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hypertoc - generate a table of contents for HTML documents


version 3.20


hypertoc --help | --manpage | --man_help | --man

hypertoc [--bak string ] [ --debug ] [ --entrysep string ] [ --footer file ] [ --header
file ] [ --ignore_only_one ] [ --ignore_sole_first ] [ --inline ] [ --make_anchors ] [
--make_toc ] [ --notoc_match string ] [ --ol | --nool ] [ --ol_num_levels ] [ --outfile
file ] [ --overwrite ] [ --quiet ] [ --textonly ] [ --title string ] { --toc_after
tag=suffix } { --toc_before tag=prefix } { --toc_end tag=endtag } { --toc_entry tag=level
} [ --toc_label string ] [ --toc_only | --notoc_only ] [ --toc_tag string ] [
--toc_tag_replace ] [ --use_id ] [ --useorg ] file ...


hypertoc allows you to specify "significant elements" that will be hyperlinked to in a
"Table of Contents" (ToC) for a given set of HTML documents.

Basically, the ToC generated is a multi-level level list containing links to the
significant elements. hypertoc inserts the links into the ToC to significant elements at a
level specified by the user.


If H1s are specified as level 1, than they appear in the first level list of the ToC. If
H2s are specified as a level 2, than they appear in a second level list in the ToC.

There are two aspects to the ToC generation: (1) putting suitable anchors into the HTML
documents (--make_anchors), and (2) generating the ToC from HTML documents which have
anchors in them for the ToC to link to (--make_toc). One can choose to do one or both of

hypertoc also supports the ability to incorporate the ToC into the HTML document itself
via the --inline option.

In order for hypertoc to support linking to significant elements, hypertoc inserts anchors
into the significant elements. One can use hypertoc as a filter, outputing the result to
another file, or one can overwrite the original file, with the original backed up with a
suffix (default: "org") appended to the filename.

One can also define options in a config file as well as on the command-line.


Options can start with "--" or "-"; boolean options can be negated by preceding them with
"no"; options with hash or array values can be added to by giving the option again for
each value.

See Getopt::Long for more information.

--argfile filename
The name of a file to read more options from. This can be used more than once. For

--argfile your.args --argfile my.args

See "Options Files" for more information.

--bak string

If the input file/files is/are being overwritten (--overwrite is on), copy the
original file to "filename.string". If the value is empty, there is no backup file
written. (default:org)

Enable verbose debugging output. Used for debugging this module; in other words,
don't bother. (default:off)

--entrysep string

Separator string for non-<li> item entries (default: ", ")

--footer file

File containing footer text for table of contents.

--header file

File containing header text for table of contents.

Print a short help message and exit.

If there would be only one item in the ToC, don't make a ToC.

If the first item in the ToC is of the highest level, AND it is the only one of that
level, ignore it. This is useful in web-pages where there is only one H1 header but
one doesn't know beforehand whether there will be only one.

Put ToC in document at a given point. See "Inlining the ToC" for more information.

--make_anchors | --gen_anchors
Create anchors for the table-of-contents to link to.

--make_toc | --gen_toc
Make a Table-of-Contents which links to anchored significant elements.

--man_help | --manpage | --man
Print all documentation and exit.

--notoc_match string

If there are certain individual tags you don't wish to include in the table of
contents, even though they match the "significant elements", then if this pattern
matches contents inside the tag (not the body), then that tag will not be included,
either in generating anchors nor in generating the ToC. (default: class="notoc")

--ol | --nool
Use an ordered list for Table-of-Contents entries (to a given depth). If --ol is
false (i.e. --nool is set) then don't use an ordered list for ToC entries.


(See --ol_num_levels to determine how deep the ordered-list listing goes)

The number of levels deep the OL listing will go if --ol is true. If set to zero,
will use an ordered list for all levels. (default:1)

--outfile file

File to write the output to. This is where the modified HTML output and the Table-of-
Contents goes to. If you give '-' as the filename, then output will go to STDOUT.
(default: STDOUT)

Overwrite the input file with the output. If this is in effect, --outfile is ignored.
Used in generate_anchors for creating the anchors "in place" and in generate_toc if
the --inline option is in effect. (default:off)

Suppress informative messages. (default: off)

Use only text content in significant elements.

