MS Word: How to Plan an Index

MS Word tutorials. In this part of our series on how to create an index, we look at the first step. How to plan the index.

What do you need to consider when creating an index, what criteria should you consider, who will use the index, and how will it be structured.

MS Word: How to Plan an Index

The first suggestion is to try and see your index as a structure piece of content, rather than a random collection of words and phrases.

Your index serves as an oasis for readers who’ve become lost or stranded in a fiendishly difficult document and need to find their bearings.

As always, consider who will use your index, then work backwards to create the type of index that will suit their needs.

So, how do we get there?

How can you prepare an index that helps them find that missing link, that entry they bookmarked mentally… but not digitally?

Ask yourself:

  • What is the most appropriate word or phrase for each entry?
  • What terms or concepts do I need to capture as subentries?
  • Do I need cross-references?
  • Are they phrased correctly?
  • Should I add a note to explain special points, such as italics page numbers refer to illustrations?
  • Are forenames or initials needed?

To learn more about how to create an index, follow the links below.