Retaining reader’s attention is one of the biggest challenges for authors writing lengthy content. Many users do not read the documents and books from start to end. They will go through the sections of their interest and skip remaining content. Keeping this in mind, Microsoft Word helps authors to create quick navigational structures on long documents. Index page is one such a feature in Word and here we will explain how to create index page in Microsoft Word.
What is an Index Page?
Index is a page located at the end of the document containing keywords along with the page numbers where they were used in the document. It helps readers to navigate to the page quickly for their interested keywords. Below is an example of index page in a hard binding book.
Note: Users confuse index page with table of content. TOC or table of content contains headings in a document at the beginning. Index page contains keywords and inserted at the end. Some authors may also insert keywords at the bottom of each page like explaining vocabulary used on that page.
Structure of an Index Page
As you can see in the above screenshot, an index page contains different kind of information. Let us say, you want to find information related to the keyword “categories”.
- You can get the details of the “categories” topic under page number 61.
- This is a subsection of the main topic under “Add New Post screen”.
- It is indexed under alphabet “A”.
In addition, you can find some terms also have multiple or range of page reference. Let us dive into Microsoft Word on how to create such index page for your document.
Preparing Keywords for Your Index Page
After completing your document, first step in inserting an index page is to prepare the keywords you want to show on the index page. Decide whether you want to show a specific page reference or all occurrences of the keywords on different pages. You do not need to worry about the page numbers; you only need to identify the keywords for your index.
Defining Index Keywords
After having a list of keywords, you can define index entries for each keyword.
- In order to define an index entry, first select the keyword on your document.
- Go to “References” menu and click on “Mark Entry” button under “Index” group.
- You will see a “Mark Index Entry” dialog box like below.
Mark Index Entry Options
Though the dialog box is small, it has many options. You have to use those options to decide how the entries on the index page will look like.
- By default, Word will identify the selected term as a “Main entry”. You can change this later, if needed.
- In the field below, it is possible to define an optional “Subentry” that will also show in the index page.
- In the “Options” section, you can determine the reference for the term in the index page. By default, “Current Page” is the reference for the selected word.
- The “Cross-Reference” lets you refer to other index entries. In this case, enter the corresponding term in the field. You can also refer to bookmarks contained in the document by choosing “Page range” option.
- Select the page number format as bold or italic.
After finalizing the options, you can create the index entry by clicking on the “Mark” button. The dialogue window remains open so that you can define further entries by selecting and applying mark entries. If you want to index multiple occurrences of the same term, use “Mark All” button. In this way, the text is defined throughout the document as an index entry with spelling that is identical. You can close the dialog box by clicking on the “Cancel” button.
Understanding Index Formatting
Word will apply formatting marks when you click on “Mark” button. You can find the mark as XE in the curly brackets like below:
XE indicates index entry and the \b and \i are for bold and italic respectively. You can find other formatting marks depending upon the selection for subentry and headings. If you wish to delete the index entry, delete the formatting marks for the index entry within the curly bracket.
In order to hide the formatting marks on the document, go to “Home” menu and click on the “Show/Hide” icon.
Inserting Index Entries
As soon as you are finished with creating index entries, you can start inserting them into your document. Mostly you will do this at the end of your document. Press “Control + End” to go to the end of your document and place the cursor there.
- Go to “References” menu and click on “Insert Index”.
- You will see “Index” dialog box like below.
- First, choose the control field “Right align page numbers”.
- Underneath this, the “Tab leader” can be determined between entry and page number. If you have defined subentries, these may appear retracted in a more narrow line or consecutively, that is to say in the same line as the main entry with each one separated by a semicolon.
- It is also possible to choose a different design for the index. In order to do this, open the list box “Formats”. Select the entry “Modern” and confirm with “OK”.
- It will create the index with all the terms you have marked for indexing before and sorted in alphabetical order.
Similar to table of contents, it is also possible with index to edit the style of the entries. The style sheets are assigned to the individual levels “Index 1” to “Index 9” and for “Index Heading”. Whenever you change the formatting of a level, Word will apply the new formatting to the remaining entries of that level.
Updating Index Terms
When you expand or shorten your document, it may happen that contents you are referring move to a different page. In order to keep your index entries correct, you can update them.
- To update, place the cursor in the index.
- Then activate the command “Update Index” in the menu in the ribbon.
- Alternatively, right click on the index and choose “Update field” option.
You can also use the keyboard shortcut: when the cursor is inside of the index, press the function key F9.