Anchor links for Microsoft SharePoint Online have been a much-requested feature by SharePoint users. Now that they are available, I’m going to give you an overview of how they work. In this article, you’ll learn how and why to include anchor links in your SPO pages.

What is an Anchor Link in SharePoint Online?

Let’s start with the basics. An anchor link allows you to link to a specific point or section within a piece of content on your SharePoint Online (SPO) pages, enabling you to direct a reader’s focus exactly where you want. 

Use Cases for On-Page Anchors in SharePoint Online

Why would you need an anchor link? Long-form content can be an excellent way to present information on your Microsoft SharePoint pages. But what if you just need to link to one paragraph or section without asking the user to read the full-text? SPO anchor links make your long-form content much more scannable and readable, thereby increasing the likelihood that users will find the information they need. 

With SPO anchors you can:

  • Create a table of contents. At the top of your SPO page, you can create a “table of contents” section with links directly to each heading on the page. This means users can see at a glance what the page contains, and jump right to the pertinent section.
  • Help readers skip ahead to content that is relevant to them. If you are explaining something that a reasonable number of readers may already know, you can let them skip directly to the next section using anchor links.
  • Link directly to one section of the content from a different page. SPO anchor links let you be much more precise when linking one page to another. If you are writing a new post and want to reference just one section of an existing SPO page, an anchor link can let you drop your readers right where they need to be.

Automatic SharePoint Online Anchor Links

In Microsoft SharePoint Online, anchor links are automatically added to H1, H2, and H3 level headings. Once you’ve added your heading, hover over it and you’ll see a link symbol.  Clicking it will give you the full URL, including the anchor. If you click this symbol, the heading will be added to the URL bar. You can also right-click the link to copy it. Then, simply make the text you want to function as a link into a hyperlink leading to that URL.

SharePoint Online Anchor Links
Image 1: SharePoint Online Article – Automatic Heading Anchor Links

Best Practices for Using Anchor Links In SharePoint Online

Anchor links are intuitively understood by users – even those who aren’t familiar with the concept – as long as they follow some simple best practices. These guidelines will help make your Microsoft SharePoint Online page as user-friendly as possible.

  • Use the anchor links at the top of the page, directly below the page heading, as an index or table of contents. Dividing the links with a pipe (this symbol: |) is a good way to make your links look like an index
  • Make your anchor link text the same as the words in the headings they link to.
  • Make sure your headings are obviously the key elements of the page.
  • Ideally, your first anchor link should refer to a heading that is visible without scrolling.

Final Thoughts: Adding Anchor Links To SharePoint Online

With how easy it now is to add anchor links to your SPO pages, combined with the potential benefits for users, there seems to be no downside including them where ever it makes sense. Just keep in mind the best practices above, and you can’t go wrong.

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