Many technical writers who have been using Adobe FrameMaker for years (back when it was owned by Frame Technology and only ran on UNIX) know all of the ins and outs of the program, including how to manipulate indices to suit our needs.
However, many writers are not as familiar with the indexing features and produce flat indices with no subentries, page ranges, or see or see also cross-reference entries. They aren’t familiar with index entry sorting or some of the other tricks a few of us have up our sleeves.
This article shows you the simple steps to add the following type of entries to your index to greatly improve usability for your readers.
- page ranges
- see and see also cross references with no page number
- forced sorting
- multiple entries in one code block
- fancy formatting
This article assumes that you are familiar with developing a standard index in FrameMaker using the Marker panel.
The first examples of subentries in the Index Sample image to the right are the data subentries. To add indented subentries using the Marker panel, type the entry word, followed by a colon, followed by the subentry word (no space).
Only use indented subentries if you reference two or more subentries under the same entry. For single subentries, type the entry word, followed by a comma, followed by a space, followed by the subentry word, as in the example entry for date.
Code sample – multiple subentries
Type the following code in the Marker panel to create an indented subentry on two lines.
Code sample – single subentry
Type the following code in the Marker panel to create a single-line subentry.
date, setting Controller
FrameMaker offers two methods for specifying page ranges: manually and automatically. I prefer the manual method because I like to have more control over my index. If you are interested in automatic page ranges for every entry, see the FrameMaker help.
Specifying a page range is a two-step process. You specify the start range at the beginning of the text block (generally a heading) and the end range at the end of the text block (generally at the end of the block of text before the next heading of the same level as the start range heading). See the DATA screen entry in the Index Sample image above for an example of page ranges.
Ensure that you type the code correctly, and type the entry in the Marker panel exactly the same in both the start and end ranges, or your page range in the index will have two entries: one for ??-25 (assuming your end range is on page 25) and another entry for 5-?? (assuming that your start range is on page 5). It is easy to fix because the numbers in the index entries are links to the index markers; so just control-click the index entry numbers to check your typing in the Marker panel.
Code sample – start range
Put your cursor at the beginning of the text block to specify a start range, and type the following code in the Marker panel.
Code sample – end range
Put your cursor at the end of the text block to specify an end range, and type the following code in the Marker panel.