The Publishing Starter Kit
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The Publishing Starter Kit
Your guide to making—and promoting—insightful docs that also happen to be beautiful.
C
Coda
Last updated:
6/10/2020
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We’re willing to bet that your best-kept secrets—everything from successfully developing a product to finding the best takeout—are captured somewhere. Whether they live in the margins of your favorite book or in a doc, the time has come to dig them out. To open source your docs for the world to see.

With Coda's publishing features, you can turn any doc into a sleek, shareable, discoverable website for the whole world to see. You can breathe life into your doc with varying levels of interactivity—your readers can play with or even edit your doc, if that's what you want. Add Coda's building blocks to the equation, and you can quickly and easily publish an insight with depth and dimension.

And your insights can come in a variety of forms. It can be a well-written blog post. An incisive tweet. Or maybe it's a doc that you've honed with your team or developed over time. With published docs, Coda lets you "productize" these insights.

If you have a doc, the hard work is already done. We're giving you an inside look at the building blocks we frequently use to polish our own docs and equipping you with everything you need to elevate your own.

Let your welcome page do the talking.

Think of every interview you've ever had, every first date. First impressions mattered then, and they matter now, with your doc. Much like the page you're currently reading, your welcome page is a place for prose, for thought leadership, for insights. But you also want it to look buttoned-up and polished.

Add a cover photo.

Your cover photo is your welcome mat, setting the tone for the rest of your doc. So upload your own design or choose from thousands of royalty-free Unsplash images (including dozens of options for pictures of dogs wearing blankets).

Be thoughtful and strategic in the image (or gif) you choose—it will show up in your URL unfurl whenever and wherever your doc is shared.

Sell your doc with a subtitle.

Can you sum up your doc in a sentence or two? Subtitles double as Google metadata and the text in your URL unfurl, meaning it will likely be one of the first things people read about your doc. Be brief, but give some context on what's to come.

Claim your byline.

Give yourself, and anyone else who worked on the doc, some much-deserved credit. Modesty aside, adding your byline lets doc viewers more easily find your maker profile, increasing the discoverability of your other published docs.

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No matter what type of doc, you'll want to create an inviting space. A doc your visitors want to come back to—and maybe even tell their friends about.

Organize your doc.

While it might be slightly counterintuitive, organization can lead to flexibility. With nesting pages, you can create a hierarchy of content within your doc that will guide readers through your ideas—in the order that they're meant to be read. And
extraneous tables, FAQs, meeting notes, and whatever else, to keep your doc concise.

Clean up your margins.

You know how your eye goes to that
one
book out of place on a shelf? Or how you need your couch and coffee table to line up just right? The same goes for words on a page. Whichever content alignment you choose, consider sticking with it throughout your doc.

Give your text some style.

As every brand logo can attest, fonts communicate differently. Choose the font and size that works best for the purpose of your doc. Use text styling options alongside our existing options, like bold, italics, underline, strikethrough, block quotes, etc., to help add character and provide emphasis to the main text in your doc.

Just because your doc
looks
like a blog post doesn't mean it has to
behave
like a blog post. Turning on play-mode invites readers to a virtual playground—one without any worry of making lasting changes to the doc.

Click a button.

Who can resist clicking a button? Certainly not your doc viewers. So let them click their hearts out. Give your viewers the freedom to create a new row in a table, show support with a clap,
—what the button does is up to you.

Tick a box or two.

People love lists, even those they don't get to keep. All you need to do is type two brackets on a new line ([]) to start a new checklist. And because we’re still trying to make a good impressions, you can adjust the color of the checklist text and checkbox.

Tell a story with data.

Coda is great for telling stories with data—and it goes beyond
. Let your viewers choose their own data adventure with
, like date pickers, select lists, checkboxes, and sliders. Here’s a great example from
:

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If it makes sense—no pressure from us—you can let folks edit your doc in real-time. Although only table contributions are saved, editable docs are a handy tool for crowdsourcing ideas and community-building.

Here are a few table-centric drag-and-drop templates to make your own.

Decide on what movie you'll watch next. Plan a holiday dinner menu. Rate your favorite Pantone Color of the Year. This drag-and-drop template takes decision-making beyond your workday.

Whether the event is a wedding or a virtual magic show, it’s nice to know who (and how many) plan to show up. Compile your attendee list with this drag-and-drop template.

Tables are more than just text. Organize a cutest kitten contest, try to guess the baby pics, or build an Animal Crossing art collectors guide with the photos table drag-and-drop template.

Whether you're building a rolodex or curating a playlist, add a consistently formatted row to your table with a single button click.

Want to see more? Click
Explore
in the top right of your doc to search our available templates.

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Your doc is ready. And we think you are too.

You could potentially fiddle with your doc forever. But at some point, you need to trust yourself and take the leap. Don't worry—you can always make edits and continue polishing later.

. Then turn on doc discoverability so people can find your doc on their search engine of choice, your maker profile, and our
.

The more you put yourself and your docs out in the world, the more attention you'll get. Keep an eye on your doc stats—they live both in your doc settings, and in the sticky footer of your published doc URL. Watch the number of likes, views, and copies increase and see how far your ideas spread! You might even see yourself on the Doc Gallery's leaderboard of trending docs.


💡 Have a drag-and-drop template idea? Email
to let us know!
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