jQuery Sliding Tab Menu for Sidebar Tutorial

Written by Kevin Liew on 09 Jun 2009
152,963 Views • Tutorials


This tutorial, we will be making a jQuery Sliding Tab Menu for sidebar. Previously, I made a tutorial about jQuery Tabbed Interface / Tabbed Structure Menu, if you have not read it yet, check it out. I'm using it for my sidebar at the moment. The differences between both tab menus are, the sliding direction and this time, we are using a little bit different HTML structure and massive change in jQuery script.

We will be using a famous plugin called jQuery.scrollTo. jQuery scrollTo is an amazing plugin and doing sliding menu has never been so easy! Please continue reading, As usual, this tutorial is separated into 3 sections: HTML, CSS and Javascript.


Structure for jQuery Scroll To Tab Menu

Refer to the image above, it's the DIV structure for this tutorial.

#scroller-header: Inside #scroller-header, this is where we will put the links. In the link HREF attribute, we will put in the id of the sub panels (#panel-1, #panel-2, #panel-3 and #panel-4) inside #panel. jQuery will able to scroll it to the correct position according to the ID specified in the HREF.

#scroller-body: We put a background image about 900px height and set the background position to bottom.

#mask: This DIV plays an important role to hide other panels. Adjusting the height and width of #mask will able to display the panel content. Everytime when a link is clicked, jQuery will get the height of the sub-panel and set the height of #mask accordingly.

#panel: Inside #panel, we have 4 DIVs named #panel-1, #panel-2, #panel3, #panel-4. Those are sub-panels, you can place your content inside here, and feel free to add more sub panels.

<div id="scroller-header">
	<a href="#panel-1" rel="panel" class="selected">Link 1</a>
	<a href="#panel-2" rel="panel">Link 2</a>
	<a href="#panel-3" rel="panel">Link 3</a>
	<a href="#panel-4" rel="panel">Link 4</a>
<div id="scroller-body">
	<div id="mask">
		<div id="panel">
			<div id="panel-1">
			<div id="panel-2">
			<div id="panel-3">
			<div id="panel-4">

2. CSS

Structure for jQuery Scroll To Tab Menu

There are some important css:

#scoller-header, #scroller-body : We can change the background images in these ID. For the #scroller-body, the vertical alignment of the background must be bottom.

#mask : Width is the size of a sub-panel, this width must be specified because we will do some calculation based on it.

#panel div : Float set the left so that the DIV will display in a single row. If you want to scroll it horizontally, you can remove it.

body {
	margin:0 20px;
	font:12px arial;

#scroller-header a {
	padding:0 2px;

#scroller-header a:hover {

a.selected {
	text-decoration:underline !important; 
	color:#4b412f !important;

#scroller-header {
	background:url(images/header.gif) no-repeat;
	padding:35px 0 0 15px;

#scroller-body {
	background:url(images/body.gif) no-repeat bottom center;


#mask {
	margin:0 auto;

#panel {


#panel div {


/* extra optional styling for each tab content */
#panel-1 {

#panel-2 {

#panel-3 {

3. Javascript

With the scrollTo plugin, we don't have to worry about the transition and scrolling effect. This is the advantage of using plugin, everything can be so easy.

Basically, jQuery performs the following steps on page load:

  1. Get the height of the first sub-panel and set it to #mask.
  2. Calculate the width of #panel by multiplying #mask width with total of sub-panel (#panel div)
  3. Set the width of sub-panel according to the #mask width. As a result, #mask width must be the same with sub-panels and must be specified in the CSS.

