Hello again, it’s time for the comprehensive programming article. Here you’ll find 38 mainly CSS and jQuery dropdown menu or just multi level menus with downloadable files and explanations as well. Mostly they are free.

My favorite here is the first pick – Outside the box with a very unique navigation menu (free) and Mega Menu, which is premium.

It’s always good to have such reference articles in your bookmarks and when you have to create some really big website with a lot of content and menu sections – just return here.

Oh..and little tip – shorten your developing process with already premade menus, which can be easily modified with a little touch of CSS.

Table of Contents:

  1. The Best jQuery Dropdown Menu Solutions
  2. Creating a CSS3 Dropdown Menu – Video Tutorial

Thumbnail jQuery Dropdown menu solutions

Are The Best jQuery Dropdown Menu Solutions Free?

But well, also be aware when each code has been created, has it got some updates through time? In our development niche standards, technologies change so quickly that sometimes when you decide to use specific menu, it’s very hard to implement it and at the end, you’ll even may need to rewrite the code just because of incompatibility. So be cautious!

Here you’ll find mainly free solutions, but I would also suggest for some special occasions, quick projects to consider some of design/code marketplaces, where you can buy optimized, documented and update codes for really cheap prizes. I can assure the quality is high,otherwise marketplaces won’t get so popular…and my experiences are only positive and I really am ready to spend $5-10 for important code snippet, saving probably hours of my time. I myself have tried CodeCanyon and I definitely can recommend them.

At least I am doing my designing process like this –

  • 1st- I do simple browsing to find if there are appropriate codes, snippets,tools available for free (like this article for example).
  • 2nd- If after like a 5-min browsing I cannot find anything what suits to me, here is time for those marketplaces where usually I always find something good, and I can move forward.

What has been your experience?

And while you are figuring answers – enjoy this quality article!

Wait but before..here is..

Editors Choice: Mega Menu Reloaded

I love this multipurpose mega menu..it can really do everything, check it out.

What if instead of going through the hassle of creating navigation menu by your own, you could get super functional and supported menu system for cheap?

Think of the time saved.. Time you can spend relaxing now, because you have this super functional menu in your toolbox you can use over and over again!

It’s no brainer, yes this is a premium menu, but it costs only $6 and you’ll get the most powerful menu you can imagine! How cool is that!

The most complete solution to create mega menus.

The most complete solution to create mega menus.

1. “Outside the Box” Navigation with jQuery

This tutorial will cover a few ways to do just that with OS X style docks and stacks navigation.


Preview Demo

2. Sexy Drop Down Menu w/ jQuery & CSS

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a sexy drop down menu that can also degrade gracefully.


3. Designing the Digg Header: How To & Download

Navigation is compacted with the use of simple drop-down menus.


Preview Demo

4. Create The Fanciest Dropdown Menu You Ever Saw


Preview Demo

5. A circular menu with sub menus

A follow-on from the simple single level circular menu, this one adds a sub menu level of smaller icons in a circular pattern within the top level circle. There is also the facility to add a simple description of each icon.


Preview Demo

6.CSS3 Mega Drop Down Menu

This Mega Drop Down Menu is perfect for creating unique menus easily. It’s CSS / XHTML only; there is absolutely NO javascript.The content can be organized in 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 columns based on the 960 grid system. This item comes with 9 color variants and a detailed documentation to help you start with your brand new menu.

CSS classes allow you to create lists, paragraphs with (or without) images, make your menu stick to the left or the right side, and create your own color schemes quickly. Go to original site to view video preview.

7. Perfect sign in dropdown box likes Twitter with jQuery

Nice tutorial showing you how to create a login drop down with Twitter style using jQuery.


Preview Demo

8. Fancy Sliding Menu for Mootools


Preview Demo

9. Create Vimeo-like top navigation

I’ve featured this Janko’s tutorial some time ago, but sometimes I will repeat myself, since this article is completely dedicated to showcase advanced drop down menus. Very detailed and a well written tutorial, with drop-down search options narrowing and targeting search by checking options. Menu is done completely using just CSS, structure is visually describet in the image below:


Preview Demo

10. Dynamic PHP/CSS menu


Preview Demo

10.1 Uber Menu

UberMenu is a user-friendly, highly customizable, responsive Mega Menu WordPress plugin. It works out of the box with the WordPress 3 Menu System, making it simple to get started but powerful enough to create highly customized and creative mega menu configurations.

Preview Demo

11. Creating an Outlook Navigation Bar using the ListView and Accordion Controls


Preview Demo

12. Drop Menu $5

With this script you can make nice and interactive drop down menus. The advantage of this script is that it not only gives you the ability to make list drop down menu. You can also use a div as drop down element. This way you can create big drop down menus like under the buttons products and tutorials in the preview or you can create a login panel in your drop down!

Preview Demo

13. Make a Mega Drop-Down Menu with jQuery

Preview Demo

14. A cross-browser drop-down cascading validating menu

Just simple CSS menu.


