Generate and Update the Index: MS Word

Dennis Faas's picture

Now that you've Marked Index Entries in your document, the next step is to generate the index. I know you've been wondering how this was going to happen! Wonder no longer -- the easy steps are listed below for you:

  1. Hide the index entries. If they are visible, they affect the pagination of the document. Remember? I showed you how to do this in my prior article.
  2. Next, place the insertion point at the end of the document, or wherever you want the index to appear.
  3. Choose Insert | Reference | Index and Tables and click the Index tab, if necessary.
  4. Click to choose a Format and preview its effect in the dialog box.
  5. Specify whether you want the index to be indented or run-in style, and preview its effect in the dialog box.
  6. Specify how many columns per page for the index. As a rule you have room for two or three columns, if your entries are not too long.

The index appears in shaded text surrounded by section breaks. To see the field code behind the index, press Alt + F9. Remember, as with all field codes, the gray shading will not appear when you print it. Above the index, add the word Index and format it as a heading so it will be included in the table of contents (TOC).

If you like, you can move the insertion point into the index and make changes to the text you see there. For example, you can change capitalization or add a cross reference.

If page numbers change or index entries are inserted or deleted, you will have to update the index. To do this, point at the index, right-click and choose Update Field. Any new formatting or additions you made to the index will be lost however.

(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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