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When you've got your on line documentation portal running and some user manuals published, you want to give your clients a link to your online documentation. Let's see what links you may want to give and how to get them.

Link to Your Documentation Portal Home Page

It is simple just give the readers a link to your portal's domain name, and they will get to the Home page:

http://manual.clickhelp.co

Opening this link will automatically bring the readers to the Home page as well:

http://manual.clickhelp.co/home

You can give the readers either of the two links, the only difference is that the first one is shorter and easier to remember.

Link to a User Manual

Every online user manual you publish creates a publication. Every publication has a unique URL you can use to open that specific publication. The easiest way to get a publication URL is the following:

  • Open the Portal Dashboard.
  • Select the needed publication.
  • Click the chain icon. The "Publication link for your readers" popup will appear. Click the link and it'll be automatically copied to your Clipboard.

      
  • Use the copied URL to link to that specific online manual.
  • When someone navigates to that URL, the system will re-direct the browser to the very first help topic in the Contents tree of that publication.

Link to a Specific Help Topic

When your project has already been published, you can simply copy a topic's URL from the browser's address bar (make sure the topic is not in the editing mode as this will affect the URL). Note that you should copy such links only from publications of your projects and not the projects themselves, because projects and Private publications are not available for readers and only available for logged in authors.

In this case the topic URL will look like this:

https://manual.clickhelp.co/articles/#!clickhelp-product-documentation/introducing-clickhelp

Note that this URL points to a specific topic, because it includes both publication and topic URLs in it. However, there are situations when you need to have links to the topics before actually publishing your project. For example, if you are going to include Context Help snippets or simple links to your topics in a new version of your product which is developed along with the documentation project. Also, the titles of your publications may differ from version to version and you will not want to update links to documentation everywhere across your application before every release.

In these situations you can use Smart Links, which do not point to a specific publication - they point to a topic from the latest publication of a project.

As it is mentioned above, Smart Links are direct links to the topics that can be acquired both before and after publishing the project. Smart Links are useful in the following circumstances:

  1. You never published the project before, so there is no Publication, but you need a link to a topic to give to your developers.
  2. You have many Publications of the project, but the link should lead to the newest one without updating it every time when you publish a new version. 

To get a smart link for a topic, open the topic you need and click the chain button in the topic header. You'll see the Smart Link and the Link to topic in specific publication options:

The second option allows selecting an existing Publication where the current topic exists, and getting a link to that published topic. This is very useful, since you don't have to open that published topic in order to get a link.

Basically, a Smart Link looks like this: http://*.clickhelp.co/smart/project-id/article-id

A good example of Smart Links usage is the Context Help feature. HTML snippets generated by this feature (available in the Context Help section of topic properties) use Smart Links to reference your help topics. The snippets are used to embed topics from your portal to your web sites or web applications as iframes or popups. Since this is often done before a project is published, Smart Links is a logical choice for such scenarios. This means that such snippets will reference the latest published version of a help topic by default. If you do not need this and need to reference a specific topic instead, you should change the topic URL in the HTML snippet generated by ClickHelp prior to inserting the snippet to your application/site pages.

Link to a Section of a Help Topic

This type of links is called anchor links. When you follow such a link, the browser will automatically scroll the page to a specific element. This is useful for long help topics when you need to point someone to a specific part of it.

To create an anchor link, you need to do the following:

  • Go to the Insert tab of the Design View ribbon bar.
  • Place the cursor next to the title where you want to create an anchor.
  • Click the Anchor item and type the Anchor ID(it  must be an alphanumeric string without whitespaces), click Ok.

This is how the Anchor will look in the Edit mode, you can see it right next to the Origins header:

Any topic link can be turned into an anchor link by appending the specified part to the URL.

If you want to create an anchor-based reference within your project to cross-link other topics,  read here how to do this.