Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Indexing a document, part of InDesign Insider Training: Beyond the Essentials.
Computers are supposed to make life easy for us, right? And creating an index for a book seems like a great way for a computer to help us. So many folks look around InDesign for a button that says, make the index for me. Well unfortunately, indexes don't work that way. For example, you can't just get a list of all the words that appear in a document and where they appear. That's a concordance, not an index. Now there are tools out there to make a concordance in InDesign, but if you want a real index, you're going to have to build it yourself, one index entry at a time.
In this movie I'm going to give you the quick overview of how to index your documents. Watch this if you want to get up to speed quickly. But afterward, you may want to watch Mike Rankin's title called Long Documents with InDesign. He goes into far more detail on the index features. Now before we start, there is one piece of advice I should mention. It's best to wait until the text won't be changed too much more before you start indexing. That way index entries won't accidentally get cut or moved. It's not essential, some people do start indexing from the very beginning of a document, but it's a good practice.
Okay, so I have this document open and I want to index it, so I better open the Index panel. I can do that by going to the Window Menu, choosing Type & Tables, and then choosing Index. Right now the Index panel is blank, that means there are no index entries at all in this document, so let's go ahead and add one. I'm going to walk you through the steps that you're going to take every time that you want to create an index entry. First, you want to select some text. Index entries always have to be inside of a text frame. They are part of a story. So you have to have your text cursor either flashing in the text frame, or some text selected.
So here, I'm going to double-click on this text frame to switch to the Type Tool, and I'll select the text that I want to have in my index, Ancient Painting. Then, in the Index panel, I'll click the New Index Entry button, that's the fourth button at the bottom of the Index Panel. When you click that, the New Page Reference dialog box opens. Or you could press the keyboard shortcut, Command+7 or Ctrl+7 on Windows. The two most important features inside this dialog box are the Topic Levels and the Type. Here in the first field of the Topic Levels, we can see how the index entry is going to show up in our final index.
However it shows up here, it will be exactly how it shows up in the index. In this case, I'm going to make the letter P lower case. The second thing you want to look at is the Type pop-up menu. Right now it's set to Current Page, which means that just this page, page number one, will show up in the index. This is the most common error that new InDesign users make when making index entries. They leave the Type pop-up menu set to Current Page. You need to look inside here and see that there are a lot of different options. You could choose To the End of the Story, or the Next # of Paragraphs, or any other range of text.
In this case, the topic, Ancient Painting, is so wide reaching, it's so broad, that I don't even want to give it a number. It would just take up half the book, and that's silly in an index. So instead I'm going to choose Suppress Page Range. That way it will show up in the Index but it won't have any page numbers. But in just a minute I'm going to put a second level index entry underneath it, with a more specific page range. Now I'll click OK, and we can see that the index entry has updated. I have a whole bunch of letters in here right now. That indicates that there are index entries in this document.
And if I click on the little triangle next to the letter A, we can see that I have one index entry, Ancient painting. If I click on the triangle next to that, I can see that I have one index entry in the document, and it's on page 1. The parenthesis around that 1 mean that that number will not show up in the final index. Okay, let's add another index entry. In this case I'm going to choose Earliest Times. I'll select the text, click the New Entry Button, and I'm going to change this to lower case e and lower case t. This is going to be a second-level index entry underneath the first one that I made, Ancient painting.
So I'll click the down arrow. That just moves it down to the second field. Now in the first field I have to have exactly the same word as I did in the original index entry, and to get that I'm going to come down to my index listing down at the bottom of the dialog box, open the A by clicking on that little triangle, and then double-clicking on the Ancient painting entry. Double-clicking on an entry here types it for me automatically in that first field. So earliest times is a subset of the larger entry, Ancient painting, and I'm going to give this a page range, not of just the Current Page, but from here, where the index entry is, all the way to the end of the story.
That means all the text frames that are threaded together in this story. I'll click OK, and we'll see that now under Ancient painting, we have a subentry, earliest times, and I'll open up that one and we can see its range is page 1 - 27. Okay let's do a few more index entries. I'll press Shift+Page Down to jump to the next page, and I can see that there is something on this page, St. Augustine, that I want to put in my index. I'll select the text, click the button, and come over here and say that I want St.
Augustine to be indexed just on the Current Page, just this page right here. There's no page range involved in this case, so leaving it set to Current Page is appropriate. However, I do want to make sure that when it shows up in my final index, it's sorted not under S-t but under S-a, in fact, S-a-i-n-t. So in the Sort By field to the right of the Topic Level, I'm going to type the word Saint. In other words it will show up in the index's S-t, but it'll be alphabetized as S-A-I.
Now at this point I have three choices. I could choose OK, which will add the index entry to my Index panel, and it will close the dialog box. Or I could choose Add All, which will go through my entire document, find every instance of St. Augustine, and add to my index. Or I could choose Add, which simply adds it to the index, and leaves the dialog box open. I'm going to go ahead and do that, because I want to have a second entry for St. Augustine, this time under Augustine, Saint.
Once again, whatever shows up in the Topic Level field is exactly the way it will show up in the index, and in this case I don't need to sort it by anything special, so I'll just delete that. Alright, I'm done for now, so I'll click OK, and you'll see that now, Augustine, Saint shows up, and if we scroll down, you'll have St. Augustine. At the bottom of my page, I see a figure, called Harp-player, Let's put that in the index too. I'll select Harp-player, click the New Index Entry button, and I'm going to put this in just on the current page.
