5 Ways to Link to Parts of Google Docs

There are a lot of reasons that you may want to put links into a doc that allow you (or the reader) to jump to certain parts of a Google Doc.  Here are a few possible reasons:

  • You’re creating a HyperDoc with lots of stuff in it!
  • Your students are creating eBooks and need a Table of Contents
  • You’re managing a long doc of lesson plans and want to be able to jump to different units or months
  • Your students are creating Choose Your Own Adventure books
  • You’re collaborating with a team of educators in a doc with multiple meetings worth of notes
  • A slightly different reason – sending a link in an email (or messaging system) that takes the recipient directly to a certain location within the doc

There are a few different ways to manage this and different ones are best in different situations.¬† Let’s check them out!

1. Using “Headings” to create linkable pieces of text

When you use the “Styles” dropdown to format parts of your doc as¬†Heading 1, Heading 2 or Heading 3 those Headings become links that even show up in the Insert Link menu.¬† Check out the steps in the animated GIF below.

Headings as Links Animation

2. Copying the url for headings, titles & Subtitles

You may have noticed that in #1, I didn’t mention¬†Titles or¬†Subtitles¬†along with the 3 different levels of Headings.¬† This is because they don’t naturally appear in that¬†Insert Link box.¬† I’m not sure why.¬† Regardless, if you add a title or subtitle (just like a heading) you’ll notice that when you click on them, the URL changes. This is because the URL is specific to that location in the doc.¬† So, copy that URL and create a link with it elsewhere in the doc to jump to that spot.¬† Check out how in the animation below.

URLs from Titles Animation

Note: These URLs are nice outside of that doc as well.¬† Let’s say a colleague asks you about a specific topic that was discussed in a faculty meeting a few weeks back.¬† Copy the URL for the heading or title from that meeting and email it to them – then, when they click on that, not only will the doc open, but they’ll jump to the right spot.

3. Use Bookmarks

What if you don’t want to format some of your text as a “title” or “heading”?¬† Well, bookmarks are the answer for you.¬† In my school, we have a shared document for the plans for our “PRIDE” period, that all teachers teach.¬† We use bookmarks to make it easy to jump by month.¬†¬†The biggest use of this that I can see, though, is to have students¬†link to the locations of their evidence.¬† Think about it:¬†How do I know that the character is feeling remorseful?¬† I can see evidence here when he says “sorry” and here when he is feeling depressed about what he did.¬†¬†Add links to the spots in that document where those events happened and you can see evidence of your students’ reading comprehension.¬† *Boom!*¬† Check out the process for adding bookmarks and using them for links in the animation below.

Bookmarks in Docs for Links Animation

4. Insert Table of Contents

If you want there to be links to each chapter of your ebook (or dates of your lesson plan or agendas from your meeting…) up at the top of your document, the Table of Contents is a great solution for you.¬† There are two main downsides of the Table of Contents.¬† First,it doesn’t work with Titles or Subtitles.¬†¬†Second, the Table of Contents can become really long.¬† But, if you want links to each of those Headings in the doc, this will be great for you, because it’s really simple to set up.¬† Check it out:

Insert Table of Contents in Docs Animation

5. Document Outline

The last option is convenient, but isn’t for creating links in the document itself.¬† If your goal is just to be able to navigate the document quickly without concern for how other people navigate your document, the¬†Document Outline is a great solution for you.¬† Anything that you format as Title, Subtitle or Heading automatically goes into the Document Outline.¬† An interesting tidbit is that it also adds things that¬†look like headings to this list (i.e., something bold and underlined).¬† Just remember: your document’s viewers only see the document outline if they go to¬†View and turn it on themselves.Document Outline Animation

Published by

Jake Miller

Jake is the host of the Educational Duct Tape podcast, the #EduGIF Guy, a Tech Integration Coach, speaker, Former STEM, Math & Science Teacher, and a presenter.