Creating an index using a concordance file in Word

A Concordance file is a list of words to include in an index. In this way you can create a separate list and let Word compare your list to automatically mark index entries. Word searches through the document for each exact occurrence of text in the first column of the concordance file, and then it uses the text in the second column as the index entry.

Find out more by selecting an option below:

To create a concordance file

  • Create a new blank document that is separate to your main document
  • Create a 2 column table
  • In the first column, enter the text you want Microsoft Word to search for and mark as an entry. See Note 1&2
  • Press Tab
  • In the second column, type the index entry for the text in the first column. See Note 3
  • Press Tab to start a new row and repeat the previous 3 steps for each index reference and entry
  • Save the concordance file

Notes:

  • You must enter the text exactly as it appears in the document. It is also case sensitive. If the word appears with different combinations of upper and lower case you will need to list all combinations. For example: type The Thesis, the thesis, The thesis, THE THESIS.
  • List all forms of the word you want to search for. For example: type erupt, erupting, and eruption in three separate cells in the left column, and then type volcanoes in the matching cells in the right column.
  • If you want to create a subentry, type the main entry followed by a colon (:) and the subentry. For Example: Train:line, Train:carriage.


To index words from the concordance file

  • Open the document you want to index
  • From the Reference tab, click on the Insert Index command in the Index group of commands
  • Click AutoMark
  • Locate and select the concordance file
  • Click Open.


If you want to identify words in the main file to add to the concordance file;

  • Open both the concordance file and the document to index
  • From the Window menu, choose Arrange All
  • Copy text from the document you want to index into the first column of the concordance file OR
  • Select the word to be copied, hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard and drag the word across to the first column

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Notes:

  • Word marks only the first occurrence of an entry in each paragraph
  • Microsoft Word inserts each marked index entry as an XE (Index Entry) field in hidden text format. E.g. { XE "Rabbit" }
  • If you can't see the field codes, click the Show/Hide button on the Standard toolbar:  ShowHide_button
  • If you have a Table of Contents you may want to delete any index marks that have been inserted into the Table of Contents
  • To make sure that the document is paginated correctly, you need to hide field codes and any other hidden text. 

You have now selected and marked the words you wish to have listed in the index, the next step is to compile the index.

To compile an index

  • Move the insertion point to the end of the entire document (Ctrl + End).
  • Insert a Next page Section Break
  • Move the insertion point to the last page
  • Type a heading for your Index and press Enter
  • From the Reference tab, click on the Insert Index command in the Index group of commands
  • Select the type and formats you want for the index
  • Click OK

To update an index

  • Add the words and index name to the concordance file
  • As before, index words from the concordance file (they won't double up, just simply add the new words).

You can use one of the following methods:

  • Right mouse click into the index table itself and choose update field; OR
  • Click into the index table itself and press F9; OR
  • From the Reference tab, click on the Update Index command in the Index group of commands

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