Creating an index

Does your book need an index? Novels and collections of short stories or poetry don’t usually have them, but non-fiction books usually do. An index is generally found in the back of a book and lists keywords or phrases in alphabetical order with their corresponding page numbers.

Writer (like other word processors) provides a very convenient way to compile an automated index from index entries that you define in your document.

This chapter describes how to:

  • Add index entries.
  • Create an alphabetic index quickly.
  • Customize the display of index entries.
  • View and edit existing index entries.

Adding index entries

Before you can create an index, you must create some index entries. To do this:

  1. Either highlight the word or phrase to add to the index, or place the cursor at the beginning of the word or phrase. (If you want to add multiple words as one entry it is generally better to highlight the entire phrase.)
  2. Click Insert > Indexes and Tables > Entry to display a dialog similar to that shown below. You can accept the word or phrase shown in the Entry box or change it to whatever you want. If you placed the cursor at the beginning of a word, clicking on the Entry box inserts the word into the box.
  3. Inserting an index entry

    Inserting an index entry

    See Customizing index entries for an explanation of the fields on the Insert Index Entry dialog and how to use them.

  4. Click Insert to create the entry.

You can create multiple entries without closing the dialog. For each one:

  1. Click at the location in the document that you want to index.
  2. Click again on the dialog.
  3. Change the entry if needed, and click Insert.
  4. When you are satisfied with the entries, click Close.

Note: If field shading is active (see Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org> Appearance > Text Document > Field shadings), when a selected word or phrase has been added to the index, it is shown in the text with a gray background. Index entries whose text is different from the text in the document are marked by a small gray rectangle.

Tip: You can also open the Insert Index Entry dialog by clicking the Entry icon on the Insert toolbar.

Entry icon on Insert toolbar

Entry icon on Insert toolbar

Creating an alphabetic index quickly

Now that there are index entries, you can create the index.

Although indexes can be customized extensively in Writer, most of the time you will need to make only a few choices. To create an index quickly:

  1. Place the cursor where you want to add the index and click Insert > Indexes and Tables > Indexes and Tables.
  2. In the Type box on the Index/Table page of the Insert Index/Table dialog box, select Alphabetical Index.
  3. In the Options section, you may want to uncheck the Case sensitive checkbox.
  4. Click OK.

Writer does not update an index automatically when you add, delete, or change the text of index entries. You need to update the index manually. To do this, follow the steps outlined in “Updating a table of contents’.

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This book is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 3.0.

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One comment on “Creating an index
  1. Fernando del Pino says:

    Is there a way to update a table of contents automatically when I add an index?, or can I update manually from command line without open the file?

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