How to make a multi-level menu in bootstrap 5.2

Regardless of what UX designers may say about nested menu (submenus or even sub-submenus), sometimes you need to make one. I couldn’t find clear simple guidance for this, so I cobbled one together by following various examples and watching a few youtube videos. Finally, it made sense what is needed — You need to set the data-bs-auto-close attribute to ‘outside’ for items in the menu that are going to contain a submenu so that they pop open the submenu instead of simply disappearing. No javascript required.

<div class="container">
    <h1 class="mb-4">Nested Submenus</h1>
    <p>No Javascript needed</p>
    <div class="dropdown">
        <a class="btn btn-primary dropdown-toggle" data-bs-auto-close='outside' href="#" 
        role="button" data-bs-toggle="dropdown" aria-expanded="false"> Menu </a>
        <ul class="dropdown-menu">
            <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">Widescreen</a></li>
            <li class="dropdown dropend">
                <!-- the key is the data-bs-auto-close attribute being set to Outside for anything that contains a submenu -->
                <a class="dropdown-item dropdown-toggle" href="#"
                data-bs-toggle="dropdown" aria-haspopup="true" aria-expanded="false">Submenu 001</a>
                <ul class="dropdown-menu">
                    <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">Bonjour!</a></li>
                    <li class="dropdown dropend">
                        <a class="dropdown-item dropdown-toggle" href="#" data-bs-toggle="dropdown" aria-haspopup="true" 
                        aria-expanded="false">Submenu 001 001</a>
                        <ul class="dropdown-menu" >
                            <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">Eat</a></li>
                            <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">More</a></li>
                            <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">Beans</a></li>
                            <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">On Toast</a></li>
                    <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">Drink Coffee</a></li>
                    <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">Make Friends</a></li>
            <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">Don't forget to Exercise</a></li>

The same code is here on Codeply:

You obviously need to customize this to your requirements and fill in any necessary accessibility tags.

To all the people (or AIs) from whom I derived knowledge in the crafting of this post, I say: thank you.

5 thoughts to “How to make a multi-level menu in bootstrap 5.2”

  1. Hi, Thank you very much for this very practical solution. I’m now trying to combine it with bootstrap5.2 scrollspy but I can’t highlight the top level parent. Have you ever done this?

    1. OK I found a solution without JS if it can help I used the css a:has(+ul li .active), with a the top level parent and active the Bootstrap class.

      1. If you have an example, you can post it onto codeply. Someone might find it useful in the future 🙂

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