- For very long reference documents, nothing beats an index for helping readers find specific content. An index, which is usually at the end of a document, is an alphabetical list of keywords found throughout the document, along with page references for where they appear. A reader wanting to find a topic, for example, personal business, could look that term up in the index, and then go to the pages where it appears. I won't try to fool you, creating an index is not fun. I've indexed more books than I'd like to admit, and every time I do it, I swear I'll never do it again.
You see, creating an index is usually a two-part process: first, mark the entries that should appear in the index, then use Word's Insert Index command to compile the index based on marked entries and place the index new document. The first part, marking the entries, is slow, tedious work. The longer the document, the longer it'll take to get done. The second part, letting Word compile the entries into an index, is remarkably fast, and kind of neat. In this video, I'll show you how to mark index entries in your Word documents.
The first entry I want to mark is in the Employment Applications section, so you can click Employment Applications in the navigation pane to get to it quickly. I'll start by selecting the phrase that I want to include in the index, which is Employment Application, here. Then I'll click References to display the References ribbon, and I'll click Mark Entry in the Index group. The Mark Index Entry dialog box opens. It enables you to set entry text and options for how the reference should appear.
An index entry can have a main entry and a sub-entry. We'll keep this one simple, and just use the main entry field. Word automatically has entered the selected text. Next, we could specify how the page reference should appear. Again, I'll keep this first example simple, and leave it set to the current page. And finally, you can set formatting for the entry's page number reference, bold, or italic, or both. I'll leave both of these checkboxes turned off.
When you have the settings the way you want them, you have two options. Mark will mark just that occurrence of the phrase Employment Application. Mark All will mark all occurrences of that phrase, which might be a good shortcut for a seldom-used phrase that you think you might need to index in multiple places. We'll try that in a moment. For now, just click Mark. Word inserts the field codes for an index entry. You can see them up in the document. These do not print.
In fact, if you turn off the display of non-printing characters, they disappear. I'll click Home, and then I'll click Show/Hide paragraph marks. The markers disappear. I recommend keeping this turned on, however, so you can see the index tags as you add them. Note that the Mark Index Entry dialog box stays open. Word assumes that if you mark one entry, you'll likely want to mark others. So let's do that. In the document window, double-click the word termination to select it.
Now click on the Mark Index Entry dialog box. The word you selected appears in the dialog box. This time, we'll click the Mark All button, and let Word mark every instance of that word as an index entry. Let's do another one on the same page: probationary period. This time, I'll just click Mark. Now let's take a look at the second page here. The word Termination, which begins with a capital t, was not marked.
That's because the Mark All button is case-sensitive. Word only marked the word termination if it began with a lowercase t. Let's do one here on the second page. How about the word employee, right here. This is the definition of the word, so we might want to make it appear in bold. I'll turn on the bold checkbox, and then click Mark. Word also makes it possible to mark an index entry for text that spans multiple pages. For example, the section titled New Employee Orientation, which starts at the bottom of page three, spans to page four.
It should be referenced in the index. We can make an entry for it that includes the page range, but we first need to create a bookmark for the text. So I'll start by selecting all of the text in that section. Then I'll click Insert, and then click Bookmark. The Mark Index entry dialog box disappears, and the Bookmark dialog box takes its place. Right now, it contains the bookmarks I created in the video about bookmarks.
We'll type the name of the new bookmark in the box, and click add. The Mark Index Entry dialog box reappears. I can edit the main entry box so that it says Employee Orientation. Then, in the options area, I want to select Page Range, and choose Orientation from the menu. I can turn off the bold checkbox because I don't need bold, and then I'll click Mark. Word inserted the index mark at the end of the selection.
Now let's look at an example of an entry with both a main entry and a sub-entry. There's a lot of information in this document referring to employment. Let's create entries that include employment as the main entry word, and other words for sub-entries. We'll start back on page one, in the Employment Applications section. I'm going to select Employment Application again, and make another entry for it. I'll click the Mark Index Entry dialog box to make it active, and the selection appears as a main entry.
This time I'll just put Employment in the main entry box, and put Application in the sub-entry box. And then I'll click Mark. Word inserted another index entry beside the first one. We'll do pretty much the same thing in the next section, Employment Relationship. But this time, instead of starting by selecting text, I'll just position the insertion point at the beginning of the paragraph. Then I'll click the Mark Index Entry dialog box, and I'll create the entry. So the main entry is Employment, and the sub-entry is Relationship.
And I'll click Mark. One more. We'll go to the section entitled Employment Termination. You can see here where the word termination was automatically indexed by Word. I'm going to click at the beginning of the paragraph, click in the Mark Index Entry box, and make my entry. And click Mark. And there's one more thing I want to show you. Let's go back to the Employment Applications section. What if someone wants to look up Employment Applications by the word applications? Let's add a reference for that.
Now, it's possible to add a reference for that anywhere in this document. It doesn't need to be in this section, because it won't have an actual page number. But we'll put it here by selecting the word application. Make sure that when you select the word, you're selecting it in the document, and not in one of the two codes here. It shouldn't have a dotted-line underline under it. Now I'll click the dialog box. The main entry's already entered, application. And this time I want to cross-reference, so I'll turn on this button, and then type in what I want them to look for.
So I'll type in Employment Application, and click Mark. The entry is added. Now, as you can see, this can be a time-consuming task. Fortunately, it only needs to be done once. When all of the entries have been marked, you're ready to compile your index. That's up next.
- Understanding challenges with long documents
- Exploring the process for building a long document
- Structuring a document with outlines and master pages
- Adding captions
- Working with footnotes and endnotes
- Inserting citations and managing sources
- Creating an index with a concordance file
- Numbering chapters and pages
- Formatting page breaks
- Including headers and footers
- Adding a cover page
- Setting the document theme
- Updating automatically generated content
- Formatting long-document components
- Printing a long document