Creating an Index
In Microsoft Word, you can create an index of entries or topics for formal papers or long documents. This process is similar in nature to creating a table of contents. First, you mark the subjects or topics that you want to reference in the index. Then you compile the index in much the same way that you created the table of contents. You can create multiple subentries and even cross-references entries in your index. Start by clicking the “References” tab in the Ribbon. In the “References” tab, you use the buttons that are available in the “Index” group to mark your text and create the index.
First, let’s examine the process of marking text or a range of pages for inclusion in the index. If you want to include a word or phrase, you can start by selecting the word or phrase that you want to include from the text within your document. Then click the “Mark Entry” button in the “Index” group on the “References” tab in the Ribbon. That will open the “Mark Index Entry” dialog box. If you selected text from your document, it will appear in the “Main entry:” text box. If you did not select any text, then you may simply type the entry that you want to make into the “Main entry:” text box.
In the “Subentry:” text box, you can enter an index entry that falls under the more general index entry above, if needed. If you want to create a third level entry, then you can enter the subentry into the “Subentry:” text box, followed by a colon symbol, followed by the third-level index entry.
In the “Options” section, you can choose how to present the index entry. If you want to create a cross-reference, then choose that option and enter the text for the cross-referenced index entry after the word “See” in the adjacent text box.
If you want to make a straightforward index entry, then select the “Current page” option in the “Options” section.
If you want to format the page numbering used for a normal index entry, you can check either or both the “Bold” or “Italic” checkboxes in the “Page number format” section.
At that point, if you simply want to mark only the current index entry, then you can click the “Mark” button. To mark all occurrences of the text within the whole document, then you can select the “Mark All” button, instead. This will insert the index entry field or fields into the selected location or locations in the document. Notice that this dialog box will remain open after marking the text, so that you can continue marking index entries without having to close and reopen the dialog box over and over again.
If you want to make a multi-page index reference, then the process is a bit different. First, you will need to select the range of text that you want to include as a multi-page reference. Then you will need to click the “Bookmark” button in the “Links” group on the “Insert” tab in the Ribbon. That will open the “Bookmark” dialog box. A bookmark is simply a reference to a section of text. In the “Bookmark name:” text box, type a name for the bookmark. Note that it cannot contain spaces, but may contain letters and numbers. Then click the “Add” button to add the bookmark to the list shown in this dialog box.
Next, click into the document at the end of the text that you selected and set as a bookmark. Click the “Mark Entry” button in the “Index” group on the “References” tab of the Ribbon. Set the index entry for the marked text, as normal. However, this time, click the “Page range” option button in the “Options” section of the dialog box. Then select the name of the bookmark that you just created from the adjacent drop-down. Make any other settings, as desired, and then click the “Mark” button to mark the page range entry.
Once you have marked your index entries for inclusion, click into your document at the position where you want to insert the index. Then click the “Insert Index” button in the “Index” group on the “References” tab of the Ribbon. This will open the “Index” dialog box and display the “Index” tab within the dialog box. Here you can set the appearance of the index that will be created.
In the “Print Preview” section at the top of the dialog box you will see a preview of how the index would appear when printed. To the right of the preview, you will see the “Type:” options: “Indented” or “Run-in.” Select the style that you prefer. Below that, you enter the number of columns that you want your index to display. Below the preview you can check the “Right align page numbers” checkbox in order to right align the page numbers in your index, if desired. If you choose to right align the page numbers, then you may select the type of leader to use from the “Tab leader:” drop-down. You can select a different format to use for your index by choosing a different selection from the “Formats:” drop-down.
Once you have made your formatting selections in the “Index” dialog box, you can then click the “OK” button at the bottom of the dialog box to insert the index into your document. The index in Word, just like the table of contents, is actually a field. Like all fields, you can toggle the display of the field code between the index’s contents and the field’s display by clicking into the index and then pressing “Shift” + “F9” on your keyboard to toggle the view.