Using Bookmarks in Google Docs

In this previous post I discussed adding a Table of Contents (TOC) to your Google document by using the built-in tool designed for this task. You can, alternatively, use bookmarks in your document to add navigation – this is a little more work to set up and maintain, but is much more flexible.

Bookmarks are shortcuts to specific locations within a document, and provide a way to introduce links that allow users to jump from one part of a long document to another without scrolling.

To insert a bookmark, highlight the text where you’d like the bookmark to appear, and use Insert > Bookmark from the menu:

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Now you’ll see a blue mark indicating the position of your new bookmark:

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To use the bookmark, we need to link to it. For this example, let’s build a horizontally styled menu in the document header. First I’ll create the header using Insert > Header, as described in this earlier post:

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Now I’ll enter some text as titles for my navigation links:

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I can now highlight each of these menu entries in turn, and turn each into a link to a bookmark using Insert > Link:

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Now select Bookmarks from the sub-menu that appears (you can see in the image that I’ve already added a few more bookmarks to my document):

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Note that, as well as bookmarks, this dialog also allows me to link to any headings I’ve set within the document, much as the document editor’s own Table of Contents tool does:

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Of course, your menu doesn’t have to be horizontal, and doesn’t have to be placed within the document header; you can do your own thing.

As a final tip, you can right-click on a blue bookmark icon and select Copy Link Address from the context menu that appears. The link that’s now stored on your clipboard will take you (or any other user who has access to the document) not just to the document, but right to the location of the link – ideal if you want to send such links to collaborators on long documents.