How to Add and Update an Index in Word
You usually find an index at the end of a document. It makes it easy for a reader to find words, keywords, and phrases in that document. Also, the page numbers on which they appear. Microsoft Word provides an easy way to add an index to a Word document.
Creating an index in Word consists of two steps: determining which words should appear in the index and then inserting the index.
Here’s our guide on how to create an index in Word.
Let’s get started.
Note: Instructions in this guide apply to Word 2021, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, Word 2007, and Word for Microsoft 365.
Mark an Index Entry
1. Select the text you want to add to the index.
2. Select the References tab at the top.
3. In the Index group, click the Mark Entry command.
It opens the Mark Index Entry dialog box, allowing you to configure the index entry. The selected text appears in the main entry box. You can also add a subentry to appear below the main entry field.
4. Change the index entry settings and select an index entry option:
- Cross-reference: It creates a reference to another index entry.
- Current page: It displays the current page number for the selected entry. This option is selected by default.
- Page range: Displays the number of pages in the bookmark you selected from the Bookmark list. Before using this option, you must create a bookmark of the desired range.
5. Select the Mark or Mark All button.
Selecting the Mark button will create an index entry for the selected text. Selecting Mark All will mark this text wherever it appears in the document.
After you mark an entry, formatting marks appear. They allow you to see the hidden text that displays index entries. The window stays open, allowing you to add many index entries throughout the document.
6. Repeat the process to mark other index entries.
7. Once done, click Close.
Tip: Index entries do not print because they are invisible. But they are visible when the paragraph marks are enabled.
Add an Index
After you’ve marked the index entries, you’re ready to add the index to your document.
1. Click wherever you want to insert an index in your document.
2. Navigate to the References tab.
3. Select the Insert Index button from the Index group.
The Index dialog box appears, where you can customize how the index appears.
You can choose whether or not to right-align page numbers. And whether or not to include a tab leader between the text and the page numbers. Also, you can choose whether to use the formatting theme of the document or another one.
You can specify whether subentries should be indented below the Main Entry or displayed in a paragraph under the Main Entry in run-in style.
4. Change the appearance of the index.
If you choose the “From template” option, you can create your design format by clicking the Modify button. It allows you to customize the fonts, spacing, and style for all entries and subentries.
Any changes you make to the appearance of the index will be visible in the “Print Preview” box in the upper-left of this window.
5. Once done, click OK.
It creates an index and automatically populates with all the index entries you’ve marked in the document.
Update an Index
When you add an index, it automatically inserts all index entries in the document. If you add, edit, format, or delete index entries after creating an index, you must update the index to see them.
To update the index:
- Click anywhere in the index.
- Select the Update Index button.
The index is updated and reflects your changes.