--title string

Title for ToC page (if not using --header or --inline or --toc_only) (default: "Table
of Contents")

--toc_after tag=suffix

--toc_after "H2=</em>"

For defining layout of significant elements in the ToC. The tag is the HTML tag which
marks the start of the element. The suffix is what is required to be appended to the
Table of Contents entry generated for that tag. This is a cumulative hash argument.
(default: undefined)

--toc_before tag=prefix

--toc_before "H2=<em>"

For defining the layout of significant elements in the ToC. The tag is the HTML tag
which marks the start of the element. The prefix is what is required to be prepended
to the Table of Contents entry generated for that tag. This is a cumulative hash
argument. (default: undefined)

--toc_end tag=endtag

--toc_end "H1=/H1"

For defining significant elements. The tag is the HTML tag which marks the start of
the element. The endtag the HTML tag which marks the end of the element. When
matching in the input file, case is ignored (but make sure that all your tag options
referring to the same tag are exactly the same!). This is a cumulative hash argument.
(default: H1=/H1 H2=/H2)

--toc_entry tag=level

--toc_entry "TITLE=1" --toc_entry "H1=2"

For defining significant elements. The tag is the HTML tag which marks the start of
the element. The level is what level the tag is considered to be. The value of level
must be numeric, and non-zero. If the value is negative, consective entries
represented by the significant_element will be separated by the value set by
--entrysep option. This is a cumulative hash argument. (default: H1=1 H2=2)

--toc_label | --toclabel
--toc_label string

HTML text that labels the ToC. Always used. (default: "<h1>Table of Contents</h1>")

--toc_only | --notoc_only
Output only the Table of Contents, that is, the Table of Contents plus the toc_label.
If there is a --header or a --footer, these will also be output.

If --toc_only is false (i.e. --notoc_only is set) then if there is no --header, and
--inline is not true, then a suitable HTML page header will be output, and if there is
no --footer and --inline is not true, then a HTML page footer will be output.

--toc_tag string

If a ToC is to be included inline, this is the pattern which is used to match the tag
where the ToC should be put. This can be a start-tag, an end-tag or a comment, but
the < should be left out; that is, if you want the ToC to be placed after the BODY
tag, then give "BODY". If you want a special comment tag to make where the ToC should
go, then include the comment marks, for example: "!--toc--" (default:BODY)

In conjunction with --toc_tag, this is a flag to say whether the given tag should be
replaced, or if the ToC should be put after the tag. This can be useful if your
toc_tag is a comment and you don't need it after you have the ToC in place.

Use id="name" for anchors rather than <a name="name"> anchors. However if an anchor
already exists for a Significant Element, this won't make an ID for that particular

Use pre-existing backup files as the input source; that is, files of the form
filename.bak (see --bak).


Options Files
Options can be given in files as well as on the command-line by using the --argfile
filename option in the command-line. Also, the files ~/.hypertocrc and ./.hypertocrc are
checked for options.

The format is as follows: Lines starting with # are comments. Lines enclosed in PoD
markers are also comments. Blank lines are ignored. The options themselves should be
given the way they would be on the command line, that is, the option name (including the
--) followed by its value (if any).

For example:

# set the ToC to be three-level
--toc_entry H1=1
--toc_entry H2=2
--toc_entry H3=3

--toc_end H1=/H1
--toc_end H2=/H2
--toc_end H3=/H3

Option files can be nested, by giving an --argfile filename argument inside the option
file, it will go and get that referred file as well.

See Getopt::ArgvFile for more information.


Significant Elements
Here are some examples of defining the significant elements for your Table of Contents.

Example of Default

The following reflects the default setting if nothing is explicitly specified:

--toc_entry "H1=1" --toc_end "H1=/H1" --toc_entry "H2=2" --toc_end "H2=/H2"

Or, if it was defined in one of the possible "Options Files":

# default settings
--toc_entry H1=1
--toc_end H1=/H1
--toc_entry H2=2
--toc_end H2=/H2

Example of before/after

The following options make use of the before/after options:

# An options file that adds some formatting
# make level 1 ToC entries <strong>
--toc_entry H1=1
--toc_end H1=/H1
--toc_before H1=<strong>
--toc_after H1=</strong>

# make level 2 ToC entries <em>
--toc_entry H2=2
--toc_end H2=/H2
--toc_before H2=<em>
--toc_after H2=</em>

# Make level 3 entries as is
--toc_entry H3=3
--toc_end H3=/H3

Example of custom end

The following options try to index definition terms:

# An options file that can work for Glossary type documents
--toc_entry H1=1
--toc_end H1=/H1
--toc_entry H2=2
--toc_end H2=/H2

# Assumes document has a DD for each DT, otherwise ToC
# will get entries with a lot of text.
--toc_entry DT=3
--toc_end DT=DD
--toc_before DT=<em>
--toc_after DT=</em>

Formatting the ToC
The --toc_entry etc. options give you control on how the ToC entries may look, but there
are other options to affect the final appearance of the ToC file created.

