Tracking and Referencing Documents in Microsoft Word 2010

  • 8/12/2011

3.4 Mark and Compile an Index for a Document

To create an index in a document, you need to complete two general steps: mark index entries in the file, and set options for how Word generates the index. You can find details about specifying index options in “Setting Index Options” later in this section. In the next section, you’ll learn the mechanics of marking index entries.

Marking Index Entries

You can follow any of several approaches for marking index entries. You can select text in a document to use as an entry, insert an entry of your own where you want the index marker to appear, or insert index markers by importing a list of terms set up in an AutoMark file.

To mark entries in the file, begin by clicking Mark Entry in the Index group on the References tab to open the Mark Index Entry dialog box.

In the file, select a word or phrase you want to add as a main index entry and then click the dialog box to make it active. The text you select appears in the Main Entry field. You do not need to select text in the document to use as the main entry. You can also place the cursor where you want an index entry to appear and then type the main entry as a starting point.

You can edit the text for the entry and type a subentry if applicable. To include a third-level entry, type the subentry text followed by a colon (:), and then type the text of the third-level entry. In the Options area, select Cross-Reference and then type a reference to other index entries as applicable.


If this entry relates to the specific instance of this text on the current page, keep the Current Page option selected. To specify a page range for an entry, you first need to create a bookmark. Select the paragraphs in the range you want to use, and then use the Bookmark dialog box (which you can open by clicking Bookmark in the Links group on the Insert tab) to define the bookmark. In the Mark Index Entry dialog box, choose Page Range and then select the bookmark you defined for that range.

Use the options provided for formatting the page number in bold or italic, and when the entry is complete, click Mark to define it. Click Mark All to insert an index field for each occurrence of the main entry you defined in the document.


When you select text and mark it as an index entry, Word adds an index entry field. The field is identified by the characters XE and encloses all the information for an entry in curly braces. If you don’t see the index fields in your document, click Show/Hide (the paragraph icon) in the Paragraph group on the Home tab. Here is an example of the information you might see for an index field:

{ XE ”formatting:characters: font” \t See also styles” }

Another method for identifying the terms for an index is to list main entries in a separate file that Word uses to mark your document. You can set up the entries in a two-column table—with the terms you want to search for in the left column and the corresponding entries in the right column—or use a single list. The entries in this list are case sensitive. For example, if you are searching for the term text effects, Word won’t insert an index field if the AutoMark file includes only an entry Text effects. To insert the entries, click Insert Index on the References tab, click AutoMark in the Index dialog box, and then select the file that lists the terms in the Open Index AutoMark File dialog box.

Setting Index Options

After you mark all the index entries, you use the Index dialog box to choose an index design and select other options.


For example, Word supports two types of indexes: indented and run-in.

In a run-in index, main entries and subentries are formatted as follows:

Styles: applying, 211; creating, 209; updating
  • in template, 212. See also character formatting

In an indented index, the entries are listed in this format:


  • applying, 211

  • creating, 209

  • updating in template, 212

  • See also character formatting

When the length of an index is a factor, you save space by using a run-in index. When you select an option for the type of index, Word displays an example in the Print Preview area of the Index dialog box.

By default, Word creates a two-column index. You can choose the Auto setting or set the number of columns from 1 to 4. Choose the language you want to use as necessary. If you are setting up an indented index, you can change the alignment of page numbers by selecting the Right Align Page Numbers check box. Word previews this format when you select the option, and you can then select the type of tab leader you want to include (or select None from this list). The Formats list provide several options for the fonts, line spacing, and other styles Word applies when you generate the index.

If you keep From Template selected in the Formats list, click Modify in the Index dialog box to open the Style dialog box, which lists the styles for index levels 1 through 9.

Select an index level, and then click Modify to open the Modify Style dialog box and make changes to formatting attributes for that style.

When you finish defining options for the index, place the cursor where you want the index to appear, and click OK. Word sorts the entries alphabetically, adds page number references, and removes duplicate entries that occur on the same page.

Editing and Updating an Index

If you need to edit an index entry, you should edit the specific index marker and not the index that Word generates. Locate the field, and then edit and format the text within the quotation marks inside the curly braces that define the field. (Click Show/Hide on the Home tab if you don’t see the fields in the document.)

To delete an index marker, select the field (including the braces) and press Delete.

When you need to edit an index, open the Find And Replace dialog box (by clicking Find, Advanced Find in the Editing group on the Home tab). Click Special (or first click More if you don’t see the Special button), and then select Field. Click Find Next to move to the first field. To continue from field to field, click Find Next again, or close the dialog box and press Shift+F4.

After you revise the index entries, click F9 or click Update Index on the References tab.

  • To mark index entries

    1. On the References tab, in the Index group, click Mark Entry.

    2. In the document, select the text for a main entry, and then click the Mark Index Entry dialog box to make it active. You can also position the cursor where you want an entry to appear, and then type the entry in the Main Entry box.

    3. In the Subentry box, type a subentry (if needed). To define a third-level entry, add a colon to the end of the subentry, and then type the third-level entry.

    4. To add a See or See Also reference, select Cross-reference and then type the text for the reference.

    5. To specify a page range for an entry, click Page Range and then choose the bookmark for the range. (See the next procedure for the steps you follow to create a bookmark.)

    6. In the Page number format area, select bold and italic formatting as required.

    7. Click Mark. Click Mark All to mark all instances of this entry in the document.

  • To define a bookmark for a page range

    1. Select the paragraphs you want to include in the page range.

    2. On the Insert tab, in the Links group, click Bookmark.

    3. In the Bookmark dialog box, type a name for the bookmark and then click Add.

  • To create an index from an AutoMark file

    1. Create the AutoMark file using a two-column table. Specify the terms you want Word to search for in the left column. Add the corresponding index term to the right column.

    2. On the References tab, in the Index group, click Insert Index.

    3. In the Index dialog box, click AutoMark.

    4. In the Open AutoMark File dialog box, select the file and then click Open.

  • To specify index formatting options and generate the index

    1. In the document, insert your cursor where you want the index to appear.

    2. On the References tab, in the Index group, click Insert Index.

    3. In the Index dialog box, set the following options. Refer to the Print Preview area of the dialog box to see the effects of your selections.

      • Select a type of index: indented or run-in.

      • Specify the number of columns.

      • Choose a language if you are using a language other than the default language on your system.

      • If you are using an indented index, click Right align page numbers (an optional choice) and then select the style of tab leader you want to use.

      • Select a format for the index, or keep From template selected.

    4. Click OK in the Index dialog box.

  • To modify index styles

    1. In the Index dialog box, select From template in the Formats list.

    2. Click Modify.

    3. In the Style dialog box, select the index level whose style you want to change and then click Modify.

    4. In the Modify Style dialog box, make changes to the style and then click OK.

    5. Click OK in the Style dialog box.

  • To edit and update an index

    1. In the document, click Show/Hide if the index fields are not displayed.

    2. Select the text in the index field, and revise and format it as you need to.

    3. Press F9 or click Update Index on the References tab.