But in this case, because it's a figure, I'd like the number to show up separately. Some indexes are like that. Figures and other special features show up with specially highlighted numbers. So I'm going to turn on the Number Style Override check-box, and I'm going to choose a Character Style from my list here. I'll choose Bold. When we create our final index, you'll see that the number for the Harp-player will be in Bold. Not the word Harp-player, but just the number. Click OK, and I'm going to go to the next page, Shift+Page Down, and I'm going to index this word, Egypt.
Now in this case, I want to index the entire section, from Egypt all the way down to Assyria, which is down on I think page seven. Both of these sections show up using the same Paragraph Style, and I can see up here in the Control panel, it's subtitle, or I could go to the Paragraph Styles panel and see it here, subtitle. I'll close the Paragraph Styles panel, and like I said, I want to index from this subtitle to the next subtitle. So I'll press Command+7 or Ctrl+7 on Windows, opens the same dialog box, and I can see that somebody actually typed this out in all capital letters, which is really annoying, I'm going to just have to retype that.
And the page range is not just the current page, but it's from this location all the way to the next use of the style, subtitle. I'll just choose subtitle out of the Style pop-up menu there. So that's how we get a range, but there is a little problem here that I need to point out. I'll click OK, I'll scroll up in the Index Panel and open E, and then Egypt, and we can see that it only says page 3. This should show a range of pages from here all the way to the next subtitle, which is on page 7. What went wrong? Well InDesign has a weird feature when it comes to these Paragraph Styles, I kind of think it's a bug, personally.
Here is the problem. Because the index entry is inside this paragraph, and this paragraph is itself a subtitle paragraph, it says, oh you want to index from here to itself. That's ridiculous, but that's what it's saying. So I have two choices. I could delete this index entry, and you can delete an index entry simply by selecting it inside the Index panel, just select the number there and click on that trashcan icon, that would delete the entry itself. Or I could move the entry. I'm going to move it just to show you how to do that.
In order to move an index entry, you need to be able to select it, and you cannot select an index entry on the page itself, but you can select it inside the Story Editor, just one more reason why Story Editor is so great. So I'll go to the Edit menu and choose Edit in Story Editor, or press Command+Y or Ctrl+Y on Windows, and the Story Editor shows me all the index entries. There we go, it's that strange looking icon there. I can select it just by dragging over it, and then I could copy and paste, it or cut and paste, it or just use drag and drop.
I'm going to drag it. I'll just select it and then drag it down to be before the word Egyptian. Now I'll close the Story Editor and I'm going to update my Index panel. You'll see that the Index Panel currently still says page 3, so I'm going to go down to the second button at the bottom, click on that, and it goes through and updates all the page numbering through the panel, there we go. Now it says pages 3 - 7, perfect! Let's go ahead and just make one more index entry before we finish. I'm going to go to the next page with a Shift+Page Down, and I'm going to select King Ramesses II.
Actually, I'm just going to choose Ramesses II here, and then I'll go to the New Index Entry dialog box, and in this case I'm not going to do a figure entry, I just want to make a Cross-Reference. I want to tell people who are looking in my index that they should see another index entry. And you can do that under the Type pop-up menu as well. Instead of choosing one of these at the top of the menu, we're going to choose one of these Cross-References at the bottom. I'll just choose See. So In the index entry it will say Ramesses II, See something else, and I'd like them to go see Egypt.
I could just type Egypt up here, but just in case I type it wrong, I'm going to scroll down on this list, open E, and then I'm going to drag the word Egypt from this list up into this field. That's just a quick way of filling in this field without having to type. Finally, I'll click OK, and now that index entry is added to my Index panel as well. Alright, that's enough for now, let's go ahead and generate an index. I'll open my Pages panel, and I'm just going to go down to the bottom of this document, and I'll add a new spread at the very bottom, just so I have some place to put my index.
Let's close the Pages panel, and now generate the index by going to the Index panel menu and choosing Generate Index. Or, you could choose the Generate Index button at the bottom of the Index panel. The Index dialog box is pretty simple in this mode, but there is a whole bunch more under the hood, and you can see that if you click More Options. In this case, however, I'm just going to go for a default index, I'm not going to worry about those, I'll leave it set to fewer. Once again, Mike Rankin goes into much more detail in his title.
I will point out, however, if you're using more than one document, put together in a Book panel, then you want to make sure that Book panel is open, and you turn on the Include Book Documents checkbox here. In this case, I'm just working with a single document. I'll click OK. InDesign goes through my whole document, gathers up all the index entries, and loads them into the Place cursor. Now I could click and drag, or in this case I'll just click. It creates a text frame and fills it with my index. I'm going to click inside of it and zoom in to 200% with Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows, scroll down a little bit, and we can see that we now have all the index entries that we created.
Ancient painting has no number after it, but earliest times, the second-level entry, does. St. Augustine shows twice, as Augustine, Saint, and at the bottom here, St. Augustine. Egypt shows up just as we had hoped, from pages 3 - 7. The Harp-player shows up just on its current page, and you'll notice that that page number is bold. Because that was a figure, we set it up specially so it would be in bold. And finally, Ramesses II is a Cross-Reference, See Egypt. So sure, that took some effort, but no one ever said indexing a document would be fun.
But at least with these basic indexing tools and a good dose of patience, you'll be able to create your indexes without too much trouble.
- Setting preferences
- Working with parent and child master pages
- Adding alternate layouts
- Exporting and importing page snippets
- Tracking text changes
- Choosing other languages
- Aligning to a baseline grid
- Applying styles automatically with nested and line styles
- Embedding links
- Turning image layers on and off
- Using the Pathfinder and compound paths
- Power scaling and spacing