#bevy #ui #navigation #keyboard #gamepad


A bevy plugin to make implementing ui navigation in your game a piece of cake

23 releases (breaking)

0.24.0 Mar 6, 2023
0.22.0 Nov 13, 2022
0.19.0 Jul 31, 2022
0.14.0 Mar 21, 2022

#53 in Game dev

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229 downloads per month



Bevy UI navigation

Bevy tracking Latest version MIT/Apache 2.0 Documentation

A generic UI navigation algorithm for the Bevy engine default UI library.

bevy-ui-navigation = "0.24.0"

The in-depth design specification is available here.


Check out the examples directory for bevy examples.

Demonstration of "Ultimate navigation" example

Cargo Features

This crate exposes the bevy_ui feature. It is enabled by default. Toggling off this feature let you compile this crate without requiring the bevy render feature, however, it requires implementing your own input handling. Check out the source code for the systems module for leads on implementing your own input handling.


See this example for a quick start guide.

The crate documentation is extensive, but for practical reason doesn't include many examples. This page contains most of the doc examples, you should check the examples directory for examples showcasing all features of this crate.

Simple case

To create a simple menu with navigation between buttons, simply replace usages of ButtonBundle with FocusableButtonBundle.

You will need to create your own system to change the color of focused elements, and add manually the input systems, but with that setup you get: Complete physical position based navigation with controller, mouse and keyboard. Including rebindable mapping.

use bevy::prelude::*;
use bevy_ui_navigation::prelude::*;
fn main() {

Use the InputMapping resource to change keyboard and gamepad button mapping.

If you want to change entirely how input is handled, you should do as follow. All interaction with the navigation engine is done through EventWriter<NavRequest>:

use bevy::prelude::*;
use bevy_ui_navigation::prelude::*;

fn custom_input_system_emitting_nav_requests(mut events: EventWriter<NavRequest>) {
    // handle input and events.send(NavRequest::FooBar)

fn main() {

Check the examples directory for more example code.

bevy-ui-navigation provides a variety of ways to handle navigation actions. Check out the NavEventReaderExt trait (and the NavEventReader struct methods) for what you can do.

use bevy::{app::AppExit, prelude::*};
use bevy_ui_navigation::prelude::*;

enum MenuButton {
    //.. etc.

fn handle_nav_events(
    mut buttons: Query<&mut MenuButton>,
    mut events: EventReader<NavEvent>,
    mut exit: EventWriter<AppExit>
) {
    // Note: we have a closure here because the `buttons` query is mutable.
    // for immutable queries, you can use `.activated_in_query` which returns an iterator.
    // Do something when player activates (click, press "A" etc.) a `Focusable` button.
    events.nav_iter().activated_in_query_foreach_mut(&mut buttons, |mut button| match &mut *button {
        MenuButton::StartGame => {
            // start the game
        MenuButton::ToggleFullscreen => {
            // toggle fullscreen here
        MenuButton::ExitGame => {
        MenuButton::Counter(count) => {
            *count += 1;
        //.. etc.

The focus navigation works across the whole UI tree, regardless of how or where you've put your focusable entities. You just move in the direction you want to go, and you get there.

Any Entity can be converted into a focusable entity by adding the Focusable component to it. To do so, just:

# use bevy::prelude::*;
# use bevy_ui_navigation::prelude::Focusable;
fn system(mut cmds: Commands, my_entity: Entity) {

That's it! Now my_entity is part of the navigation tree. The player can select it with their controller the same way as any other Focusable element.

