Navbars and Banners

In addition to layout options for, it is possible to change a site’s displayed tool menu (the Navbar) and to make minor modifications to its look and feel.

Every Brightspace site has a navbar, and a site’s navbar is always visible. This allows site members to easily find and navigate to course-specific tools. Adding important tools or removing unused ones can streamline course navigation.

The Navbar

Brightspace tools are laid out in a red navigation bar across the top of every page. While most tools (all of which are visible through are active “behind the scenes” on every site, student access is restricted to those made visible in the navbar. The default selection offers typical options for student assessment, communication, and course management, but these can be removed, shuffled, or even replaced by custom links. There is also a more visually-engaging Icon-Based Navbar mode.

An ideal course site likely only shows the tools that are being used and has its navbar reduced to the fewest possible options.

Editing a (copy of a) Navbar

To edit the navbar on a particular site, find Navigation & Themes in Course Admin, or click the ellipsis button (. . .) that appears when you hover over the right side of the navbar.

A screenshot of the homepage screen showing the right-hand side where the Navbar settings button is highlighted.
The Navbar ellipsis button.

Choose between Customize This Navbar and Manage All Course Navbars. An instructor can only make a copy of the default navbar, and this cannot be shared between other sites. The second choice, Manage All Course Navbars, can only be used to swap between different versions in the current site.

A screenshot of the navbar screen showing the create navbar options, the active navbar selection dropdown, and a list of available navbar options.
The Manage All Course Navbars page.


Customize This Navbar leads to the Edit Navbar page, which provides a list of the currently displayed links. These can be reordered by dragging-and-dropping or removed with the small X on the right side.

Use Add Links to choose from the extensive list of tool options. Select anything from the list to add it to the navbar, bearing in mind that there is limited space and any overflow will be condensed in a More… drop-down menu.

Custom Groups can be used to organize sets of tools within a dropdown menu. The default dropdown Course Tools is actually a custom group.

Some of the more obscure options are not configured and should not be used. Contact with questions on the status of anything that does not seem to work.

The most flexibility comes from Create Custom Link, where it is possible to create a link to an external resource via URL (e.g., a weekly MS Teams meeting link), or a specific Brightspace item using Insert Quicklink (e.g., a regularly-visited Content item like a syllabus).


  1. Click Course Admin on the navbar.

  2. Go to Navigation & Themes.

  3. From the tool navigation, click Custom Links Create Link and ensure the following fields are filled in:

    • Name: The name of the link you want to appear in the navbar.

    • URL: Add the URL path the custom link follows or click Insert Quicklink to link to existing course material or third-party tools.

    • Behavior: Determines the behavior of the user interface when the link is clicked.

      • If you selected New window/tab, specify the Width (px) and Height (px) of the new window/tab.

    • Under Browser Attributes, specify if you want the new window to include the Menubar (File, Edit, etc.), or the Toolbar (Back, Refresh, etc.) or neither of these options.

    • Description: Provides an optional description of the custom link.

    • Icon: An icon to use with the custom link.

    • Availability: Determines the visibility of the custom link.

      • To share with child organization units, select the Share with child org units check box.

      • To limit the visibility of the custom link to specific roles, select the Limit to specific roles check box and then select the roles.

      • To limit visibility of the custom links to users with specific locales, select the Limit to specific locales check box and then select the locales

  4. Click Save.

Icon-Based Navbar

The Edit Navbar page also provides a toggle to an icon mode that will replace the text tools with icons. The stock Brightspace tools all have their own icons and images can be uploaded for any custom links.


Themes cannot currently be managed at the course site level.

Change the title in the navbar

This will change the text above the Navbar. The default setting is the course’s Org Unit Name, which will look like the course code.

Banners and Course Titles

The homepage contains a decorative banner that can be customized by choosing from a library of stock images or uploading something new. The banner is best suited for landscape-style images.

To begin editing, find the ellipsis button when hovering over the right edge of the banner, just below the navigation bar.

It is also possible add an image via Course Offering Information.

Choose between Change Image, Customize Banner Text, or Remove This Banner.

Change Image

You can search through a huge selection of stock images and click to select and apply.

The Upload option will facilitate adding a custom image, which obviously should be wider than it is tall. Be aware that Brightspace does not provide built-in crop, zoom, and focus tools.

The ideal size is around 2400 x 410 pixels and you may wish to crop or scale an image to fit those dimensions. Be aware that the banner will be resized or rescaled on different devices.

Reach out to if you have a specific image resizing request.

The course banner will also appears, cropped even further, in the My Courses widget on one's system homepage.

Customize Banner Text

Changing the banner text at this level will override choices made when adjusting the site’s

Remove This Banner

To restore a removed banner, use the ellipsis button in the bottom-right corner of a homepage.


Please contact CPI at with any questions or comments about the contents of this site.