Adding an index to your Word document allows you to keep your book well-organized and easy to navigate, particularly if you have more than one person contributing to the writing process. But adding this important component can be tricky if you’re not familiar with index tags and even trickier if you’re trying to figure out how to add an index in Microsoft Word without having any prior experience with the program. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to show you how to add an index in five easy steps.
Step 1: Navigate to the Insert tab
To start the process, go to the Insert tab and select Index.
This will open up the following window.
A bar at the top of this window lets you know how many entries are already made. You can delete or edit these entries before adding any new ones by selecting it from the list on the left-hand side. In order for each entry to appear as its own page, there must be an even number of them.
In the right-hand column, enter the word or phrase that should appear as a heading. Click Add Entry to create it. Repeat for every entry that should be included in your index. The final step is click OK when finished and make sure Save is selected if desired so that your changes are saved automatically instead of saving them manually.
Step 2: Click on the drop-down box of Index
- After you click the drop-down box, a window will pop up where you can type in the word or phrase that you want on the index page.
- Next, you’ll have the option of including subheadings. This is helpful for grouping like topics together, but it’s not required.
- After filling out your subheadings, be sure to review your work and make any changes that might be necessary before proceeding with Step 3.
Step 3: Select an Index Type
When creating the index, you can choose one of three types: alphabetical, chronological, or subject. This choice is up to you and will depend on what would work best for your type of work.
Chronological indexes are used when one wants to arrange entries according to the time they were made or discovered.
Alphabetical indexes help readers find entries that are relevant without having prior knowledge of the entry’s title or author.
Step 4: Formatting Your Index
This step is crucial because your index will look messy and unusable if you don’t include heading styles for the entries. The easiest way to do this is by making a bold entry. Enter headings with the Heading 2 style, or any other style you prefer, but it’s best not to leave this field blank because it could lead to problems with future editing.