You probably want to render the focused button differently than other buttons, this can be done with the Changed<Focusable> query parameter as follow:

use bevy::prelude::*;
use bevy_ui_navigation::prelude::{FocusState, Focusable};

fn button_system(
    mut focusables: Query<(&Focusable, &mut BackgroundColor), Changed<Focusable>>,
) {
    for (focus, mut color) in focusables.iter_mut() {
        let new_color = if matches!(focus.state(), FocusState::Focused) {
        } else {
        *color = new_color.into();

Snappy feedback

You will want the interaction feedback to be snappy. This means the interaction feedback should run the same frame as the focus change. For this to happen every frame, you should add button_system to your app using the NavRequestSystem label like so:

use bevy::prelude::*;
use bevy_ui_navigation::prelude::{NavRequestSystem, NavRequest, NavigationPlugin};

fn custom_mouse_input(mut events: EventWriter<NavRequest>) {
    // handle input and events.send(NavRequest::FooBar)

fn main() {
        // ...
        // Add the button color update system after the focus update system
        // Add input systems before the focus update system
        // ...
// Implementation from earlier
fn button_system() {}

More complex use cases


If you need to supress the navigation algorithm temporarily, you can declare a Focusable as Focusable::lock.

This is useful for example if you want to implement custom widget with their own controls, or if you want to disable menu navigation while in game. To resume the navigation system, you'll need to send a NavRequest::Free.


You can't directly manipulate which entity is focused, because we need to keep track of a lot of thing on the backend to make the navigation work as expected. But you can set the focused element to any arbitrary Focusable entity with NavRequest::FocusOn.

use bevy::prelude::*;
use bevy_ui_navigation::prelude::NavRequest;

fn set_focus_to_arbitrary_focusable(
    entity: Entity,
    mut requests: EventWriter<NavRequest>,
) {

Set the first focused element

You probably want to be able to chose which element is the first one to gain focus. By default, the system picks the first Focusable it finds. To change this behavior, spawn a prioritized Focusable with Focusable::prioritized.


Suppose you have a more complex game with menus sub-menus and sub-sub-menus etc. For example, in your everyday 2021 AAA game, to change the antialiasing you would go through a few menus:

game menu → options menu → graphics menu → custom graphics menu → AA

In this case, you need to be capable of specifying which button in the previous menu leads to the next menu (for example, you would press the "Options" button in the game menu to access the options menu).

For that, you need to use MenuBuilder.

The high level usage of MenuBuilder is as follow:

  1. First you need a "root" menu using MenuBuilder::Root.
  2. You need to spawn into the ECS your "options" button with a Focusable component. To link the button to your options menu, you need to do one of the following:
    • Add a Name("opt_btn_name") component in addition to the Focusable component to your options button.
    • Pre-spawn the options button and store somewhere it's Entity id (let opt_btn = commands.spawn(FocusableButtonBundle).id();)
  3. to the NodeBundle containing all the options menu Focusable entities, you add the following component:

In code, This will look like this:

use bevy::prelude::*;
use bevy_ui_navigation::prelude::{Focusable, MenuSetting, MenuBuilder};
use bevy_ui_navigation::components::FocusableButtonBundle;

struct SaveFile;
impl SaveFile {
    fn bundle(&self) -> impl Bundle {
        // UI bundle to show this in game
fn spawn_menu(mut cmds: Commands, save_files: Vec<SaveFile>) {
    let menu_node = NodeBundle {
        style: Style { flex_direction: FlexDirection::Column, ..Default::default()},
    let button = FocusableButtonBundle::from(ButtonBundle {
        background_color: Color::rgb(1.0, 0.3, 1.0).into(),
    let mut spawn = |bundle: &FocusableButtonBundle, name: &'static str| {
    let options = spawn(&button, "options");
    let graphics_option = spawn(&button, "graphics");
    let audio_options = spawn(&button, "audio");
    let input_options = spawn(&button, "input");
    let game = spawn(&button, "game");
    let quit = spawn(&button, "quit");
    let load = spawn(&button, "load");

    // Spawn the game menu
        // Root Menu                 vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
        .insert((MenuSetting::new(), MenuBuilder::Root))
        .push_children(&[options, game, quit, load]);

    // Spawn the load menu
        // Sub menu accessible through the load button
        //                           vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
        .insert((MenuSetting::new(), MenuBuilder::EntityParent(load)))
        .with_children(|cmds| {
            // can only access the save file UI nodes from the load menu
            for file in save_files.iter() {

    // Spawn the options menu
        // Sub menu accessible through the "options" button
        //                           vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
        .insert((MenuSetting::new(), MenuBuilder::from_named("options")))
        .push_children(&[graphics_option, audio_options, input_options]);

With this, your game menu will be isolated from your options menu, you can only access it by sending NavRequest::Action when options_button is focused, or by sending a NavRequest::FocusOn(entity) where entity is any of graphics_option, audio_options or input_options.

