A Table of Contents for Your Site


Continuing on the theme from the last two weeks, I am going to take a look at another web part that is infrequently used, at least on the web sites that I work with. We use the Site Navigation feature out of the box for navigating between pages on a site and even to add custom links to pages and sites outside of our site. We also find the Site Navigation feature lets us build pseudo-hierarchies by adding header entries and links that serve as a fly-out to the header. But there is another way to provide navigation around a site. That is with the Table of Contents Web Part.

The Table of Contents web part lets me display all of the pages and sites that branch off the current site. The key advantage to this web part is that I can display up to three site levels (the current level and two nested sub-site levels) on a single page. It also gives me some built-in formatting capabilities to change the way the Table of Contents is rendered on the page ranging from vertical orientation to a horizontal orientation and several hybrid types in between. So let’s take a look at this web part.

Like other SharePoint web parts, I have to add the Table of Contents web part to a page on my site. This may mean that I have to first create the page where I want to place the Table of Contents. Then I can edit the page and going to the Insert ribbon and select the Web Part button from the Web Parts group. In SharePoint 2010, the Table of Contents web part can be found in the Default category as shown in the figure below. However, in SharePoint 2013, it was moved to the Content Rollup category which actually makes some sense.

After select the Table of Contents web part, click the Add button on the bottom right of the dialog. After adding the web part to the page, SharePoint provides a default view of the site. This view displays pages and sub-sites off the current site as shown below or it may only display sub-sites and their pages. In either case, I can easily modify the properties to control where the Table of Contents begins.

As with all web parts, I can edit the properties by hovering over the header to display the down-pointing caret on the right side of the header. This is the web part menu. I click on it to open the menu and select: Edit Web Part. The properties panel for the web part appears to the right of the page. You may need to scroll to the right and up the page to find it depending on the size of your page. The most interesting properties and the ones I will focus on appear in the top section of the panel. There are three sections: Content, Presentation, and Organization as shown in the following figure. Each has a box with a plus sign in it in. To open each section to view and modify its properties, click on the plus sign in the box to the left of the section name.

The following figure shows the properties found in the Content section. The first property identifies the site where the Table of Contents will begin. Note that you can either enter the URL or you can select it by clicking on the Browse button.

The second property identifies how many sub-site levels you want the Table of Contents to include. The maximum is three levels. There is also a check box where you can identify whether the site where you are beginning the Table of Contents should be included or whether to only include sub-sites under the current site and their pages.

Finally, this section has three check boxes where you can select whether you want to show pages (or just the sub-sites in the Table of Contents. You can also choose whether you want to display hidden pages or hidden sites. I suppose if you need to see everything in a site, you might check these two boxes, but most times I would guess that they were hidden for a reason.

The second section lets me modify some of the presentation features of the web part beginning with a header for the web part. Note that this is not the same as the web part Title that appears in the chrome of the web part. In fact, you may turn off the chrome and use this property to place a header at the top of the table of contents.

You can also modify the style of the header. The figure below shows the pre-defined styles available for the header.

You can also define the number of columns to divide the content area into. You can also modify the styles for the other levels. This will affect the sub-site entries in the Table of Contents.

The third section deals with organization of the items in the Table of Contents. By default, SharePoint orders the items in the Table of Contents to match the navigation. However, for large sites with many pages or many sub-sites, this may make it harder to find what you are looking for. Therefore, SharePoint provides a way to provide a custom ordering of sites and the pages within the sites.

If you select the custom sort option, you can sort the sites by Title, Creation Date, or Last Modified Date. You can also choose the direction of the sort as either ascending or descending. For example a descending sort on Creating Date will list the most recently created sites or pages near the top of the list making it easier to find what is new on the site.

After you have set all the properties, you can apply your changes and click OK to view your Table of Contents page.

That’s all for this week. C’ya next time.

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