Need an Index?
In the past, an index was usually reserved for longer written works such as books or training manuals. Nowadays, with the introduction of indexing software, it’s becoming more common to find this helpful inclusion in a variety of document types. In fact, if you’re using Word 2007, you don’t even need any additional software in order to create an index – you can use the tools provided by Microsoft.
Selecting Items to Index
The first task that must be done is to select which words and phrases will be included in the index. To do this, follow these steps.
Step 1: Go to the References tab and click on the Mark Entry button in the Index section. (Click any image for a larger view.)
This will bring up the Mark Index Entry window. Note that you can drag this window to any point on your computer screen and that you can still access your main Word document without closing the window. It’s a good idea (especially if you have a wide screen monitor) to go ahead and move this Mark Index Entry dialog box to a place on your display where it won’t get in your way too much since you’ll be moving back and forth between this window and the main document.
Step 2: With the Mark Index Entry dialog box still open, return to your document and select the word or phrase that you want to include in the final index. After making the selection, click on the Mark Index Entry box again to activate it. The text you selected will automatically prefill in the Main entry field of the box.
Step 3 (optional): If you only want to create a simple index, you can skip this step. Otherwise, you can choose to associate subentries with this entry or have it cross-referenced to another word or phrase in the index. You can also choose to have bold or italic formatting applied to the font for the page numbers that will be shown for the index entry.
Step 4: When done, click the Mark button to mark only the particular instance of the word or phrase selected in Step 2. If you would like the index to list the page numbers for each instance this text appears, click Mark All instead.
Repeat Steps 2-4 for each item to be included in the index. When you are finished selecting items to be indexed, click the Close button to exit from the Mark Index Entry window.
Creating the Index
Once all of the index entries have been selected, you can create the index itself by performing these steps.
Step 1: Place the cursor at the point in the document where you want the index to begin.
Step 2: On the References tab, click on Insert Index.
Step 3: When the Index dialog box appears on your screen, you’ll have a number of options available for the formatting and appearance of the index. Note that you can preview any changes here before actually applying them.
Step 4: After you’ve made any desired changes, click the OK button and the index will be inserted into the document.
Additional Resources: If you’re looking for more guides and how-to articles, be sure to browse through the other items in Bright Hub’s collection of Microsoft Word tutorials.