Note that you won't need to manually send the NavRequest if you are using one of the default input systems provided in the systems module.

Specifically, navigation between Focusable entities will be constrained to other Focusable that are children of the same MenuSetting. It creates a self-contained menu.

Types of MenuSettings

To define a menu, you need both the MenuBuilder and MenuSetting components.

A MenuSetting gives you fine-grained control on how navigation is handled within a menu:

  • MenuSetting::new().wrapping() enables looping navigation, where going offscreen in one direction "wraps" to the opposite screen edge.
  • MenuSetting::new().scope() creates a "scope" menu that catches NavRequest::ScopeMove requests even when the focused entity is in another sub-menu reachable from this menu. This behaves like you would expect a tabbed menu to behave.

See the MenuSetting documentation or the "ultimate" menu navigation example for details.


If you need to know from which menu a NavEvent::FocusChanged originated, you can use NavMarker in the mark module.

A usage demo is available in the marking.rs example.


  • 0.8.2: Fix offsetting of mouse focus with UiCameras with a transform set to anything else than zero.
  • 0.9.0: Add Focusable::cancel (see documentation for details); Add warning message rather than do dumb things when there is more than a single NavRequest per frame
  • 0.9.1: Fix #8, Panic on diagonal gamepad input
  • 0.10.0: Add the bevy-ui feature, technically this includes breaking changes, but it is very unlikely you need to change your code to get it working
    • Breaking: if you were manually calling default_mouse_input, it now has additional parameters
    • Breaking: ui_focusable_at and NodePosQuery now have type parameters
  • 0.11.0: Add the Focusable::lock feature. A focusable now can be declared as "lock" and block the ui navigation systems until the user sends a NavRequest::Free. See the locking.rs example for illustration.
    • Breaking: New enum variants on NavRequest and NavEvent
  • 0.11.1: Add the marker module, enabling propagation of user-specified components to Focusable children of a NavMenu.
  • 0.12.0: Remove NavMenu methods from MarkingMenu and make the menu field public instead. Internally, this represented too much duplicate code.
  • 0.12.1: Add by-name menus, making declaring complex menus in one go much easier.
  • 0.13.0: Complete rewrite of the NavMenu declaration system:
    • Add automatic submenu access for scope menus.
    • Rename examples, they were named weirdly.
    • Breaking: Replace NavMenu constructor API with an enum (KISS) and a set of methods that return various types of Bundles. Each variant does what the cycle and scope methods used to do.
    • Breaking: NavMenu is not a component anymore, the one used in the navigation algorithm is now private, you can't match on NavMenu in query parameters anymore. If you need that functionality, create your own marker component and add it manually to your menu entities.
    • Breaking: Remove is_* methods from Focusable. Please use the state method instead. The resulting program will be more correct. If you are only worried about discriminating the Focused element from others, just use a if let Focused = focus.state() {} else {}. Please see the examples directory for usage patterns.
    • Breaking: A lot of struct and module reordering to make documentation more discoverable. Notably Direction and ScopeDirection are now in the events module.
  • 0.13.1: Fix broken URLs in Readme.md
  • 0.14.0: Some important changes, and a bunch of new very useful features.
    • Add a Focusable::dormant constructor to specify which focusable you want to be the first to focus, this also works for Focusables within NavMenus.
    • Important: This changes the library behavior, now there will automatically be a Focused entity set. Add a system to set the first Focused whenever Focusables are added to the world.
    • Add NavEvent::InitiallyFocused to handle this first Focused event.
    • Early-return in default_gamepad_input and default_keyboard_input when there are no Focusable elements in the world. This saves your precious CPU cycles. And prevents spurious warn log messages.
