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How to write an index Writing an index for your technical documents can be an intimidating task for a new technical writer.
But for some audiences, and obviously for printed documentation, a good index is invaluable. For example, one system I document is an enterprise application. It includes hundreds of code tables, containing codes for customizing which fields are displayed on the screen, which types of invoices and other documents can be printed or emailed, and which users can access the various parts of the system.
Without the index, it would be more difficult to find the information you need. I was reminded of how much I rely on indexes and search when I bought my first ebook last year — a guide to CSS. In fact, I thought the ebook was the answer to clearing my bookshelves, the ones currently filled with doorstop reference books.
Fortunately the program has since been updated and now includes a search. In a perfect world, the best thing to do if you need to create an index, is to hire an indexer, someone who makes a living writing indexes.
A good indexer loves nothing more than the puzzle of creating a comprehensive and well-constructed index. Start with your topic headings. Add one or more index entries for each topic heading.
As a general rule, use lower-case, except for proper nouns. This is a good first pass through your document. Consider other words that users might look for to find these topics.
Go through the topic headings a second time and consider other words that a user might use to find the topic. Look for keywords in each topic.
Look through each topic to find keywords that a user might search for. These might include the names of dialog boxes or windows, or unfamiliar terms, for topics that include a definition of the term.
Think of synonyms for the keywords.
Get daily e-book deals and perks—plus, download a free e-book just for signing up! A good index is more than just an alphabetical list of all the text’s proper nouns and their locations; it’s a way of thinking about the ideas within the text that can guide a reader to the. Learning how to write a book can seem like a daunting task. Whether you came to this site because you have an original idea you hope to turn into a nonfiction bestseller, or you want to learn how to write a novel without getting stuck after the first two chapters, we’re here to help.
Find synonyms for the keywords you identified in the previous round. Consider your audience and terms they might be more familiar with.
Brainstorm other words users might look for. Think of the product you have documented and brainstorm any other words a user might search for.
Read the completed index. As with all your writing, be sure to read through the completed index, carefully checking for spelling errors and typos. Any suggestions for first time indexers?In a perfect world, the best thing to do if you need to create an index, is to hire an indexer, someone who makes a living writing indexes.
A good indexer loves nothing more than the puzzle of creating a comprehensive and well-constructed index. Pre-K-8 elementary educational resources for teachers, students, and parents.
Jennifer McMahon, bestselling author of several books, including THE ONE I LEFT BEHIND, shares 7 tips for how to write a book and get it published. Visit Scholastic's website for kids about books, reading, authors, games & more. Kids connect to books through online friends in their community profiles.
(This will make your life much easier in the event you must revise the index after a new edition or repagination.) This is serious content work; indexers get paid far too little for it.
And I don’t think a machine could do it as well, any more than it could write the book. Someday, a smart machine may prove me wrong about that. Writing and publishing a cookbook means having not only recipes but having organization, photos, vision and more.
A reader should be able to skim the table of contents and/or the index and pretty quickly find a recipe that suits his or her cooking or baking needs. and you should see what order makes sense for your book. For example, if.