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How to Index a Book? 3 Book Indexing Ideas

Updated on November 20, 2012

When writing a non-fiction book, especially of a technical nature, a book index is one of the most important aspects before it can be finalized. If you see at the last pages of a printed non-fiction book, you often see a list of numerous indexed words in those final pages. This index contains all the important words of the book, with adjacent page numbers for reference purposes. Though indexing a book is one of the last steps, it is extremely important because this index contains really useful information for your readers. Try considering this index as a map for your reader. It helps them finding all the useful and necessary information in the most comfortable, convenient and easiest way.

As the advantages of indexing your book are numerous, it becomes important for every technical writer to spend some time in indexing his book before it can be available to public. However, indexing is a tiresome process, which consumes a lot of time and efforts. Following are some simple yet comprehensive ideas that will help in indexing your book.

1. Get Ideas from Other Similar Books:

In order to get started, it is always a good idea to use some inspiration. And the best source is to get ideas from other books similar to your industry – technical writing. Inspect and examine how other authors have indexed their books. You do have the basic idea and purpose of book indexing; however, by looking at other books, you may get some ideas to improvise and experiment.

2. Shortlist Important Words:

The idea is to shortlist as many important words as you can. Try to think from your readers’ perspective and identify words that will be of supreme interest to them. Skim through your book and shortlist all the useful words that might perform important roles in your book’s index.

Consider these words as the main and relevant keywords in your book’s chapters. For example, if you have written an informative guide, all the definitions become the automotive choices to be included here.

3. Page Numbers:

At first, make sure that your book is completely finished and require no more changes. In order to successfully create links, you must be sure that the page numbers of your book will not be changed. When determined that your book is totally finished and ready to be published, create a list of all the words that you have decided to include in the last pages of your book as index.

The idea is to accompany those indexed words with their relevant page numbers in the book. You can use Microsoft Word to make this process reasonably simple. Just type and find each word, and write its page numbers against it. You will have to do this for every indexed word. This process requires a bit of effort and time, but it is all worthy in the end, as it significantly improves the readability level of your book.

For example:

If the word ‘book indexing’ is used in pages 8 and 15, and the word ‘book writing software’ is used in 13, 17, 221, your book index will be like:

· Book Indexing – 8, 15

· Book Writing Software – 13, 17, 221.

Using a Book Index Program or Software:

Another option – and a very useful one, too – is to use a book indexing program or software to create a book index for your book. A good software can significantly cut the time and efforts involved in shortlisting words and incorporating them in the index, along with their page numbers.

I found the PDF Index Generator software as a wonderful and powerful tool, which is capable and potent enough to undertake this troublesome and complex process of indexing your book. A great feature of PDF Index Generator is that despite being completely automatic, it lets you edit and customize anything you want to modify in your book index.

You can read the full review of PDF Index Generator here:


You can buy the full version of the software at:, or you can first try the trial download to see if it fits the bill for you.


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