How to Mark Index Entries in MS Word (With Screenshots)

In this tutorial, we look at how to mark index entries in MS Word. In other words, how to identify and add text to the index at the end of your document.

How to Mark Index Entries in MS Word

To create an index, you need to:

  • Mark the entries,
  • Select a design, then
  • Build the index

Step 1: Mark index entries

To mark index entries, do one of the following:

  • Mark words or phrases
  • Mark entries for text that spans a range of pages

Mark words or phrases

  1. To use existing text as an indexentry, select the text.
  2. To enter your own text as an indexentry, click where you want to insert the index entry.
  3. On the References tab, in the Index group, click Mark Entry.
  4. To create the Main indexentry that uses your own text, type or edit the text in the Main entry box.
  5. If you want, you can customize the entry by creating a third-level entry or a cross-reference to another entry:
    1. To create a Subentry, type the text in the Subentry
    2. To include a third-level entry, type the Subentry text followed by a colon (:), and then type the text of the third-level entry.
    3. To create a cross-reference to another entry, click Cross-reference under Options, and then type the text for the other entry in the box.
  6. To format the page numbers that will appear in the index, select Bold or Italic below Page number format.

To format the text for the index, select the text in the Main entry or Subentry box, right-click, and then click Font. Select the formatting options that you want to use.

  1. To mark the indexentry, click Mark. To mark all occurrences of this text in the document, click Mark All.
  2. To mark additional indexentries, select the text, click in the Mark Index Entry dialog box, and then repeat step 3 through step 6.

Mark words or phrases for text that spans a range of pages

  1. Select the range of text that you want the indexentry to refer to.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Links group, click Bookmark.
  3. In the Bookmark name box, type a name, and then click Add.

In the document, click at the end of the text that you marked with a bookmark.

  1. On the References tab, in the Index group, click Mark Entry.
  2. In the Main entry box, type the indexentry for the marked text.
  3. To format the page numbers, select Bold or Italic below Page number format.

To format the text for the index, select the text in the Main entry or Subentry box, right-click, click Font, and then format the text.

  1. Under Options, click Page
  2. In the Bookmark box, type or select the bookmark name that you typed in step 3, and then click Mark.

Step 2: Create the index

After you mark the entries, you are ready to select an index design and insert the index into your document.

  1. Click where you want to add the index.
  2. On the References tab, in the Index group, click Insert Index.
  3. Do one of the following:
  • Click a design in the Formats box to use one of the available index
  • Design a custom indexlayout:
    • In the Formats box, click From template, and then click Modify.
    • In the Style dialog box, click the indexstyle that you want to change, and then click Modify.
    • Under Formatting, select the options that you want.
    • To add the style changes to your template, click All documents based on the template.
    • Click OK
  1. Select any other index options that you want.

Note: To update the index, click the index, and then press F9. Or click Update Index in the Index group on the References tab.

If you find an error in the index, locate the index entry that you want to change, make the change, and then update the index.

If you create an index in a master document, expand the subdocuments before you insert or update the index.

Edit or format an index entry and update the index

  1. If you don’t see the XE fields, click Show/Hide in the Paragraph group on the Home It looks like a backwards P.
  2. Find the XE field for the entry that you want to change, for example, { XE “Poodle” \t “See Dogs” }.
  3. To edit or format an indexentry, change the text inside the quotation marks.
  4. To update the index, click the index, and then press F9. Or click Update Index in the Index group on the References tab.

To find the next XE field, press CTRL+F, click Special, and then click Field. If you don’t see the Special button, click More.

Delete an index entry and update the index

  1. Select the index entry field, including the braces ({}), and press DELETE.

If you don’t see the XE fields, click Show/Hide in the Paragraph group on the Home tab.

  1. To update the index, click the index, and then press F9. Or click Update Index in the Index group on the References tab.

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