A Clickable Table of Contents May Be the Best Performance Support Solution

MS Word

Last week I was brainstorming performance support ideas with a colleague. She shared how her team needed to be able to easily find information quickly when speaking on the phone with a variety of audiences. This wasn’t just for some information, her team needed to be able to quickly access bits and pieces of information from an enormous catalog of ways to address concerns of the people with whom they interacted.

Was there a way to get our learning management system to do this? Or perhaps there was a way to do this through a complex series of variables created in Storyline?

I thought for a moment.

“Why not do it in a Word document?” I asked. 

There was a pause. “That seems like kind of a bland solution,” she responded.

Sometimes the best solution doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. After I suggested that she could created a clickable Table of Contents with hyperlinks to the necessary information, my colleague mulled it over for a bit, smiled, and said: “Yeah, I guess that would work!”

For training professionals, even though we carry words like “training” or “learning and development” in our titles, sometimes the solution isn’t training at all. It’s a job aid, a checklist, a Google search, a handout, a reference guide with clickable hyperlinks.

If you’re curious on how to turn a Word document into a dynamic job aid with hyperlinks to the information you’re needing, it’s a fairly easy process. Here are the steps:

1. Open a new Word document.

2. Insert a table of contents from the References tab.

1 Reference Tab

I’d suggest choosing an “Automatic” table.

2 TOC

3. Identifying text for your table of contents. Use the “Headings” font style from the Home tab in order to identify text that should be pulled into your table of contents.

Use Heading 1 for main topics and Heading 2 for sub-topics.

3 headings

4. Update your table of contents. Return to your table of contents, click on the word “Contents” and you’ll get a menu that says “Update Table…”. Click on that and the text you entered through the Headings style will be pulled into your table of contents.

4 Update TOC

5 Updated TOC

5. Insert Bookmarks. Now return to your main text and highlight the headings that you’ll want people to jump to. Go to the Insert tab and click on Bookmark. A window will pop up in which you can enter the name of your Bookmark. Give it a logical, easy to remember name (especially if you will have a lot of content). Then click the Add button.

6 Insert Bookmark

6. Link your table of contents to your content in your document. Return to your table of contents and highlight the first topic area. Select Hyperlink from the Insert tab, choose Place in this Document from the left side of the pop-up window, then choose the appropriate bookmark. Click Ok.

7 Insert Hypelrinks

7. Jump right to the exact information you’re looking for! Hover your mouse over the topic you’re looking for in your table of contents, then hold the Control key while clicking on the topic, and get ready to jump right to the content you’re looking for.

8 Jump to page

 

 

4 thoughts on “A Clickable Table of Contents May Be the Best Performance Support Solution

  1. Excellent, simple solution. Perhaps even simpler would be to create the document first, then generate the TOC. If you use any kind of “Heading” style for your document (which you should be doing anyhow to title and segment the different chunks of information), it should require fewer steps to generate the TOC with hyperlinks.

    If unfamiliar with styles or TOC creation, click the “?” in Word, and search for “quick reference card table of contents.” There’s a video there on how to create a TOC, but more importantly, a link to a quick reference card that explains the process.

    • Absolutely, Karen. Your suggestions will take out several steps and make it easier.

      I’m quite clumsy when it comes to using Word and generally peck away without any headings. I kinda wish Word would keep the headings in the same font color as the rest of the text, so I generally just make text bold or perhaps change the font size to break up a document (instead of using Headings)… which then makes me take several extra steps when creating a TOC.

      Thanks for your suggestions!

      • Brian – I used to be the same way, but the utility and ease that using Headings brings finally won me over. (And just FYI, you can change the styles of the Headings – they dont have to be a different font color, etc!)

      • Yes, I’m starting to see the helpfulness of Headings (and yes, the first thing I do is go back and change their color back to black!!). I love the comments on the blog… they make me a better practitioner!!

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