Definition

hierarchical menu

Part of the Personal computing glossary:

A hierarchical menu is a multi-level arrangement of options, organized to allow users to find information, tools, or functions more easily than they could in an unstructured presentation.

A hierarchy is an organizational structure in which items are ranked according to levels of importance or specificity. Most menus used in computing applications are hierarchical. The top level items are the most general and lower levels are increasingly specific. 

In Internet Explorer, for example, the top level menu options are: File, Edit, View, Favorites, Tools. Under Tools, Internet Options are a secondary level. Under Internet Options, a third level of selections appears in a tabbed arrangement.

Our topics are also presented in a hierarchical menu. On the main topics page, the reader can click on the general topic of the subject of interest, such as Security or Computer Science, to get to more specific topics, such as Malware or Robotics.

Some hierarchical menus are explored by hovering over the top level options to see clickable submenus. 

This was last updated in January 2013
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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