With the --header option, the contents of the given file will be prepended before the
generated ToC. This allows you to have introductory text, or any other text, before the

If you use the --header option, make sure the file specified contains the opening HTML
tag, the HEAD element (containing the TITLE element), and the opening BODY tag.
However, these tags/elements should not be in the header file if the --inline options
is used. See "Inlining the ToC" for information on what the header file should contain
for inlining the ToC.

With the --toc_label option, the contents of the given string will be prepended before the
generated ToC (but after any text taken from a --header file).

With the --footer option, the contents of the file will be appended after the generated

If you use the -footer, make sure it includes the closing BODY and HTML tags (unless,
of course, you are using the --inline option).

If the --header option is not specified, the appropriate starting HTML markup will be
added, unless the --toc_only option is specified. If the --footer option is not
specified, the appropriate closing HTML markup will be added, unless the --toc_only option
is specified.

If you do not want/need to deal with header, and footer, files, then you are alloed to
specify the title, --title option, of the ToC file; and it allows you to specify a
heading, or label, to put before ToC entries' list, the --toc_label option. Both options
have default values, see "OPTIONS" for more information on each option.

If you do not want HTML page tags to be supplied, and just want the ToC itself, then
specify the --toc_only option. If there are no --header or --footer files, then this will
simply output the contents of --toc_label and the ToC itself.

Inlining the ToC
The ability to incorporate the ToC directly into an HTML document is supported via the
--inline option.

Inlining will be done on the first file in the list of files processed, and will only be
done if that file contains an opening tag matching the --toc_tag value.

If --overwrite is true, then the first file in the list will be overwritten, with the
generated ToC inserted at the appropriate spot. Otherwise a modified version of the first
file is output to either STDOUT or to the output file defined by the --outfile option.

The options --toc_tag and --toc_tag_replace are used to determine where and how the ToC is
inserted into the output.

Example 1

# this is the default
--toc_tag BODY --notoc_tag_replace

This will put the generated ToC after the BODY tag of the first file. If the --header
option is specified, then the contents of the specified file are inserted after the BODY
tag. If the --toc_label option is not empty, then the text specified by the --toc_label
option is inserted. Then the ToC is inserted, and finally, if the --footer option is
specified, it inserts the footer. Then the rest of the input file follows as it was

Example 2

--toc_tag '!--toc--' --toc_tag_replace

This will put the generated ToC after the first comment of the form <!--toc-->, and that
comment will be replaced by the ToC (in the order
--footer) followed by the rest of the input file.

The header file should not contain the beginning HTML tag and HEAD element since the
HTML file being processed should already contain these tags/elements.


Create an inline ToC for one file
hypertoc --inline --make_anchors --overwrite --make_toc index.html

This will create anchors in "index.html", create a ToC with a heading of "Table of
Contents" and place it after the BODY tag of "index.html". The file index.html.org will
contain the original index.html file, without ToC or anchors.

Create a ToC file from multiple files
First, create the anchors.

hypertoc --make_anchors --overwrite index.html fred.html george.html

Then create the ToC

hypertoc --make_toc --outfile table.html index.html fred.html george.html

Create an inline ToC after the first heading of the first file
hypertoc --make_anchors --inline --overwrite --make_toc --toc_tag /H1 \
--notoc_tag_replace --toc_label "" index.html fred.html george.html

This will create anchors in the "index.html", "fred.html" and "george.html" files, create
a ToC with no header and place it after the first H1 header in "index.html" and back up
the original files to "index.html.org", "fred.html.org" and "george.html.org"

Create an inline ToC with custom elements
hypertoc --quiet --make_anchors --bak "" --overwrite \
--make_toc --inline --toc_label "" --toc_tag '!--toc--' \
--toc_tag_replace \
--toc_entry H2=1 --toc_entry H3=2 \
--toc_end H2=/H2 --toc_end H3=/H3 myfile.html

This will create an inline ToC overwriting the original file, and replacing a <!--toc-->
comment, and which takes H2 headers as level 1 and H3 headers as level 2. This can be
useful where the .html file is generated by some other process, and you can then create
the ToC as the last step.

