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How to Link to a Specific Part of a Page Using Anchors Links in HTML

Anchor Links are links that link to a specific part of a page. These are useful when you want the user to easily skim-read through a page or when the page is long, or both. Wikipedia, like many other websites, uses anchor links as you can see in the following video:

You need two HTML elements for Linking to a specific part of the page - the link itself and the page section marked by what we call a named anchor.

Anchor Link

We create the hyperlink using the HTML <a> tag with the href attribute linking containing #anchor-name. The # tells the browser that this is an anchor link

<a href="#anchor-name">Anchor Link</a>

Page Section Anchor

We can mark any part of the page by providing id attribute to any of the elements. Usually, we create anchor links to headings as they section the page into various parts but you can create named anchors for any elements.

<h2 id="anchor-name">Heading</h2>

Do remember id by definition have to be unique for a page, so you can't have more than one element with the same id.

Example Page:

Linking to Part of a Page from Another Page

Just like you can link part of the same page using anchor links you can also link to specific parts of another page, when you click on such hyperlinks the new page opens, and the browser scrolls to the specific section or part. This method is commonly used to link to very long pages or pages with lots of sections, like a glossary page.

You can create such links very similarly by linking to the page URL as usual and then using the #section-name as we did in the above example:

<a href="page.html#anchor-name">Anchor Link</a>

Or to section of page on another website:

<a href="">Anchor Link</a>

Smooth Scrolling with Just One Line of CSS

The anchor links by default "jumps" to the part of the page when clicked which in my opinion doesn't feel very good, smooth scrolling to the page like in the following video, would feel much better:

To achieve this just add the following line to your CSS style:

html {
    scroll-behavior: smooth;    

Back Button Behavior and "Go to Top" Link

As you may have noticed in the examples above, browsers treat anchor links just like normal links when it comes to "Back" button behavior by taking you to the place where you clicked the anchor link from. You can also create a  "Go to Top" link from each section that links to, say, a named anchor created for the blog or page title element (something that is at the very top of the page).

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