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Web Publishing

Target Links

To increase usability of a document and reduce the amount of scrolling, some web developers use target links within their web pages. A target link takes the user to a designated section of the web page. This document is divided into the following sections:

return to topWhat are Target Links?

Target links are links to a specific point within a document. Many of the links in web pages are to other documents; however, this is not always efficient or appropriate. With target links you can jump to another location within the current document instead of scrolling to the desired information. Target links are also helpful when linking to specific sections of other documents. Instead of linking just to the page, you can link directly to the relevant section.

return to topDetermining if Target Links Are Right for You

Target links are very appropriate for some documents but not as appropriate for others. The following list covers some considerations for determining if you are going to use target links or divide the document into separate documents. Your collective answers will help you determine which approach is best for you.

Printing
If users want to print the document, should they be able to print out just a portion?

If yes:
The document should be divided into separate files.

If no:
The document should be kept in one file with target links to aid navigation.

Number of Subtopics
Does the document contain only one topic with no subtopics?

If yes:
The document should remain as one file, probably without target links.

If no:
If the document has subtopics, target links will help the user identify the subtopics quickly (rather than scrolling) and move to the topics that are of interest.

Length
How many screens (or printed pages) does the document contain?

Short (1-2 screens)
The document probably does not need target links and should remain as a single document.

Medium (3-6 screens)
The document could be kept as one document; target links would be appropriate if there are several subtopics.

Long (more than 6 screens)
The document should be divided into separate files or kept in one file with target links to aid navigation.

return to topTips for Working with Target Links

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