Creating An Index

The most important part of a non-fiction book, in my thinking, is the index. Nothing is more annoying than a scanty one, nor one that didn’t seem worth the effort to do well. I confess it irritates me if, for example, I want to look up “cherry pie,” only to find that entry telling me “see pie, cherry”. It would take less characters to simply put the page number in both places!

Granted, it is a huge task, as I’m learning. I don’t think I could do it without my computer, word processor, and spreadsheet. Not as easily or thoroughly anyway.

My procedure is this:

  1. Read through each chapter and appendix, and make a list of words and terms on alphabetized index cards.
  2. Type the words from the cards into a spreadsheet.
  3. Click on A to Z order to alphabetize.
  4. Select all and copy from the spreadsheet. (For a list of the software I’m using, click here.)
  5. Paste into simple text editor to remove formatting.
  6. Copy and paste onto my book index.
  7. Next will be to put all the chapters into a single document. This can only be done once the proofing, editing, and last minute changes are complete.
  8. Then add page numbers.
  9. Finally, use the find feature on my word processor to find the terms in my index, and copy the page numbers.

True, this will still be time consuming, but I hope will be worth it for the reader.