Creating an index in WordPerfect (recent versions)

March 28, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Note: This post outlines the basics of creating an index in WordPerfect. It applies primarily to WordPerfect X3 and X4; I haven’t tested in WP X5, which was just released, but presumably the steps described below work in that version, as well.

There are a couple of different ways to create an index in WordPerfect. One involves automatically generating a separate Concordance file, which is a list of every word in your document (you can limit the Concordance to “major” words, but even so… a Concordance usually is best for shorter documents). The other involves manually searching for, selecting, and marking various “important” words in your document and then defining and generating an Index on a separate page within the document. Although the second method is significantly more tedious and time-consuming than the first method, it gives you much more control over the words that appear in the Index, and it less prone to errors than generating a Concordance file. (This post does not provide instructions for creating a Concordance.)

To create an Index, first set aside a blank page (usually at the end of your document or Master document). After creating any headings you desire for the top of the Index page or pages, position the cursor where you want the first entry to appear. Click Tools > Reference > Index, and click the Define button.

This step, similar to defining a Table of Contents, allows you to tweak the page numbering format of your Index if necessary (i.e., if you want it to use a method that is different from that of the rest of the document). You can also change the style for Headings and Subheadings from this dialog. However, if you don’t do so at this point, never fear – you will have an opportunity to change the styles after you have generated the Index (by double-clicking the codes).

Unless you wish to make any changes, simply click the “OK” button. You should see “[[Index will generate here]]” (ordinarily those words appear within chevrons; the chevrons don’t show up properly in WordPress, so I am using regular brackets instead) at the cursor position. This bracketed phrase is just a placeholder, indicating that you have inserted Definition and Generate codes for the index; be careful not to delete them.

Many people set up Indexes so that they are formatted as columns, rather than stretching across an entire page. If you wish to do so, position the cursor where you want the first entry to appear, then click Format > Columns, select the number of columns you wish (2 or 3), and click OK. Note that you will not change the column style from Newspaper (“snaking”) columns to Parallel, as you do in most legal docs, because in the case of an index, you want the alphabetical entries to wrap around on the same page when you reach the bottom of a column.

Next, you need to go through the document and mark terms you want to appear in the Index. This is the most painstaking part of the entire process. Once you have found a term you want to mark, select the term, click Tools > Reference > Index, and, if the term is a Heading, click the “Mark” button. If the term is a Subheading, you must either select a heading from the Heading drop-down list or type a new one. Once you do, the term should appear in the Subheading box, and you can click the “Mark” button.

If you don’t think the term you’ve selected is quite right for your Heading or Subheading, you can type a different term in the appropriate box. Just be sure to apply that term consistently throughout the document.

After you have marked a Heading or Subheading, press F2 or click Edit > Find and Replace to search for additional instances of the term in your document. When you find them, position the cursor somewhere within the word, click Tools > Reference > Index, use the drop-down list to locate the applicable Heading or Subheading, and click the “Mark” button. This process is similar to the process of marking case and code citations in a pleading for a Table of Authorities.

Continue marking terms for the Index. When you are ready to Generate, you can click Tools > Reference > Index, Generate or simply press Alt Shift F5, either of which will generate all of the tables in your document simultaneously.

If, after the Index generates, you want to change the style for the Headings or Subheadings, simply press Alt F3 to turn on Reveal Codes, then navigate to and double-click the appropriate code in the document. That will open the Styles Editor. When it appears, you can make changes (for instance, clicking Italics or Bold so that Headings are italicized or bolded and stand out from the rest of the text). After you tweak the style, remember to click “OK” to save your changes.

If you haven’t set up the Index in columns, you can do so at this point. Just be sure to position the cursor at the top of the page, ahead of the other codes, before configuring the columns.

It’s pretty simple, once you’ve got the hang of the basics. The hardest part is combing through the document to find and mark the terms you want to appear in the Index.

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