At first glance, indexing a book seems like the perfect task for computer automation. Just feed your files into the right software application and out pops the perfect index. Right? Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. In fact, until recently the only way to get a good index was to create it manuallyone entry at a time. Before QuarkXPress 4 came out, books and other documents produced in XPress had to be indexed with a third-party commercial XTension orthe way I did it for yearswith hard copies, highlighters, note cards, and colored pens. It was a painful process I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
Fortunately, QuarkXPress 4 has an indexing tool that makes the process significantly easier. While XPress still requires that you index one word or phrase at a time (there’s no way to instantly locate and identify all the occurrences of a word in your document), it simplifies the process because you don’t have to worry about recording each page on which a word appearsin the end XPress collects the page numbers of the items you’ve selected and builds the final index.
Concordance versus Index
Automated index generators usually don’t work well, because a good index tells you not only which words appear in a document but also how to find what you’re looking for. This is a key difference.
A list of words that appear in a document is called a concordance. (Virginia Systems’ Sonar Bookends$195 from
http://www.virginiasystems.com;is an excellent tool for building one of these.) A concordance can be just the ticket for some technical manuals and catalogs, but unless you manually strip out certain words, you end up with an index full of words such as
When you build an index manually, you can choose to include only those words and phrases that are relevant. Plus, you can (and should) index words and phrases that don’t appear in the text but that your readers might look for. For example, because a new XPress user might not know to look for the word
, the index to a book on QuarkXPress might include
, too (even if those exact words don’t appear on the actual pages).
Indexing a Book
You might think your copy of QuarkXPress is missing the indexing feature. Fear not: because most XPress users never need to make an index, Quark separated this function into an XTension that, by default, is located in the XTension Disabled folder. So, before you can begin indexing, you have to enable the XTension (select XTensions Manager from the Utilities menu, enable Index, click on OK, and restart QuarkXPress).
Building an index with XPress is easier, faster, and more flexible than indexing on paper, but it’s still labor-intensive. The first step is to apply index markers, throughout your document, to the words and phrases you wish to include. XPress doesn’t automate the marking process, and you have to flag every instance of a word. You can also insert markers between words, as placeholders for the words or phrases you want to include in the index although they don’t appear on the page.
QuarkXPress lets you apply index markers at any point in the production cycle (see “Choosing Your Index”), but it’s almost always best to wait until the text has become fixeduntil nothing in the document will be deleted, copied, cut, pasted, and so onbecause as you edit the text, you may accidentally delete index markers without knowing it.
When you’ve applied all the markers, the next step is to set up the index preferences to reflect the style of index you want (see “Stylin’ Indexes”). Finally comes the part you’ve been waiting for: you click on a button, and XPress builds the index using the entries you’ve supplied. While applying markers on screen is faster than writing on note cards, it’s this last step that really saves the most time and makes professional indexers smile.
Worth the While
Also see: “Building a Table of Contents”
Creating an index can be an intimidating task, even with XPress’s tools. But don’t let that stop you; a book or a manual without an index is hardly worth the paper it’s printed on. Take the time to build a good, solid index now, and your readers will thank you for years to come.
DAVID BLATNER is the author of
The QuarkXPress 4 Book
(Peachpit Press, 1998) and a frequent speaker on desktop publishing at Seybold and other events. You can find him at
Choosing Your Index
There’s little that’s automatic about building an index, even in XPress. It’s not difficult, but you have to be methodical about it. Here are the basic steps you should follow after opening the Index palette (Edit: Preferences: Index). (There are various additional styling and indexing options along the way. I introduce a couple of them in “Stylin’ Indexes”.
Place the cursor in the document and type the word or phrase you want indexed in the Text field of the Index palette. Or you can select text on a page, and it automatically appears in this field. (You can press command-option-I to jump to this field instead of clicking in it.)
If you’ve already indexed the word or phrase elsewhere in your document, you can simply scroll to it in the list at the bottom of the palette and click on it. This adds it to the Text field and ensures consistency in your index.
Choose a level for your index entry from the Level pop-up menu.
, for example, might be a first-level entry, while
would fall beneath it as a second-level entry.
Specify what the scope will be from the Scope pop-up menu. Are you indexing just this word on this page, or is this a topic that spans the next six pages? It’s easier to set the scope one time using this field than to create a separate index entry on each page. (Instead of a scope, you can choose X-Ref from the same menu to create a cross-reference to some other index entry, such as “GOP. See Republicans.”)
