How to make a Word index

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Indexes are essential in any document. Especially if it is a multi-page document. Having a table of contents will save you time, because you only need to search for the subject you are interested in to know on which page of the document it is. Once you know the page number, you only have to go to that page in the document.

This is why it is very important to know how to make an index in word. In fact, it is common for colleges and universities to require that academic research submitted by students have an index.

That is why here we will explain in a simple and step-by-step way how to make an index in Word.

1. Open the program Microsoft Word on your computer.

The first step is to access the software that will allow you to write the document and structure its respective index. Microsoft Word is an editor and word processor and is part of a set of applications called “Microsoft Office”. In this set of applications, you can also find Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, among others.

abriendo word

2. Create a new document or open the document you are going to work on

To create a new document, you must select “blank document”. If you want to open a document that already has content, go to “file” and select “open”. Choose the document you want to work on in the location of your computer where it is located, and click “open”.

documento en blanco

3. Point out what your titles and subtitles will be

This process can be done as you write your document. But also when you have finished it and want to create the index. In the “home” tab you will find the “styles” section. In “styles” you will see formats such as “title 1” and “title 2”.

título 1

Assign these formats to the titles of the topics in your document as appropriate. Remember that “title 1” indicates a specific subject, and “title 2” indicates subdivisions of that subject.

Titulo 2

Likewise, if you want to separate the topics that are part of “title 2”, you can use the format “title 3” and so on.

4. Create the index

In word, go to the “references” tab. You will find the option “table of contents”. A menu will be displayed where you can choose the type of index you want to create.

opciones de tabla de contenido

5. Customize your table of contents

If none of the default index options offered by word fit your needs, click on “custom table of contents”.

In this option you will be able to modify the amount of hierarchical levels that you want to be shown in the index. You can also modify the format of the index and even if you want to show the number of pages.

Tabla de contenido personalizada

Once you have established the characteristics of your index, click on “accept”. You will see will have been created in the document.

6. Update your table of contents

You already made your index, but decided to add new information to the document. Or you made any kind of modification to the content. This has probably moved the location of several of the titles within the document. And you are wondering if you should create the index again now.

The answer is no. You can continue using the one you created. All you have to do is select the index and you will see a sort of frame appearing around it. In the upper right corner of the frame, you will see a button that says “update table”.

actualizar tabla

If you click on “update table”, word will ask you if you want to update just the page numbers or the whole table. The first option can be used if you have only included new content that could have moved the titles to other pages. The second option will be used if the new content includes new titles and subtitles that should appear in the index.

Never again suffer from having to make indexes for your documents. Just follow the simple steps we have explained to you. You have already seen how easy it is. Tell us if you have ever had to make a word index and how you did it. Have you written the titles in the index one by one? Have you had to indicate the page number manually? We read you in the comments.

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