    • Do not crash when resolving NavRequests while no Focusables exists in the world. Instead, it now prints a warning message.
    • Important: Now the focus handling algorithm supports multiple NavRequests per frame. If previously you erroneously sent multiple NavRequest per update and relied on the ignore mechanism, you'll have a bad time.
    • This also means the focus changes are visible as soon as the system ran, the new NavRequestSystem label can be used to order your system in relation to the focus update system. This makes the focus change much snappier.
    • Rewrite the ultimate_menu_navigation.rs without the build_ui! macro because we shouldn't expect users to be familiar with my personal weird macro.
    • Breaking: Remove Default impl on NavLock. The user shouldn't be able to mutate it, you could technically overwrite the NavLock resource by using insert_resource(NavLock::default()).
  • 0.15.0: Breaking: bump bevy version to 0.7 (you should be able to upgrade from 0.14.0 without changing your code)
  • 0.15.1: Fix the marker systems panicking at startup.
  • 0.16.0:
    • Cycling now wraps around the screen properly, regardless of UI camera position and scale. See the new off_screen_focusables.rs example for a demo.
    • Fix the default_mouse_input system not accounting for camera scale.
    • Update examples to make use of NavRequestSystem label, add more recommendations with regard to system ordering.
    • Warning: if you have some funky UI that goes beyond the screen (which you are likely to have if you use the Overflow feature), this might result in unexpected behavior. Please fill a bug if you hit that limitation.
    • Add a nice stress test example with 96000 focusable nodes. This crate is not particularly optimized, but it's nice to see it holds up!
    • Breaking: Removed the undocumented public UiCamera marker component, please use the bevy native bevy::ui::entity::CameraUi instead. Furthermore, the default_mouse_input system has one less parameter.
    • Warning: if you have multiple UI camera, things will definitively break. Please fill an issue if you stumble uppon that case.
  • 0.17.0: Non-breaking, but due to cargo semver handling is a minor bump.
    • Add the event_helpers module to simplify ui event handling
    • Fix README and crate-level documentation links
  • 0.18.0:
    • Breaking: Remove marker generic type parameter from systems::NodePosQuery. The generic_default_mouse_input system now relies on the newly introduced ScreenBoundaries that abstracts camera offset and zoom settings.
    • Important: Introduced new plugins to make it even simpler to get started.
    • Add event_helpers module introduction to README.
    • Fix bevy-ui feature not building. This issue was introduced in 0.16.0.
  • 0.19.0: Breaking: Update to bevy 0.8.0
    • Please look at the diff for the examples directory for help on migration.
    • Important: Huge API modifications to comply with feedback from RFC 41.
    • Breaking: Removed the event_helpers module, use instead the .nav_iter method on EventReader<NavEvent>. You should import the NavEventReaderExt trait for .nav_iter to be available on EventReader<NavEvent>.
    • Breaking: Renamed dormantprioritized
    • Breaking: Renamed NavMenuMenuSetting
      • Instead of an enum, NavMenu is now a struct with two boolean fields
    • Breaking: Renamed bundlesmenu
      • Note: Dealing with "seeds" (aka bundles) is now much simpler and similar to other bevy plugins
      • This is serious breaking change, please check the MenuBuilder docs
      • Disclaimer: MenuBuilder is likely to be renamed in the future.
    • Breaking: Add a prelude module, for all your crazy folks who like to not name stuff they use (such as myself); this replaces the names being available at the top crate level, if your code breaks because "bevy_ui_navigation doesn't export this symbol", try importing prelude instead.
    • Warning: 0.8.0 removed the ability for the user to change the ui camera position and perspective, see https://github.com/bevyengine/bevy/pull/5252 Generic support for user-defined UIs still allows custom cropping, but it not a relevant use case to the default bevy_ui library.
