is used to show the dropdown menu when the user moves the mouse over the dropdown button.

Clickable Dropdown in Navbar

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 Responsive Top Navigation to learn about how to create a responsive navbar.