If this is a second-level entry, click in the column to the left of the first-level entry under which the new entry should fall. A little black arrow should appear in the column.
Click on the Add button to add your text to the list of words to be indexed. It’s easy to forget this step. Remember: Be methodical. (Shortcut: If the next word or phrase you index has the same palette settings as the last, you can simply select it on the page or type it in the Text field and then press command-option-shift-I to add it to the index list.) First-level entries are alphabetized in the Index palette’s list; second-level entries are alphabetized under their respective first-level entries.
When you’re finished marking entries, you need to create both a master page for your index and style sheets for each entry level. Then, when you select Build Index, you’ll be able to choose the master page and style sheets you’ve created from the pop-up menus in the Build Index dialog box–otherwise XPress will apply a default master page and default style sheets to your index.
Click on OK, and QuarkXPress builds the index at the end of the current document.
Indexes come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few rules indexers traditionally follow. For instance, first-level entries are typically capitalized and second-level entries are usually lowercased (except for proper nouns, of course). QuarkXPress won’t capitalize entries for you; you have to type them in the Index palette the way you want them to appear (or fix them later when the index is complete). You can adopt other rules, but whatever they are, apply them systematicallyan inconsistent index is an ugly sight.
XPress offers some automatic style options, and you can find additional options for styling your index by selecting Index Preferences from the Preferences submenu (under the Edit menu) and in the Build Index dialog box. For example, by default, QuarkXPress places a hyphen between numbers in page ranges: “3-4.” I much prefer an en dash (option-hyphen): “3-4.” I change this in the Between Page Range field of the Index Preferences dialog box (see below).
Similarly, some people like nested indexes while others prefer run-in indexes. Run-in indexes often take up less room because the second-level entries are listed in running text (instead of a column), but run-in indexes are terrible if you have third- or fourth-level entries. Nested indexes are usually easier to read but should be formatted in narrow columns on the page. You can choose between the two in the Build Index dialog box.
Decimal notation 18, 27
Decimal point 30
Digits of pi
calculating 18, 34, 41, 46
memorizing 4, 111-112, 114, 118
number of 2, 3, 34, 45, 51-53, 65, 67, 87-91, 113
random sequence of 68, 72-73
search for 42-43, 51
Dinostratos 56, 90
Dudley, Underwood 93, 96
Duciad (Pope) 92
Nested Index Decimal notation 18, 27
Decimal point 30
Digits of pi; calculating 18, 34, 41, 46; memorizing 4, 111-112, 114, 118;
number of 2, 3, 34, 45, 51-53, 65, 67, 87-91, 113;
random sequence of 68, 72-73;
search for 42-43, 51
Dinostratos 56, 90
Dudley, Underwood 93, 96
Duciad (Pope) 92
Building a Table of Contents
Although building an index in Quarkxpress is a meticulous process, making a table of contents (TOC) is much simpler. XPress lets you make a TOC with its Lists feature (Edit: Lists), which, appearances to the contrary, is very straightforward. There are three steps: telling XPress which headings to capture, specifying what each heading should look like in the final TOC, and building the TOC with the Lists palette. Creating a TOC with the Lists feature relies entirely on your having used style sheets throughout your document. You should create and apply the same uniquely named style to all your headings, subheads, and so on. You also have to define a style sheet for each level in your TOC. For instance, all the headings might appear in 14-point Helvetica Bold, so make a paragraph style with this definition called TOC-1 or some other descriptive name. You don’t need to apply these styles anywhere; XPress will apply them automatically when it builds the TOC.
Select Lists, click on the New button to define a new list, and give the list a name.
Choose which styles you want in your TOC by double-clicking on them in the Available Styles list. You can assign a level to each style, but it will affect only how the list appears on screen in the Lists palette, not how it will appear on your pages.
If you want your TOC entries to appear with a page number (you typically would), select a style and choose Text…Page# from the Numbering pop-up menu. Finally, choose the appropriate TOC style sheet from the Format As pop-up menu. For instance, you might apply the TOC-1 style to all the first-level TOC entries, and TOC-2 to the second-level entries.
After you’ve saved your new list, open the Lists palette (select Show Lists from the View menu). The palette displays your headings but leaves out the page numbers. Note that you can have more than one list in a document–for instance, a list of figures, a list of tables, and a list of footnotes.
Create a new text box and click on the Build button in the Lists palette. XPress collects the page numbers of each heading and builds the TOC in the text box. If something changes and you need to build the TOC again, XPress asks you if you want to replace the old TOC with the new one.
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