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No matter how you go about it, creating an index is no trivial task, and for something like a reference manual, the index is the most important part of the book. An index is harder to build than something like a table of contents because an index isn't just a list of words on the page; it's concepts and ideas too. For these reasons and more, the help of a professional indexer is often needed to make a top-notch index. But while they can't do all the work for you, InDesign's tools can certainly help. Let's start our look at indexing by considering the various types of index entries we'll need to create, and then we'll see how to create them with our index tools.
So here I have a sample of the kind of index I need to build, and I can see the various kinds of entries. And right off the bat, I have a challenge with Alice in Wonderland here. I need to maintain the italics in the book title, and I have a few more examples like that over here with the English Encyclopedia and The New Yorker, and that's a challenge because character-level formatting doesn't come through in InDesign index. Next, I have a topic American Cheddars, with no page number, and it has subtopics underneath it. And here I have an example of last name first, and in fact, Napoleon appears twice here under B, and also under N. Here I have a cross-reference with a See also and a page number and under Cheddar, I have several page ranges. And down in Danish Blues, I have a different character style applied to the page number.
Over in The New Yorker, I can tell that it's going to need some special treatment, because even though it starts with the T for The, it's listed under N for New Yorker. And here I have a cross-reference without a page number, just a See, not a See also. And I also have to create all these lettered headings for each entry. Another consideration that's not visible on these pages is that I know I'm going to have to group page references for things that are formatted differently in the layout. For example, over here with Cheddar, I know it's going to appear in different places in the book, sometimes with uppercase C or lowercase c, sometimes it will be singular, sometimes it'll be plural, but I want all those references grouped together here. So we sure have our work cut out for us.
Next we'll start looking at the details of how to make each of these index entries, with a look at building topics and references in the Index panel.
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