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Q: Making an Index from a long Word file (book) ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Making an Index from a long Word file (book)
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: paternostrum-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 05 Dec 2002 11:53 PST
Expires: 04 Jan 2003 11:53 PST
Question ID: 119869
I am doing a book based on a series of newletters concerning family
genealogy. I want to do an Index but find the MS Word facility for
doing this extremely time-consuming for a 200 page book. In addition I
would like to sort out the surnames in a separate Index. Any
suggestions on ways to make this job easier?
Subject: Re: Making an Index from a long Word file (book)
Answered By: kutsavi-ga on 05 Dec 2002 13:52 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hey there Our Father ;-)

My wife is the director of a technical support team for a software
company, so I bounced your question off her, and here is what she said
about Word’s built-in indexer:
“There is an index feature in word, but he is right, it is time
You have to select the text and hit ALT+SHIFT+X. Then you have to
the main entry and any sub entries.

For example, he might want to create a main entry called Surnames,
each surname would be listed with page number when he enters the above
stroke combination.

This really is the best way to do it, because as he adds and removes
from his book, the page number a given surname is on will change. He
have to update any separate index he creates any time something moves
across a page break.

If he does not care about the page numbers, and just wants a list, he
could enter all genealogy information into a family tree program and
a list of surnames, print to file and merge the list with the book.”
If you don’t want to go that route, there are professional indexers
out there who will do the job for a fee.  Here are a few:

“Heritage Indexing & Research” (dealing specifically with genealogy)

“The Well-Chosen Word”

Cynthia D. Bertelson

Larry S. Bonura

Kevin Broccoli

Craig Brown

Dan Connolly

Maria Coughlin

Here is the link for the American Society of Indexers:

There is also software available for the do-it-yourself-er:

“CINDEX” is software that advertises itself for the professional
indexer.  Here is a blurb from the front page of their web site:

“CINDEX is a uniquely capable program for preparing indexes to books,
newspapers and other periodical publications. It offers the
professional indexer unmatched features and ease of use. You can also
use it to prepare glossaries, or to create subject authority lists
based on existing indexes. CINDEX does not replace you as the indexer,
but supports you through a host of features that greatly simplify
index preparation and enable you to produce the finest indexes in
virtually any format. CINDEX performs the operations you would expect,
effortlessly and unobtrusively. It handles all the time-consuming
steps, such as sorting, checking cross-references, and formatting,
freeing you to concentrate on the facts and ideas developed in the
text. Major publishers use CINDEX for indexing in- house and editing
and formatting indexes from outside sources. CINDEX is indispensable
to freelance indexers -- its flexibility and formatting options
deliver indexes to suit the requirements of almost any publisher --
and it also provides the features librarians need for indexing
newspapers and special collections.”

MACREX is another program that sounds like it would fit your bill:
“MACREX is a computer program designed to assist an indexer working
from printed proofs, text on disk, the author's manuscript, or an
already completed book. The index is created as a completely
independent document; it is not constructed by tagging or otherwise
marking up the text. The purpose of MACREX is to help indexers improve
consistency and increase productivity by automating routine tasks
(sorting, printing, repagination, etc.) leaving the indexer free to
concentrate on the wording and construction of the index entries.
Version One of MACREX appeared over twenty years ago and the program
has been under continuous development ever since. It has been written
in close collaboration with our users, who include indexers in
academic institutions, government departments, business and industrial
concerns and publishing companies world-wide as well as freelance
indexers and authors. MACREX is used to prepare the indexes for some
of the world's leading books and journals. It is used extensively by
members of the Society of Indexers, and over 85% of the indexers who
mention using a commercial indexing package in Indexers Available,the
Society's directory, have MACREX.”

SKY Index might also be worth a look:

“SKY Index™ is designed to maximize use of the Windows user interface.
This gives you greater flexibility and greater ease of use at the same
time. You will get all of the features that you expect in a Windows
based program such as context menus, tool bars, drag and drop, and
online help. Just take a look at some of SKY Index's many features...”
You can check out SKY’s specific features on this page:

Then of course there’s wINDEX, as opposed to Windex, (which lets the
shine come through):
“wINDEX was designed by a professional indexer, not a programmer. It
is not like the indexing programs that come with word processors.
wINDEX makes editing and data-entry fast and easy. You can create a
top-quality, professional index. wINDEX advantages include easy
editing, easy viewing, easy data-entry and flexibility.”

There is also an indexing resource page available that might contain
some help for you:

I hope this answers your question.  If you need more information or
clarifications, don’t hesitate to contact me via the “Clarify Answer”

Thanks for a fun search! 


Professional indexing genealogy

Professional indexing

Indexing software
paternostrum-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Lots of good leads and I thank you.

Subject: Re: Making an Index from a long Word file (book)
From: fezzik-ga on 05 Dec 2002 21:30 PST
There is an automated way to create a index, but it consists of a
number of steps.

First, you need to create an MS Word Concordance.  A concordance file
is a separate list of words in a two column table of words that you
wish to include in your index.  (Search for 'Create an Index' in the
Microsoft Word help file for more information).

If you search Google for an "english word list" you will find a number
of references to english dictionary files, such as Kevin's Word List

If you download the iSpell English Word List, you will have a file
with a number of dictionaries.

If you take one of these lists and make it into a concordance, you
will have a very comprehensive word list to serve as your index.  (A
concordance usually lists a word, and its associated word in a second
column.  In this case you want the same word in both columns).

After you have created your concordance, you need to go to your Word
file that you want to index, and "automatically mark entries by using
a concordance file".  (If you search for 'concordance' in Word's help,
you will find exact steps on how to do it).

Note: you may want to customize your concordance, so unimportant words
are not added to your index.

After you have marked all of the words in your document, you will want
to add an 'index' to your document.  Make sure you keep your marked
word list as small as possible, unless you want to wait a very long
time to index your document.

(By the way, I tried these steps to make sure they work).

If you search Google for information on how to create concordances,
you will find a number of books on the subject, so you may need to be
patient and try experimenting with these concepts.
Subject: Re: Making an Index from a long Word file (book)
From: kriswrite-ga on 06 Dec 2002 08:08 PST
The very simplest way to index a book, is to open a new Word document.
Read through your text and when you come to a word you want indexed,
type it into the document, along with the page number.

(EXAMPLE:  Oregon...15)

Be sure to hit the "Enter" key after each entry, so that every word
with its corresponding page number is a separate paragraph.

When you're done adding words to the index, simply highlight
everything and go to the TABLE menu. Pull it down and find SORT. Make
certain sort by PARAGRAPH and "ascending" are selected. And viola!
Your index is alphabetized.

Much simpler than using the Word index feature, and still extremely

Good luck!

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