How to Create an Index in Word 2013 - dummies

How to Create an Index in Word 2013

By Lois Lowe

Creating an index would be kind of daunting without tools to help you. With Word 2013’s indexing tools, you have to mark the important words to include in your index, but Word can alphabetize the entries for you and keep track of the page numbers on which those words appear.

In other words, creating an index is a two-step process:

  1. Mark the index entries in the document.

  2. Compile the index.

When marking entries, each entry can be one of three types:

  • A main entry appears in alphabetical order in the index. These are the important words that your readers might look up.

  • A subentry appears subordinate to a main entry. Subentries are appropriate when a term makes sense only in the context of a main term. For example, if the main entry is Civil War, you might have a subentry of Economic impact.

  • A cross-reference is a reference to a main entry. A cross-reference is useful when one term is an abbreviation of another. For example, the main entry might be United States of America and the cross-reference might be USA.

  • Cross-references are also useful when a certain word that a user might be likely to look up is not the same word as is used for that topic in the book. For example, suppose you are writing about the Find feature in Word; you might list Search as a cross-reference to Find, in case the reader didn’t know the official name of the feature.

How to mark index entries

To mark entries for an index, you use the Mark Entry tool on the References tab. When you mark an index entry, Word places a hidden code in the document immediately following the word or phrase.

Marking the index entries can be a time-consuming task. Although the Mark Entry tool does have a Mark All option, which marks all instances of a word at once, the Mark All option tends to over-mark. This means your index will include incidental uses of a word rather than only the important uses, and thus make your index less useful to your readers.

To generate an index that only cites significant uses of your indexed terms, mark each index entry individually. Avoid the Mark All option except in special cases where marking every single instance of a term is desired.

Professional-quality indexes are marked by professional indexers, and a large document, such as a book, can take many days to mark.

  1. In the first paragraph of your document, select a main entry text, in this example World War I, and then choose References→Mark Entry.

    The Mark Index Entry dialog box opens.


  2. Click the Mark All button.

    An index entry code is inserted in the document. Word displays hidden characters if they aren’t already displayed so that the index code is visible. All other instances of World War I are also marked. The dialog box remains open.


    You can mark instances individually, or mark them all at once, depending on whether you want every instance to be indexed. Between entries, you can close the dialog box or leave it open. If you close it and then select some text, the selected text appears in the Main Entry text box automatically.

  3. Click the Close button to close the dialog box and then use the same process as in Steps 1 and 2 to mark all instances of other main entries, such as Royal Australian Air Force, for this example.

    Mark All should be used sparingly because of the problems discussed earlier, but Mark All is appropriate in cases where the reader may be interested in finding every mention of a term.

    Leave the dialog box open when finished.

  4. In the first paragraph, select a main entry text, such as, RAAF. Then in the Mark Index Entry dialog box, change the text in the Main Entry box to RAAF.

  5. Select the Cross-Reference option and then click after See and type Royal Australian Air Force, for this example.


  6. Click the Mark button. Then close the dialog box.

  7. Save the document and close it.

How to generate an index

After the document has been fully marked up for indexing, you can generate the index. Compared to marking, generating the index is fast and easy, requiring just a few steps.

  1. Open your Bio Indexed document.

  2. Move the insertion point to the end of the document, press Ctrl+Enter to start a new page, and choose References→Insert Index.

    The Index dialog box opens.

  3. From the Formats drop-down list, choose Classic and then click OK.


    The index appears in the document.


  4. If nonprinting characters appear, choose Home→Show/Hide to hide all the index codes and other nonprinting characters.

  5. Save and close the document.