Linking to external websites from the Flare TOC

I’ve had a lot of questions recently about Flare TOCs. One of the little-known facts about Flare TOCs is that you can link to external websites from TOC entries. I’ve had more clients ask me this question in the past few months than I had in the previous several years, and I think it’s because the Flare V11 Top Nav skin lends itself a little more smoothly to linking to external sites from their drop-down menus.

For example, I’m working with a company that is developing an Employee Portal in Flare. One of the top-level items they want in their top nav is a drop-down menu that simply links to commonly-used employee tools, such as the company’s webmail site. I never receive this kind of request in Tri Pane projects.

How to do this isn’t readily apparent in the Flare user interface. So here are the steps on how to accomplish this.

  1. In your TOC, click the New Item icon the local toolbar to create a new TOC entry that is not linked to a topic.new-unlinked-item
  2. Rename and position the TOC entry as necessary.
  3. Open the new TOC entry’s properties by right-clicking and selecting Properties.
  4. In the General tab, enter the URL you want to link to in the Link field.
    toc-entry-url

  5. If you want the link to open a new browser tab when it’s clicked, go to the Advanced tab, and select _blank from the Open in Browser Frame drop-down box.
    toc-entry-blank

And there you have it!

Since I started this post, I’ve had a lot of other thoughts about the power and flexibility of Flare TOCs. Keep your eye out for a post in the next couple days that dives deeper.

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