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While it's great that InDesign has indexing tools for long documents, those tools are far from automated. Using them involves a lot of manual work to find, tag, and apply formatting to each index term. But there are some interesting third-party options for more automated indexing. Let's take a look. The first one we'll look at is a script called IndexMatic by Marc Autret. You can find it at his web site, indiscripts.com. With IndexMatic you don't have to place index markers throughout your documents. Instead, you tell it what to search for and it builds the index from what it finds.
It's search-based indexing. With a document that you want an index open, go to the Scripts panel and double-click to run the script. This opens a dialog box where you can set up the Search and Output options. The left two thirds of the dialog box has options for narrowing the search from finding all the words in the document to just the specific ones you want indexed. First, you choose the Scope. Just the current document or if you had several documents open, you could select one from here. Then a page range or specific layers.
So, for example, if I didn't want to index text in my Caption layer or Recipes layer, I could turn their visibility off before running the script. I can also choose to ignore content and footnotes and tables, other hidden frames and inline frames. And here's my favorite part. I can also choose to target specific character styles and paragraph styles, and even style groups. So, for example, if I only want to index paragraph styles in my Body styles group, over here I can select that here and exclude text style than all my other styles.
Then I pick a Search mode. You can have an automatic search which will find all the words of a certain length. Here they'd be a minimum of six characters and the maximum of ten characters. Or you can choose single query or you can write a GREP-like query. So here it's looking for a word between four and eight characters long that occurs at least two times on the page, and it will output to the index the found text. That $0 is InDesign's GREP character for found context. Or you can run a whole query list.
For example, I loaded a text file into here with all the terms that I wanted to find in my book. To do that, you click on the folder and navigate to a text file and click open to load it. I'll click OK. And then I have options for page rank, how many times a word has to appear on the page, whether it's a whole word, which alphabet to use, and so on. On the right side of the dialog box, I have options for what kind of output I want. So do I want a text file, an XML file, or even an InDesign snippet? And I can do things with the entry case, sorting, and also control my separators.
I can pick all kinds of hyphens to separate my ranges and so forth. I am going to click Build Index, and the script goes through and searches through my query list and builds my index text. So now I have a text file that's a really nice way to start my index. I can pour this into my layout and style it, and I'm well on my way. So just compare that to going through all your documents and inserting index markers one by one, and you get the idea of the power of search-based indexing.
I'll close that text file, and we'll try something different. The second alternative I want to show you is Virginia Systems InDex Pro. This is an amazingly feature-rich indexing tool. It's really like an application in itself. With all those options comes a steeper learning curve. But if you have a high volume of indexing work to do, it could be well worth the effort. Let's see just a little bit of how it works. So once you install the plug-in, you get a new menu in InDesign, a Plug-Ins menu, with an Index and Table of Contents items.
It also can help you build table of contents. So from Index, the first step is to create a word-phrase list. And I have lots of options for what kind of word- phrase list I am going to build. With the Subject List, the plug-in analyzes the text of your documents. It looks at sentence structure to find people, places, and things, and makes a list of them. And you have options for filtering down the subjects to create a more focused list. So you could specify, say, the maximum number of times a word could occur, or whether it could have capital letters, how long a subject could be, and so on.
You can also build a proper noun list, which is based on punctuation and capitalization, and the number of times a word occurs, and a word frequency List. That's the simplest option. It just screens out the most commonly used words, where you set a maximum number of times that they can occur. If they go over that they are excluded from the index. The next option is a Marked Text List. This is kind of like the InDesign process of applying index markers to your text. You just select the word or phrase you want in your index and tag it.
And the fifth option is to use style sheets to mark your index terms. The plug-in looks for any text that's been formatted with style sheets whose names begin with a certain set of characters, and they can be either paragraph or character styles. So once you've decided on your method, it's time to generate a word-phrase list. I'll choose the subject list. And I have some options here for the maximum number of times a subject can occur, whether or not numbers are allowed, how many digits there can be if I do allow numbers. I am also going to select At least one word in the subject must be capitalized, and I'll click OK. And a new InDesign document is created with a list of potential index terms. And I can edit this list if I want to add or remove terms.
So, for example, if I zoom in, I can see it found a few different versions of Brie, and I only want just one Brie, so I am going to select these and delete them out. And it also found this Brick Brick. I am going to take that out as well. Once I am satisfied, I go back to the Plug-Ins menu > Index > Create Index. And I have options for formatting the index. I am just going to leave all the defaults on for now and click OK. And well, here I have again a nice start for an index that I can flow and format.
Really, I've just shown the basics of InDex Pro. There is a lot more to it, including options for cross-references, wildcards, nesting, sorting, combining entries, and so on. It's a really feature-rich product. So between InDesign's native indexing tools and these third-party options, there are a lot of methods for building your indexes. I encourage you to investigate them all and find what works best for you.
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