Create a ToC with custom elements
hypertoc --quiet --make_anchors --bak "" --overwrite \
--toc_entry TITLE=1 --toc_end TITLE=/TITLE
--toc_entry H2=2 --toc_entry H3=3 \
--toc_end H2=/H2 --toc_end H3=/H3 \
--make_toc --outfile index.html \
mary.html fred.html george.html

This creates anchors at the H2 and H3 elements, and creates a ToC file called index.html,
indexing on the TITLE, and the H2 and H3 elements.

Create a ToC with custom elements and options file
Given an options file called 'custom.opt' as follows:

# Title, H2 and H3
--toc_entry TITLE=1
--toc_end TITLE=/TITLE
--toc_entry H2=2
--toc_end H2=/H2
--toc_entry H3=3
--toc_end H3=/H3

then the previous example can have shorter command lines as follows:

hypertoc --quiet --make_anchors --bak "" --overwrite \
--argfile custom.opt --make_toc --outfile index.html mary.html fred.html george.html


· hypertoc is smart enough to detect anchors inside significant elements. If the anchor
defines the NAME attribute, hypertoc uses the value. Else, it adds its own NAME
attribute to the anchor. If --use_id is true, then it likewise checks for and uses

· The TITLE element is treated specially if specified as a significant element. It is
illegal to insert anchors (A) into TITLE elements. Therefore, hypertoc will actually
link to the filename itself instead of the TITLE element of the document.

· hypertoc will ignore a significant element if it does not contain any non-whitespace
characters. A warning message is generated if such a condition exists.

· If you have a sequence of significant elements that change in a slightly disordered
fashion, such as H1 -> H3 -> H2 or even H2 -> H1, though hypertoc deals with this to
create a list which is still good HTML, if you are using an ordered list to that
depth, then you will get strange numbering, as an extra list element will have been
inserted to nest the elements at the correct level.

For example (H2 -> H1 with --ol_num_levels=1):

* My H2 Header
2. My H1 Header

For example (H1 -> H3 -> H2 with --ol_num_levels=0 and H3 also being significant):

1. My H1 Header
1. My H3 Header
2. My H2 Header
2. My Second H1 Header

In cases such as this it may be better not to use the --ol option.

· If one is not using --overwrite when generating anchors, then the command needs to be
done in two passes, in order to give the correct filenames (the ones with the actual
anchors in them) to the ToC generation part. Otherwise the ToC will have anchors
pointing to files that don't have them.

· When using --inline, care needs to be taken if overwriting -- if one sets the ToC to
be included after a given tag (such as the default BODY) then if one runs the command
repeatedly one could get multiple ToCs in the same file, one after the other.


· Version 3.10 (and above) generates more verbose (SEO-friendly) anchors than prior
versions. Thus anchors generated with earlier versions will not match version 3.10

· Version 3.00 (and above) of hypertoc behaves somewhat differently than Version 2.x of
hypertoc. It is now designed to do everything in one pass, and has dropped certain
options: the --infile option is no longer used (all filenames are put at the end of
the command); the --toc_file option no longer exists; use the --outfile option
instead; the --tocmap option is no longer supported.

It now generates lower-case tags rather than upper-case ones.

· hypertoc is not very efficient (memory and speed), and can be slow for large

· Now that generation of anchors and of the ToC are done in one pass, even more memory
is used than was the case before. This is more notable when processing multiple
files, since all files are read into memory before processing them.

· Invalid markup will be generated if a significant element is contained inside of an
anchor. For example:

<a name="foo"><h1>The FOO command</h1></a>

will be converted to (if h1 is a significant element),

<a name="foo"><h1><a name="The">The</a> FOO command</h1></a>

which is illegal since anchors cannot be nested.

It is better style to put anchor statements within the element to be anchored. For
example, the following is preferred:

<h1><a name="foo">The FOO command</a></h1>

hypertoc will detect the "foo" NAME and use it.

Even better is to use IDs:

<h1 id="foo">The FOO command</h1>

· NAME attributes without quotes are not recognized.

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