Mark Index Entries: MS Word

Dennis Faas's picture

Providing an indexed list of topics and terms along with the associated page number is a nice feature for books and some other documents that are longer than usual. Having said that, creating an index can be a pain! Luckily MS Word has made the task a bit easier because it keeps track of page numbers and sorts the entries for you.

There are two steps involved in creating an index. First mark each index entry, the item you want to include in the index, and then compile the index. Doesn't sound so bad now does it?

Your readers will love you because an index enables them to quickly find the information they want.

The first step to creating an index is to mark the words you want to include.

  1. Select the word you want to include in the index.
  2. Press Alt + Shift + X to access the Mark Index Entry dialog box. You could also use the menu, but it seems a bit labor intensive to select Insert | Index and Tables, click the Index tab, and then click Mark Index Entry to access the very same dialog box don't you agree?
  3. Type a new word in the Main Entry box, if you like.
  4. Use a subentry for an index heading that should fall under a more general category. For example, you might have this entry and subentry: Browse Object: Use of.
  5. Press Enter or click Mark to insert a field code for the index entry. The dialog box stays open so you can continue to mark entries. Click Mark All if you want to create the same index entry for each instance of the text you selected before pressing Alt + Shift + X.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for each index entry.
  7. Click Close when you are finished.

The index entry field code is inserted into the document. When you click the Show/Hide button, you can see it surrounded by dark brackets. Don't worry -- it will not print because it is formatted as hidden text, designated by the dotted underline.

If the entries are still visible to you when you turn off Show/Hide, turn off viewing Hidden Text. To do this, choose Tools | Options | View and click Hidden Text to remove the check.

(c) Carol Bratt, all rights reserved. Used with permission. Duplication is forbidden without express consent of author. Visit Carol's web site to learn more tips like this one!

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