Advanced live index features in InDesign

InDesign’s live index includes some great advanced features: you can add italics to the index, add bold page numbers for illustrations, and even create a live index across several documents using InDesign’s Book feature.

Be sure to first read our earlier blog post, Create a live index in InDesign, to learn the basics of creating a live index.

Many books contain Latin names or other words that will require italics in the index entries. Bold is preferred for index page numbers that indicate illustrations. And, if you’ve used InDesign’s Book feature for layout, you’ll want to create a live index across all the documents. We’ll explain here how you can incorporate these advanced features into your live index:

Adding italics to a live index entry in InDesign

When you create a live index, the paragraph style Index Level 1 is automatically applied to index entries. There is no built-in way to italicize an index entry, as a character style can’t be applied to individual words in a live index.

When creating an index for a book about plants, for example, it’s crucial to include Latin plant names (always italicized) in the index. We found a workaround shared by Patricia Neyman through CreativePro.com that neatly provides a solution for italicizing index entries using GREP. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to understand GREP to use this workaround.)

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To italicize an index entry, you’ll first need to: 1) create two new character styles, 2) adjust an existing paragraph style, and 3) use periods in your index entries. Let’s get started.

1) Create two new character styles

To create the first character style, click Window > Character Styles to open your Character Styles panel. Make sure that the default style [None] is selected, then click the fly-out menu at the top right and choose New Character Style.

The first character style is called Index L1 Italics. Type Index L1 Italics in the Style Name box as shown below.

Create character style for italics.

Then click the Basic Character Formats tab on the left. Choose Italic from the Font Style drop-down menu, then click OK. Done!

Finish creating a character style for italics.

To create the second character style, choose New Character Style just as you did above. This character style is called Index L1 Hide Periods, so type Index L1 Hide Periods in the Style Name box as shown below.

Create a second new character style for hiding periods.

This character style will specify a size of 0.1 points, and a character color of [None]. First click the Basic Character Formats tab on the left, and type 0.1 pt in the Size box.

Change type size in character style.

Then click the Character Color tab on the left, and change the color to [None].

Character style changing color to None.

Click OK and you’ve now created the two character styles you’ll need to add italics to your live index.

2) Adjust an existing paragraph style

Click Window > Paragraph Styles to open your Paragraph Styles panel. Double-click the Index Level 1 style to open the Paragraph Styles Options dialog box. Click the GREP Style tab on the left, and then click the New GREP Style button under the big box on the right. Here’s what you’ll see:

Add a GREP style to a paragraph style.

Click to the right of Apply Style on the word [None], and you’ll see a drop-down menu listing all your character styles. Select the Index L1 Italics character style that you made earlier.

Click to the right of To Text, then copy and paste in this formula:

(?<=.)(.+)(?=.)

Now click the New GREP Style button again. Click to the right of Apply Style on the word [None] again, and this time select the Index L1 Hide Periods character style.

Click to the right of To Text, then copy and paste in this formula:

.+

Now you should see this in your GREP Style tab:

Add nested GREP style to remove periods.

Click OK, and you’re ready to add index entries in italics.

Note: If you have second-level index entries as well (ie, have an Index Level 2 paragraph style), you’ll need to follow the same instructions to nest those same two character styles in your Index Level 2 paragraph style.

3) Use periods in your index entries

In your book’s main text, select the text for your index entry, then press Ctrl/Cmd+7 to get the New Page Reference dialog box with your highlighted text showing at the top of the Topic Levels column on the left. Copy and paste that text into the top of the Sort By column on the right. Now go back to the Topic Levels column and insert a period before and after the text, like this:

Add periods to live index entry.

Click OK and the entry will be added to your index. Look in your Index panel and you’ll see the entry there with the periods before and after. Now generate the index, and the entry will appear in italics without the periods. Voila!

Italicized live index entry.

We were so grateful to find this workaround, as it must’ve taken hours to figure out! It seems like a lot of work to get set up, but once you’ve created the two character styles and nested them in the paragraph styles, you’re good to go.

Back to topAdding a bold page number to indicate an illustration

Illustrations, figures, and photos are often denoted in an index with a bold page number. You’ll need a character style for bold. If you don’t already have one, create a new character style by opening your Character Styles panel, and making sure that the default style [None] is selected. Click the fly-out menu at the top right and choose New Character Style. Type Bold in the Style Name box. Select the Basic Character Formats tab on the left. Choose Bold from the Font Style drop-down menu, then click OK. Done!

To create an index entry with a bold page number, select the name of the illustration or figure in the text, then press Ctrl/Cmd+7 to open a New Page Reference box. Your selected text will show at the top of the Topic Levels column on the left.

To make the page number bold, check the Number Style Override box, then choose the Bold character style from the list, as shown below, then click OK.

Add bold page numbers for photos.

This index entry for gooseberry will have a bold page number so readers know it’s a photo or illustration.

Now generate a new index and you’ll see the page number (page 130 in our example) in bold:

Bold page number in index.

Simple, right?

Back to topUsing live index with InDesign’s Book feature

A live index works just fine with InDesign’s Book feature. You can create index entries in any or all of the documents in the Book; just be sure that all the documents have the same paragraph and character styles for the index. If necessary, you can synchronize all the documents with one that has the index styles set up (do this in the Book feature as we explained in Synchronizing styles using the Book feature).

To generate the index, first open the Index panel and check the box next to Book at the top right (see below). Then click the Generate Index icon at the bottom to open the Generate Index dialog box. Be sure to check the Include Book Documents box, and then click OK.
Using live index with InDesign's Book feature.

Now your cursor will be loaded with text and you can flow the index onto a page. You’ll see that the index includes entries from all the documents in the book.

Advanced live index features work well

The workaround for italics takes a bit of setting up, but once in place it works just fine. And we had no issues with adding bold page numbers or using a live index with InDesign’s Book feature.

We hope your experience with live index is positive too!

Read more: Using the Book feature in InDesign » Our primer on the Book feature
Read also: InDesign Book feature: The good, the bad, and the ugly » Advanced Book feature
And more: Book back matter » The other stuff at the end of your book
And still more: Endnotes go live in InDesign » in case you want to use more live features!

Book Design Made Simple. You can do it yourself.

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