    • Keyboard navigation in the style of games pre-dating computer mouses is now disabled by default. While you can still use the escape and tab keys for interaction, you cannot use keyboard keys to navigate between focusables anymore, this prevents keyboard input conflicts. You can enable keyboard movement using the [InputMapping::keyboard_navigation] field.
    • Improved the heuristic to set the first focused element, now it tries to find an element in root menus if there is such a thing.
    • Touch input handling has been removed, it was untested and probably broken, better let the user who knows what they are doing do it.
    • NEW: Add complete user-customizable focus movement. Now it should be possible to implement focus navigation in 3d space.
    • Breaking: This requires making the plugin generic over the navigation system, if you were manually adding NavigationPlugin, please consider using DefaultNavigationPlugins instead, if it is not possible, then use NavigationPlugin::new().
    • Breaking: moved the insert_tree_menus and resolve_named_menus systems to CoreStage::PostUpdate, which fixes a variety of bugs and unspecified behaviors with regard to adding menus and selecting the first focused element.
  • 0.20.0: Improve lock system
    • Breaking: Rename NavRequest::FreeNavRequest::Unlock for consistency.
    • Breaking: NavEvent::Unlocked now contains a LockReason rather than an Entity.
    • Add NavRequest::Lock request to block navigation through a request.
    • Add a way to spawn and set focusables as not focusable at all with Focusable::block.
    • Breaking: The default mouse input system now by default does not immediately focus on hovered elements. This is more in line with conventional UI libraries. To keep the old behavior, set the InputMapping.focus_follows_mouse field to true. If you want to have graphical effects on hover, please define your own hover system. Here is how it was done in the bevy merge PR.
  • 0.21.0: Add the NavEventReader::types method
  • 0.22.0: Update to bevy 0.9.0
  • 0.23.0: Start porting back to this crate all the changes made in the RFC PR
    • Add (optional) Reflect derive to all navigation components, it's on by default, disable it using --no-default-features --features "bevy-ui-navigation/bevy_ui"
    • Add a bunch of tests
    • Re-order TreeMenu insertion, the transformation from MenuBuilder to the internally used component (TreeMenu) is now done in PreUpdate instead of PostUpdate. This fixes a potential frame lag.
  • 0.23.1: Fix docs.rs rustdoc-scrape-examples flags.
  • 0.24.0:
    • Improve performance on NavEventReader::activated_in_query_foreach_mut
    • BREAKING: Update to bevy 0.10.0
  • FUTURE: 0.25.0 The goal is to split this crate so that it fits better with the rest of the bevy ecosystem. Future Plans involve Split the crate in 3 sub-crate, as described in the now closed RFC:
    • A plugin to translate bevy_ui things into events
    • A plugin for gamepad-based navigation system
    • A plugin for complex hierarchical menu navigation

Version matrix

bevy latest supporting version
0.10 0.24.0
0.9 0.23.1
0.8 0.21.0
0.7 0.18.0
0.6 0.14.0

Notes on API Stability

In the 4th week of January, there has been 5 breaking version changes. 0.13.0 marks the end of this wave of API changes. And things should go much slower in the future.

The new NavMenu construction system helps adding orthogonal features to the library without breaking API changes. However, since bevy is still in 0.* territory, it doesn't make sense for this library to leave the 0.* range.

Also, the way cargo handles versioning for 0.* crates is in infraction of the semver specification. Meaning that additional features without breakages requires bumping the minor version rather than the patch version (as should pre-1. versions do).


Copyright © 2022 Nicola Papale

This software is licensed under either MIT or Apache 2.0 at your leisure. See licenses directory for details.


The font in font.ttf is derived from Adobe SourceSans, licensed under the SIL OFL. see file at licenses/SIL Open Font License.txt.


~1M SLoC