Launched: Section Outlines

One of my favorite things about Coda is that it’s a doc that grows with you, your ideas and your teams. But sometimes that means a single Section becomes an enduring, growing Source of Truth (or meeting notes, or project milestones . . .) that can be a bit unwieldy to navigate. Recently we launched Collapsible Headers, Tables & Views and Drag-and-Drop Text, and today we’re going one step further to help you organize your sections with Section Outlines!

Now you can add outlines for your sections to help viewers understand how information is organized within the section. Outlines will update automatically when new sections are added and/or header sizes are changed. Clicking a line-item in an outline will jump you to that section of the doc.

section outline gif

Section outlines are especially useful for long sections with lots of headings. (Tip: Try pairing this with collapsible headers!)

You can turn section outlines on in the Section Options menu (which has graduated from a dropdown menu to a fuller right-side panel!) by hovering over the top of your section canvas to expose ‘Options’ and then clicking it.

enable section outline gif

You can hide the outline by clicking on the ‘kebab’ (three vertical dots) menu that shows to the right of it when you engage with the outline. If you want to re-enable it after hiding, you must re-open the Section Options menu.

A few other things to know about our new feature:

  • Section outlines currently only work on docs viewed on desktop; they are not supported on mobile experiences
  • Section outlines include tables and views, which have H2-sized headers, so they will show up as such in the outline hierarchy

We hope this helps you organize and navigate your sections, and welcome any feedback about section outlines!

ー Sergei

31 Likes

Great stuff. Now take the last step - link outlines to table data - and you’ll make me into TRUE BELIEVER!!!

3 Likes

@Paul_Bettner that’s an intriguing idea – how do you envision outlines linking to table data?

I’ve occasionally dreamt about the other way around: accessing section text and header data via tables and/or formulae.

But what were you thinking?

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Finally, Coda has “Table of content.”

I had tweaked TOC Section outline (TOC) Tweak

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Great! Thank you for listening to users!

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Thanks for listening us!

I’m going to use your TOC quite a lot. It reshapes Coda, bringing it closer to complex documents, wikis, etc.

Paired with nestable sections… this is going to be awesome!

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Toady 3/29 , I notice TOC add tooltip for long head text .

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but it doesn’t work long table/ chart title.

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I still like my style, warp long text , but I don’t know how align .
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I don’t like tooltip, it responds so slowly and it has repeating texts that can’t focus on see the title.

That’s cool, I can write a long text and navigate the document easier, thank you!

1 Like

Please add the option show/don’t show in mobile. Section outlines are extremely usefull for mobile (who uses a desktop?) - but I can imagine some builders don’t want it in their mobile views. So, optional inclusion would be great.

@Sergei

Please consider extending a toggle setting to the Section Outline that would make it visible and accessible from all points within a Section. This would make navigating long Sections instantaneous. Which would be particularly beneficial when wiring up complex logic among many connected tables. :grin:

EDIT: Just realized that the Section Outline is sticky over the length of a section so long as there is nothing blocking it, like a wide table. It’s rare that I have long Sections comprised of many tables that are less wide than the screen, with the result being that the sticky Section Outline is rarely visible. So I’ll refine this request to please account for the scenario where wide tables conflict with the visibility of the Section Outline.

Hi Ander,

The section outline hiding behind wide tables was an intentional decision. There’s not a 100% right answer on this one and a lot depends on the use-case as to how much this might interfere. On smaller screens we found that very little of the table was viewable if the outline was on top, so ended up needing to go with hiding it behind the tables so more data can be visible.

There are definitely use-cases and situations where the opposite would be true though. We’re keeping an eye on this and the feedback is much appreciated.

Ben

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@BenLee along those lines, another display idea that I’ve had would be a “width=100%” option for tables, to auto-scale tables to the width of the screen rather than having to scroll horizontally on wide tables. I know that might make some cells very narrow on some large tables, but I think it would be a useful display option to have available for some situations. Have you all thought about doing that?

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We’ve had requests for more data on the screen at one time, but it does get difficult because there are so many different column types. It is nice to either see the space filled or know you’re seeing all of your data.

It’s an interesting idea.

Wouldn’t this be able to be somewhat mitigated by having an auto-scaling width option for tables?
At the moment, there are only three options. Thin, Wide (which on hi-res screens is still less than half the available width) and then going into full screen mode. Perhaps an auto-scale mode which allows the width to take up the width of your browser window, and it scales back and forth depending on things like the outline view, or width of the info column on the right of screen etc etc. The lack of a wider view is starting to become a major pain point for users on our small business management system - and this is after using many tips and tricks from a bunch of clever users here :slight_smile:

@BenLee

Figured as much – the UI grows more dynamic by the week! :heart_eyes:

Here’s some additional feedback:

Maybe the Section Outline could also be made accessible in one of the sidebars in the same way that Comments are.

No need to scroll the section vertically to hunt for a random opening among unique content where the Section Outline happens to be visible. Instead, to immediately jump elsewhere in the section, simply:

hover > expand > click on Section Outline

This would make sections instantly navigable, even when the user is sandwiched among a stack of many wide tables… or hundreds of rows deep in a single wide table… or sandwiched among a stack of many wide tables that are hundreds of rows deep!! :crazy_face:

I would use this all day, every day.

4 Likes