And, jQuery performs the following steps when a link is clicked:

  1. Get the height of the sub-panel. jQuery grabs the sub-panel id from href attribute of the anchor element.
  2. Remove selected class from all the links, and add the selected class to the user has just clicked.
  3. Do the animation on height, Animate the #mask by setting the height of the sub-panel.
  4. After that, run the scrollTo plugin, scroll it to the sub-panel.
  5. Remember to disable the link default behavior by adding 'Return false' in the end.
$(document).ready(function() {	

	//Get the height of the first item
	//Calculate the total width - sum of all sub-panels width
	//Width is generated according to the width of #mask * total of sub-panels
	$('#panel').width(parseInt($('#mask').width() * $('#panel div').length));
	//Set the sub-panel width according to the #mask width (width of #mask and sub-panel must be same)
	$('#panel div').width($('#mask').width());
	//Get all the links with rel as panel
	$('a[rel=panel]').click(function () {
		//Get the height of the sub-panel
		var panelheight = $($(this).attr('href')).height();
		//Set class for the selected item
		//Resize the height
		$('#mask').animate({'height':panelheight},{queue:false, duration:500});			
		//Scroll to the correct panel, the panel id is grabbed from the href attribute of the anchor
		$('#mask').scrollTo($(this).attr('href'), 800);		
		//Discard the link default behavior
		return false;


That's it. Make sure you check out the demo and download the source code to play with it. If you have created your own, feel free to drop your link in the comment section to show off! : )

Last but not least, I need your support :) If you like this article, please help me to promote it by adding this post into your bookmark. Or you can subscribe to my RSS for more jQuery tutorial posts! Thanks!

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Trebour 13 years ago
Wow Aamir Afridi that is some fine coding its brilliant i would advise anyone who is interested in this type of tab slider menu go look at the link Aamir Afridi has put on the comments below its fantastic ive just added to my site fits in perfectly !!
And it solved my problem with needing arrow navigators too ignore previous message :)
KJR 13 years ago
Great jQuery Sliding Tab Menu!
I will be using and customizing this jQuery of mysite.
Nice job with the tutorial!
jimmy 13 years ago
I have one problem. Any divs i put inside a panel automatically adopt the width of the #mask div, even if i try to set an inline width for the new div. Anyone know how to fix this?
jaro2000 12 years ago
Hi, I have the same problem and was wondering if found solution to this issue.
Carlos 12 years ago
I'm having this problem as well. Does anyone have a solution?! Thanks!
automotive tools 13 years ago
I have one feature request if possible, I have tried to code myself but haven't had any luck i would like to add a previous and next button could someone please help me with the html code and js.
kevin Admin 13 years ago
Unfortunately, this can't be changed to autoplay. Well, you can, but involved a few of modification.
Barry 13 years ago
How could be changed to auto play?? with defined interval
akarsh nagariya 12 years ago
how to work with blogger such as recent post ,archives,catagories,comments or how to add variable for this tab
the english guy 12 years ago
Nice work, great smooth motion on the sliding panel.
puluthriau 12 years ago
thanks, but, how to put a widget in there :P
hiulit 12 years ago
Hey! Great tutorial!!!
But I have a question: Could it be possible to make a "previous┬┤, "next" button instead of these links?
something like "go to the next anchor"?

Thanks a lot!!!
rumi 12 years ago
HI I am trying to use this nice menu to my web page......but I'm new at jQuery . so when I use this jQuery plugin with another.......there is a conflict......and i tried jQuery noConflict().my it didn't work.the another plugin i used also use the $document.read() function......but that script is runnig........please help me anyone .........
Kevin Liew Admin 12 years ago
if you're using jQuery noConflict(), you need to use jQuery instead of $ sign.


use this var j = jQuery.noConflict();
so, instead of $(document).ready() you use j(document).ready()

as a result, you need to change my script and replace all the $.
keyuri 12 years ago
very nice

thanks for sharing
Dylan 12 years ago
Im having trouble when refreshing the page...it works fine in IE ( this might be a first) but it doesn't refresh right in Firefox. It resizes the panel and moves the tab to the first selected but it keeps the content from the panel that your on....anyone else having this problem?...please help.
Kevin Liew Admin 12 years ago
add this in the first line after $(document).ready():

$('#mask').scrollTo('#panel-1', 1);

it makes sure it always display the first item first.
quiet0ne 12 years ago
thanks for this fix! I was having the same issue.