Documentation is sometimes the most critical part of a project. Whether it is internal, or product documentation, finding a way to automate documentation can save a lot of time, and reduce the amount of mistakes that can be made if changed manually.
At nsquared, all our software comes with an extensive user guide for customers to follow, so it’s important for us to automate as much as possible.
The following steps will show you how to create Text Anchors, and create Cross-References to these anchors to automate referencing within your document. For example, if there are references in your document, such as, “…refer to Chapter 5 on page 54”, the chapter name and page number will be automated. If the chapter moves from page 54, the reference will automatically update.
Note: This guide assumes that you have an intermediate level of experience with InDesign.
Creating Text Anchors
1. With your document open, identify the text you would like to define as Text Anchors. Typically, these Text Anchors are chapters, headings, and sub headings. For example, Chapter 5.
2. Once you have identified the Text Anchors, highlight the text.
3. Open then Hyperlinks window by going to the Window menu, Interactive > Hyperlinks.
4. With the text highlighted, click the hamburger menu icon in the top right corner of the Hyperlinks window, then click New Hyperlink Destination.
5. A pop up window will appear. From the Type dropdown, select Text Anchor.
6. Give the Text Anchor a Name. It is recommended that the name of the Text Anchor is the same as the text highlighted. This will make it easier to Cross-Reference later, which we will cover in the next section. For this example, we will call the Text Anchor Chapter 5.
7. Click OK.
8. Repeat steps 4-7 to create all the Text Anchors in your document.
Inserting Cross-References through your document
1. Now it is time to reference the Text Anchors. Click where you want to insert a reference in your document. For example, taking the example from above, “…refer to Chapter 5 on page 54”.
2. Go to the Type menu, Hyperlinks & Cross-References > Insert Cross-Reference.
3. From the Link To dropdown, select Text Anchor.
4. From the Document dropdown, make sure the document you are working on is selected.
5. From the Text Anchor dropdown, select the correct Text Anchor for this reference. For this example, we will find Chapter 5.
6. From the Format dropdown, select the format you wish. These formats can be edited further by clicking the pencil icon.
7. Click OK.
8. Repeat steps 1-7 to insert all Cross-References in your document.
Now you have automated all references throughout your document. Now, if you rename a Text-Anchor, or it has moved to a different page, all Cross-References will automatically update.
No more incorrect referencing!