Using MS Word for a book index

  ukthesis 10:05 01 Oct 2007

I know that MS Word 2000 can be used to create a book index. But getting the hang of it is hard. The Help function doesn't help and a friend of mine, who is more clued up on how to use software (he works in a library and did a course) thought he knew how to do it, but got as confused as I did when he tried. Is there any way to create an index easily?

  Sea Urchin 12:07 01 Oct 2007

The Help function in Word 2000 gives a lot of details about creating an Index. Just search for "Create Index".

The following is the introduction:

Overview of creating an index
This topic provides reference information about:

What is an index?

Creating index entries

Editing or formatting index entries

Designing and building an index

Updating an index after making changes

What is an index?
An index lists the terms and topics discussed in a printed document, along with the pages they appear on. You can create an index entry:

For an individual word, phrase, or symbol.

For a topic that spans a range of pages.

That refers to another entry, such as “Transportation. See Bicycles.”
If you create numerous index entries for a specific topic area, you might want to create multilevel index entries. For example, create the main index entry “Transportation,” and then group the subentries “Bicycle” and “Automobile” under it.

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Creating index entries
To create an index, you must first mark the index entries in your document. To mark an entry, just select the text, assign it an index entry name, and then watch Word insert a special XE (Index Entry) field:

You can manually mark each index entry, or you can automatically mark each occurrence of the index entry. To speed up indexing, you can also use a concordance file to automatically mark multiple index entries at the same time.

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Editing or formatting index entries
Format index entries as you mark them For example, you can underline book titles or make page numbers bold. Format index entries as you mark them.

Edit, format, or delete existing index entries If you've already created index entries, you need to modify the index entry fields in the document. Don’t modify text in the finished index; otherwise, the next time you rebuild the index, your changes will be lost.

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Designing and building an index
After you've marked all the index entries, you choose an index design and build the finished index. Word then collects the index entries, sorts them alphabetically, references their page numbers, finds and removes duplicate entries from the same page, and displays the index in the document.

To use additional options for customizing the index, you can use field codes. For example, you can build the index for only part of the document.

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Updating an index after making changes
If you add, delete, move, or edit index entries or other text in a document, you should manually update the index. For example, if you edit an index entry and move it to a different page, you need to make sure that the index reflects the revised entry and page number.

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  ukthesis 13:44 01 Oct 2007

I've gone through the Help section on MS Word, but if you try to follow it all the way, you come unstuck half way. Listen, can you try to create an Index yourself and then guide me through it if you are successful? That will hugely help.

  Sea Urchin 13:50 01 Oct 2007

Will try to do so, but I'm afraid it will not be until the weekend, as I am very busy at present. In the meantime maybe someone else will give you more clues.

  ukthesis 17:06 01 Oct 2007

The weekend is fine. If you want to give me your private email address, that may be better, since I don't think this is of great interest to others on this forum.

The only thing to remember is that this is for a book with 9 chapters. You will probably have to make separate indexes for each chapter and unify then, I guess, at the end of the process. (One of those confusions.)

There is also mention of the MS Word Bookmark in the mix.

  skeletal 18:15 01 Oct 2007

I once tried to do an index in Word along the lines of Sea Urchin’s post. I made a concordance file and everything, sort of, worked. However, it is a long job because of the need to identify all the words you wish to index.

Because it was a fair time ago, I can’t really remember any better advice than following the instructions... and putting aside many more hours than you think!

A bookmark is something different. You simply go to a place in the document and Insert/bookmark; one confusion is that there is a difference between simply going to a spot, and going to a spot and highlighting some text where you want the bookmark.

Having done this, you can then cross reference to the bookmark (Insert/reference/Cross reference/Reference type: Bookmark). You can also use a bookmark in a field to generate Page x of y where the number of pages will normally be incorrect if you use section breaks.

It is all very complex I’m afraid. Word is far “cleverer” than most people realise, but it takes ages to get to grips with it all.


  ukthesis 21:05 01 Oct 2007

Which if true brings us back to the original problem I have. People (who have not tried to do it) assume that it's easy. All I ask is that they try for themselves before posting. On paper, there's no problem .....

  Sea Urchin 22:33 02 Oct 2007

Looking back at your original question you ask whether there is an easy way to create an index. I would say the answer is no. In my original post I was merely pointing you to the info contained in the Help menu in case you hadn't seen it, but you've made it clear that you had. I was in no way claiming to be an expert - in fact the only time I made a fairly simple index for a pamphlet was probably ten years ago, and it's a very hazy memory. I think I would be falsely raising your hopes if you're expecting me to come up with an easy answer. Hopefully for you someone else could prove me wrong. Good luck.

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