Preview Demo

15. Drop-Down Menus, Horizontal Style

Very old drop-down tutorial from year 2004, but if you are starting out – very useful tutorial and example.


Preview Demo

16. Superfish v1.4.8 – jQuery menu plugin by Joel Birch

Superfish is an enhanced Suckerfish-style menu jQuery plugin that takes an existing pure CSS drop-down menu (so it degrades gracefully without JavaScript) and more features.


Preview Demo

17. jQuery (mb)Menu 2.7

This is a powerful jQuery component to build easily a multilevel tree menu or a contextual menu (right click) in an intuitive way!


18. Menumatic

MenuMatic is a MooTools 1.2 class that takes a sematic ordered or unordered list of links and turns it into a dynamic drop down menu system. For users without javascript, it falls back on a CSS menu


Preview Demo

19. Responsive Menu

This Mega Drop Down Menu Complete Set is perfect for creating unique menus by using one of the 9 jQuery effects and one of the color schemes.

Preview Demo

20. Smooth Navigational Menu (v1.31)

Smooth Navigation Menu is a multi level, CSS list based menu powered using jQuery that makes website navigation a smooth affair.


Preview Demo

21. Super menu pack (10 menus) $4

Super menu pack is a collection of 10 cool menus, 5 in pure CSS and 5 using a jQuery framework for customize or layout with your websites or applications and projects.

It’s perfect for anyone who wants to give a special touch to their designs or find a starting point. I tried to create a collection as varied as possible in style and appearance to give a you choice. Thinking in design working with code.

All menus are easy to customize from CSS . In each file you will find detailed comments.

Preview Demo

22. Longed-For Multi-Level Drop-Down Menu Script


Preview Demo

23. jQuery & CSS Example – Dropdown Menu

This article is intended to describe an extremely basic, yet extremely powerful, technique for adding dropdown menus in your application user interface or website design.


24. Reinventing a Drop Down with CSS and jQuery


Preview Demo

25. Simple jQuery Dropdowns

Very stripped down code and minimal styling, yet still dropdown menu has all the functionality typically needed.


Preview Demo

26. jQuery Menu: Dropdown, iPod Drilldown, and Flyout styles with ARIA Support and ThemeRoller Ready

Newer version of previous iPod style menu.


Preview Demo

27. mcDropdown jQuery Plug-in v1.2.07


28. jQuery Drop Line Tabs

This menu turns a nested UL list into a horizontal drop line tabs menu. The top level tabs are rounded on each side thanks to the use of two transparent background images, while the sub ULs each appear as a single row of links that drop-down when the mouse rolls over its parent LI.


29. Cut & Paste jQuery Mega Menu

Mega menus refer to the drop down menus that contain multiple columns of links. This jQuery script lets you add a mega menu to any anchor link on your page, with each revealed using a sleek expanding animation. Customize the animation duration plus delay before the menu disappears when the mouse rolls out of the anchor. Mega cool!


30. Professional dropdown #2


31. jQuery Tutorial 25: Creating A Dropdown Menu In jQuery

I also found one awesome video tutorial for you, that will let you create an awesome dropdown menu in just 16 minutes. Check it out..!

32. jdMenu Hierarchical Menu Plugin

The jdMenu plugin for jQuery provides a clean, simple and elegant solution for creating hierarchical drop down menus for websites to web applications.


33. Dynamic Drive – Multiple Level Menus

A lot of free advanced CSS and Javascript drop down menus are available here. There are also instructions and advices how do use and modify them.


34. IzzyMenu – Menu Builder – Build your pro CSS/DHTML Menu

Choose from dozens of ready styles or create your own menu style. They are low in file size, so won’t consume a lot of bandwidth from your hosting. IzzyMenu, online menu generator, is the best solution for amateurs and professionals!


35. A Different Top Navigation

In this tutorial, you will use jQuery to create a different multi-layered horizontal navigation system that is still intuitive enough for anyone to use for the first time.


Preview Demo

36. jQuery UI Potato Menu


37. jQuery File Tree

jQuery File Tree is a configurable, AJAX file browser plugin for jQuery. You can create a customized, fully-interactive file tree with as little as one line of JavaScript code.


Preview Demo

Bellow you will find a great tutorial in which you will learn how to create your own CSS3 dropdown menu. Ready? Alright!

Creating a CSS3 Dropdown Menu – Video Tutorial

We have talked a lot about about HTML5 and CSS3 in the past couple of months and today we continue the series of video tutorials with a new addition: creating a CSS3 dropdown menu from scratch. It is extremely easy to do, so don’t be scared. The video is a bit longer, it runs for about 40 minutes, this is because I have gone into great detail explaining the process so that everyone will understand all of the properties. Once you are able to do it on your own, 10-15 minutes should be enough for you to go through the necessary coding and create this dropdown menu.

We used to have to create dropdown menus with JavaScript, but today we only need to use CSS3. CSS3 loads faster than JavaScript, which is one of the many benefits of using CSS3 menus. However, because there is no dropdown function on mobile from a design and usability perspective using a CSS3 dropdown menu would be a mistake.

