Sites on the OpenLab

Easy Table of Contents Plugin (Classic)

This plugin allows you to create a table of contents (TOC) for pages and posts on your OpenLab site.  Visitors to your site can click a link in the TOC, which allows them to jump down to that section on the page.  Adding a TOC to a page can be especially useful for lengthy pages, such as a syllabus.

1. Activate Easy Table of Contents under Plugins in the left-hand menu of your Dashboard.

2. If your page is not already divided into sections, think about how you want to organize the content into different sections.  Make sure that each section has a section title that uses your theme’s Heading styles, e.g. Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3.

3. To create a heading, highlight the text you would like to use as a heading, and in the dropdown menu showing the word Paragraph, choose a heading.  Headings are hierarchical, with Heading 1 the largest and Heading 6 the smallest. You can choose any heading you like, however the best practice is that they should appear in logical order, with just a single Heading 1 on any page.

Easy Table of Contents step 1

4. Once you’ve organized your headings, scroll down beneath the page editor to find the Table of Contents options.  Choose the option to Insert table of contents.  Click Update (or Publish if it’s a new page) to save your changes.

Easy Table of Contents step 2

5. You won’t see a table of contents when viewing your page content in the Dashboard editor, but when you view the page on your site, you will see the TOC appear.  If you don’t see a TOC, that means you have fewer than four headings on your page. By default, the TOC plugin is set to appear when there are four or more headings on a page.  You can either add additional headings (if that makes sense given the content on your page) or change the plugin settings to appear when there are fewer than four headings. Plugin settings are described below.

Easy Table of Contents step 3

Easy Table of Contents Settings

1. To change the plugin settings, go to Dashboard > Settings > Table of Contents.  To change the number of headings required for the TOC to appear on a page, change the number in the dropdown for Show when 4 or more headings are present.

Easy Table of Contents Settings

2. Some of the other settings that may be relevant are:

  • General
    • Enable Support: By default, a TOC will appear on pages, but you can include posts and other special post types.
    • Auto Insert: You can automatically insert a TOC on pages or posts, meaning you won’t need to click Insert table of contents on individual pages.
    • Position: changes where the TOC appears on the page.  The default “Before first heading” probably makes sense for most cases, but it can be changed.
    • Display Header Label and Header Label: The default header label is “Table of Contents” but you can choose whether to display a label at all, or can change the text of the label displayed.
    • Toggle View: allows site visitors to choose whether to expand or hide the TOC contents.
    • Initial View: determines whether the TOC is minimized by default, with the option for site visitors to expand.
    • Show as Hierarchy: The hierarchy option means that subheadings will be nested under parent headings, but you can choose a non-hierarchical display.
    • Counter: determines how headings are numbered in the TOC.
  • Appearance
    • The TOC will automatically choose your theme’s styles, but you can choose many of these elements, such as the width, font size, background color, border color, etc.
  • Advanced: There are a number of advanced options; a few of the most commonly used include:
    • Homepage: By default, a TOC will not appear on the homepage, but if you are using a static page for your homepage, you may want a TOC to appear.  If so, you will need to choose this option.
    • Headings: allows you to choose which types of headings (e.g. Heading 1, Heading 2, etc) are used to create the TOC.  All headings are included by default, but uncheck a heading to exclude it. These settings are global for all pages, but you can also choose to exclude headings on individual pages.
    • Exclude Headings: allows you to exclude headings that contain specific words.  For example, if you want to include all Heading 2, except if they contain the word “elephants.”  This can also be done on individual pages.

Widget

You can also display the TOC as a widget in your sidebar.  It will show a different TOC depending on the page you’re viewing.

1. Go to Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets, and click on Table of Contents.   Choose where you want the widget to appear, and click Add Widget.

Easy Table of Contents widget

2. After adding the widget, you can adjust settings, such as the widget title and color.

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