Creating an Index

Creating an Index

If you’ve ever had trouble finding information in a book, you can appreciate how important a good index can be. Indexing used to be a laborious process, involving lots of index cards. QuarkXPress makes indexing much easier, while still relying on you to make key decisions about formatting. The following sections show you how to do your part in creating an index.

Choosing an indexing style

Before you develop an index, you need to decide on the indexing style that you want to use. Large publishers usually have their own house style guides for indexes. One option is to use an index you like as a model and then take the steps necessary in QuarkXPress to achieve that index style. Before you begin indexing, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want to capitalize all levels of all entries, or do you just want to use initial caps?

  • Should headings appear in boldface?

  • Do you want to capitalize secondary entries in the index?

  • Should the index be nested or run-in style? For examples of these indexes, check out the “Nested or run-in index?” sidebar, elsewhere in this chapter.

Setting index preferences

To index words in QuarkXPress, you mark the words that you want to use as index entries in the chapters of your book. These markers appear as colored brackets around the entry. The Index pane of the Preferences dialog box lets you choose the color of index markings (the markers that indicate text is part of the index) and the punctuation (called separation characters) used in your final, built index. Choose QuarkXPressPreferences on the Mac or Edit Preferences in Windows, or press Option+Shift+z+Y or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Y, to access the Index pane shown in Figure. The following sections explain the dialog box options.

Click To expand
Figure: The Index Preferences dialog box

Changing the index marker color

To change the color of the index markers, click the Index Marker Color button in the Index pane; this action displays a color picker. Use the controls in the color picker to define the new color for index markers. Click OK to close the color picker and then click OK in the Index pane to complete the process.

Choosing separation characters

In the Index pane, you can also choose the characters and spaces that separate entries in the index. The options in the Separation Characters section of the pane work as follows:

  • Following Entry: Defines the punctuation that immediately follows each index entry. This punctuation is usually a colon (:). For example, the index item Santorini: vi, 14, 22–24 uses a colon and space following the index entry Santorini.

  • Between Page #s: Defines the characters or punctuation that separates a list of page numbers. This punctuation is usually a comma (,) or semicolon (;). For example, the index item Santorini: vi, 14, 22–24 uses a comma and a space between its page numbers.

  • Between Page Range: Defines the characters or punctuation that indicates a range of pages. This option is usually the word to or a dash. For example, the index item Santorini: vi, 14, 22 to 24 uses the word to between the numbers, indicating a range of pages.

  • Before Cross-Reference: Defines the characters or punctuation that appears before a cross-reference. This option is usually a period and space, or a semicolon. For example, the index item Santorini: vi, 14, 22–24. See also Ancient Thira uses a period and space before the cross-reference.

  • Cross-Ref Style: Specifies a default style sheet for cross-references in your index. For example, if you’d like to use the same style sheet for your cross-references that you used for your body copy, you can choose the style sheet for your body copy in the pop-up menu provided.

  • Between Entries: Defines the characters or punctuation between entry levels in a run-in index. This option is usually a period or a semicolon. For example, the index item Santorini: vi, 14, 22–24; Thira: 19 uses a semicolon between entry levels.


If you are new to indexing, you may want to create a few lines of a sample index to determine your index preferences. As with lists, if the first index you generate doesn’t work for you, you can easily change settings and try again.

Using the Index palette

When your layout is ready to index, open the Index palette by choosing WindowShow Index, or by pressing Option+z+I or Ctrl+Alt+I. Use this palette to add words to the index in as many as four indent levels, to edit or delete index entries, or to create cross-references. The Index palette appears in Figure.

Figure: The Index palette

The controls in the Index palette include the following:

  • Text: The Text field in the Entry section of the Index palette is where you type in an index entry or where the text appears that you tagged with index markers. If you highlight text in an open layout when the Index palette is open, the first 255 characters of the highlighted text appear automatically in the Text field (saving you the effort of typing) and are ready to be captured as an index entry.


    You can automatically reverse the order of text in the Text field as you add it to the index. For example, you can change Byzantine Icons to Icons, Byzantine. All you need to do is press the Option or Alt key while you click the Add button or the Add All button.

  • Sort As: Entries in the Sort As field override the default, alphabetical sorting of the index entry. For example, you may want 16-day tour to be indexed as if the entry appeared as Sixteen-day tour; you can accomplish this task by entering the spelling Sixteen-day tour into the Sort As field.

  • Level: This pop-up menu lets you control the order and structure of index entries.

  • Style: The Style pop-up menu (within the Reference section of the palette) lets you apply a character style to the page numbers for the current index entry or cross-reference. One example of how you may want to use this option is with a cross-reference like “See also Cycladic art” where you want to use an italicized character type for the words Cycladic art.

  • Scope: This pop-up menu in the Reference section lets you control the scope, or range, of the index. For example, you can use it to:

    • Make an entry a cross-reference

    • List an entry as covering a specific number of paragraphs

    • Suppress the printing of the entry’s page number (for example, if the entry is a cross-reference to another entry).

  • Add button: This button lets you add an entry to the index.

  • Add All button: If you have more than one occurrence of an index entry, this button lets you add all occurrences of that entry to the index simultaneously.