The CSS3 Dropdown Menu We’ll be Making

create css3 dropdown menu

[demo source=”https://1stwebdesigner.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/CSS3-Dropdown-Menu.zip” demo=”https://1stwebdesigner.com/demos/CSS3DropdownMenu/”]

As promised, you can check out my previous video tutorial about how to create a responsive website using HTML5 and CSS3. In this tutorial you will learn how to create a website from scratch, and by the end you will have a functional website to boast of. It can also be your way to becoming a freelance web designer and live your dream lifestyle, just like what we do.

Question: How Can You Make this Responsive?

There are different ways on how you can include navigation for mobile devices, but not every one of them work for the users. Some prefer to make their navigation menu responsive by collapsing them under one icon, while others would just line it up evenly (just like 1WD!). How about you? What’s your best bet?


There you have it. Some great alternatives that you can use for your menu in your next project. Hope you liked the video tutorial for CCS3 based menu. Share your thoughts in comment section. Until next time..keep learning and so will we.

Editorial Team

Written by Editorial Team

  • Naimesh Patel

    Thanks for great list. I had also developed a nice drop-down vertical menu for my site. Feedback from an expert would be highly appreciated.

    Naimesh Patel

    • Dainis Graveris

      Hm, I don’t see dropdown menu on your site.

  • Vacanta

    The CSS3 Mega Drop Down Menu is by far the best one in the list.

  • Estefi

    MENUMATIC: Hi, first off all, great work, but we are having some issues under IE.

    Animation is not displaying (it shows sub-buttons, without transition) and the rounded corners are not showing.
    This happends also with the demo you have online in your site (not only in my site).

    I’m testing it with IE 9.

    Thanks in advance for your time and help.

  • Guy Nakash

    Thank you so much, I’v used some plugins from this post.

    May I add another one: SlipSlap!
    It’s a full CSS3 and JQ plugin, looks great and works like a charm.

  • Razibul Hassan

    Outstanding Selection. There could not a better resource for a designer to find such excellent drop-down menu examples all at a single place. Thanks for the composition and great selection.

  • Subash

    Hi, This is wonderful. Is it possible to use one of these drop downs in my website ? I mean is it free or what I will have to do to use this ?

  • Abbey Fields

    Yeeeeessssss!!!!!!! I love it… i was looking for methods that work in Firefox and IE… Thank you you save my life in mostly my work…

  • Azhar Kamar

    Awesome multi-level menu solutions! Broadened my choices. ;)

  • Raisa


    I was wondering if these drop down menus can be used within the Main Article or Main Content of a page instead of the menu for example for a taxonomy tree (for biodiversity) or for people to be able to navigate through how different things relate to each other?

  • Rajeshdan

    Yes, I have rectified it.

    In the javascript there is a function call to this link…just comment it..it will work fine.

  • Tony

    I have used number 22 Smooth Navigational Menu on several sites now. Very easy to use and I found it here. Thanks a ton!

  • Ricky

    i like your post, thx u very much

  • Subbu

    Very good compilation.. was useful..
    I am looking for a simple css based tree menu (without using javascript)… do have any references?

  • Dilip

    Really cool …
    Is there sample code for 2 blocks with tree add and remove the nodes from either way.

  • Sandy

    This site is Good Learning jquery and Ajax

  • anand

    Love it . Excellent guide. but i still cant find any vertical menu which opens up on the left side, why all of them are on the right ??

  • Bill Dixon

    Do any of these menus, besides #16, validate?

  • Sebastian

    Super list! Thanks a bunch!
    Its good to see sites that are as informative as this one, keep it up!

    I use a tool called AllWebMenus that you might find helpful for creating your website’s menu. They also maintain a nice list of products for creating modal windows, tooltips, drop down menu trees, etc.

  • S May

    Always on the look out for a jscript css drop down menu. Can’t wait to try some of these out. Thanks!

  • Ed Baxter

    Some really great menus in here, even better that they are html and css with jQuery as Google will be able to see the content rather than developers making flash banners!

  • Kaiser

    This is a great list,thanks for sharing. I can used it in my incoming project especially the DIGG style drop down list

  • Asuka

    Wow excellent article. I found everything in one place. I’m having problems with smallicons which are supposed to act like trigger links to open the slider…

  • Really fantastic roundup, thank for including my tutorials :)

  • Marce

    Thanks very nice Menus =)

  • Dicky

    I used the Smooth Navigational Menu from dynamic drive before, it is very easy to learn and customize.

  • Lam Nguyen

    Thanks for adding my tutorial :D

  • Thomas

    Nice Article, just stumble !

  • Jason Zuckerman

    The sum total of all these drop down menus are pretty sexy to me. Thanks for hooking them up.

  • gautam hans

    I like sexy drop down menu because of it’s elegant look. Circular menu is something new to me. great post dainis