I’ve always used either Table of Contents Plus or a “fork” of that plugin known as Easy Table of Contents. I only switched some of my sites to Easy Table of Contents when it appeared for a time that Table of Contents Plus wasn’t being supported. As of this writing, both plugins are supported and do essentially the same thing. They just look a tad different from one another on the front end.
Until now, I’ve never used Ultimate Blocks’ or Spectra’s TOC, so that’s what this post is all about. What do the Ultimate Blocks and the Spectra TOC offer, and how do they compare to Easy TOC, which is the one I currently use on the rest of this site? (PublishPress has two TOC options as well, but I thought that was a bit much for one post.)
Show Me a Heading
To get the full effect of a TOC, you have to have some headings / sub-headings within your post. The one just above is an H2. I never use an H1 in an article. As far as I know, that’s still supposed to be reserved for the title of the article and only for the title.
Here’s an H3 Sub-Heading
Most of the time, I don’t need anything “deeper” than an H3. But I’ll show you more here so you can compare them in the TOCs.
Example of an H4 Heading
Whether you call them headings or sub-headings or subheadings or even subheads doesn’t really matter.
Getting Small with the H5 Subhead
The relative size of subheadings depends on your theme – and whether you have changed the settings within that theme.
Last One – An H6 Sub-Heading
We’re at the end of the line. This is the smallest subhead – one you’re not likely to ever need.
As I added the headings above, the Ultimate Blocks and Spectra TOCs updated themselves in the editor. At any point along the way, I could get an idea of what each would look like. But, as I’ve learned elsewhere, what you see in the editor isn’t always what you get on the front end.
In this case though, other than the width (which is greater in the editor than on the published page), those blocks look pretty much the same in both places.
One thing I dislike about the Spectra TOC is that the word “of” in the title is capitalized by default. It shouldn’t be, so I have changed it.
Since the items in a TOC are links, it’s nice if they look like the links on the rest of your site. The Ultimate Blocks items do. The Spectra items don’t. Instead, they are black text that is underlined, as you can see. All of this is per the default settings. You can change the color and spacing of just about everything in both TOCs. So if you dig far enough, you can make the Spectra items be blue and not underlined too.
Both TOCs are not collapsible by default. I changed both of them to allow collapsing but left them expanded initially.
Overall, there’s very little difference between the Ultimate Blocks and the Spectra TOC. The only real difference I can see is that the Spectra TOC is (but doesn’t have to be) enclosed in a box, much like the Easy TOC items are.
Easy Table of Contents items can be added to every Post and Page automatically. That’s the way I use it here. (There’s one post about Query Loop Blocks where I actually manually turned it off.) As far as I know, you can’t do that with the others, which means you have to remember to add such a block to each Post / Page for which you want / need a TOC.
So, while I do like all the options and the look of the Ultimate Blocks TOC and the Spectra TOC, I’ll be sticking with Easy Table of Contents here (or TOC+ on other sites) for now.
Then again, on some of my other sites, a fancy-schmancy TOC might be an improvement. We’ll see.