  • Find Next Entry button: This button finds the next occurrence of an index entry in the active layout.

  • Edit button: You can edit an active index entry by clicking the Edit button (pencil icon) or by double-clicking the entry name.

  • Delete button: You can delete a selected entry by clicking the Delete button (trash can icon on the Mac or the big X icon in Windows). If you delete an entry, its subentries are deleted as well.

Creating an index entry

To create an index entry, highlight the text that you want to use for the index entry. (Don’t highlight the whole area that you want the index entry to reference; just highlight the word that you want to appear in the index.) Then click the Add button in the Index palette to add the index entry to the list by using the currently selected values in the Entry and Reference areas. When you add index entries, make sure that the capitalization of the words in the Text field matches the style of your index. QuarkXPress does not automatically capitalize (or lowercase) words in your index.

Editing an index entry

To edit an index entry, you must first select it in the Index palette and then go into editing mode; you can either double-click the index entry, or you can click the index entry and then click the Edit button. You can select an entry and make changes to the Entry and Reference areas, but unless you go into editing mode first, you’re only changing the settings that will be used when you create the next index entry.

Creating page-number references

Each index entry includes a reference. A reference usually consists of the page number(s) to which the entry refers, but it may also be a cross-reference. To see the page number reference (or cross-reference) for an index entry, click the icon to the left of the entry in the lower section of the Index palette.

Creating cross-references

Cross-references enhance an index because they give the reader another way to find pertinent information. The following steps show you how to add a cross-reference to an indexed entry:

  1. If you’re creating a new index entry, highlight the text and make sure that the Text, Sort As, and Level field settings are set as you would like them to be.

    If you’re adding a cross-reference to an existing entry, click on that entry in the index to place its information in the Text field.

  2. Choose ScopeCross-Reference. Then choose an option from the pop-up menu: See, See Also, or See Herein (as shown in Figure).

    Figure: In this example, we cross-reference the index entry Icon of St. John to Greek icons.

    Use See to point readers to the appropriate index entry; use See Also to point the readers to additional useful information elsewhere in the index; use See Herein to point readers to a subentry for this index entry.

  3. To point readers to another index entry, you have two choices: You can type an index entry’s text in the field, or you can click on an existing entry in the Index palette.

    If the entry you’re referencing is in another chapter, you have no choice but to enter its text in the field. You may want to refer to the other chapter to make sure that you get the wording exactly right.

  4. Within your cross-reference, you can change the formatting of the text for the referenced index entry. For example, if your cross-reference is See also Greek icons, you can change the formatting of Greek icons to italics. A setting in the Index preferences pane controls the default character style sheet applied to cross-reference text, but you can change it by selecting an option from the Style menu.

  5. From the See pop-up menu, choose an option (See, See Also, or See Herein) to govern how the cross-reference appears under the index entry.

    In Figure, for the index entry Icon of St. John, we have a cross- reference to Greek icons.

Using index levels

QuarkXPress supports four levels of indexing. The most important thing to remember about creating a level-two, level-three, or level-four index entry is that you must tell QuarkXPress where to put it — that is, you must indicate a higher-level index entry for the subentry to fall under. You provide a higher-level index entry by using the arrow column at the left edge of the index entry list at the bottom of the Index palette. Follow these steps to create a level-two entry to an existing level-one entry:

  1. Select the text that you want to add.

  2. In the arrow column, click next to the level-one entry under which you want the new entry listed.

  3. Choose Second Level from the Level pop-up menu in the Entry area.

  4. Click the Add button to add the new entry.

Building an index

To build an index from a list that you generate in the Index palette, choose UtilitiesBuild Index to open the Build Index dialog box, as shown in Figure. This command is available only when the Index palette is open.

Figure: The Build Index dialog box

The options in the Build Index dialog box work as follows:

  • Choosing a nested or run-in index: Your first decision is whether the index is nested or run-in. (See the “Nested or run-in index?” sidebar, elsewhere in this chapter, to help you make a decision.)

  • Building an index for an entire book: The Build Index dialog box lets you build an index for the entire book rather than for just the open chapter. You select this option by clicking the Entire Book box.

  • Replacing an existing index: Indexing is an iterative process, and you’ll probably want to build an index a few times through the course of a book project. When you click Replace Existing Index in the Build Index dialog box, QuarkXPress overwrites the existing index with the most current version.

  • Adding letter headings: In long indexes, you may want to divide the index alphabetically so all the index entries that begin with A are in a category with the heading A, for example. Check Add Letter Headings to use this feature. You can select a paragraph style sheet for the letter headings from the Style pop-up menu.

  • Basing an index on a master page: The Master Page pop-up menu lets you select a master page on which to base the index page. For long indexes, you should consider developing a master page just for that purpose. See Chapter 16 for more about master pages.

  • Choosing level styles: The Level Styles pop-up menus let you choose the paragraph style sheet(s) you want to apply to the various index levels. If you select the run-in format, all the index levels flow into one paragraph so that only the First Level pop-up menu is available. If you select the nested format, make sure that you specify indentation values for the index level styles that you choose.

After you make your choices in the Build Index dialog box, create the index by clicking OK or pressing Return or Enter.

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