Indexing with a Two-Column Concordance, Part 2

In last week’s newsletter, I promised to show you the perfect example of when to use a double-column concordance in preparing an index, and an automatic way to create such a concordance. The perfect example is a poetry anthology, but almost any consistently structured compilation of articles or addresses will lend itself to this kind of indexing.

Let’s say you’ve got that poetry anthology in front of you on the screen–“100 Poems to Brighten Your Day.” As you look through the anthology, you notice a consistency in the way the poems are laid out:




For example:

Your Day

Jack M. Lyon

Roses are red;

Violets are blue;

This is a day

especially for you.

How inspiring!

And of course, the anthology was edited by an astute editor (probably you) who used paragraph styles for each text level:

Heading 1 (for the title)

Heading 2 (for the author)

Poem First Line (for the poem’s first line)

Since this is a poetry anthology, you’ll need to create at least three indexes:

Index of Titles

Index of Authors

Index of First Lines

Let’s start with the titles. Since they’ve been styled as Heading 1, you can easily pull them out to put them in a concordance:

1. Click Edit > Replace.

2. Make sure your cursor is in the Find What box.

3. Click the More button if it’s available.

4. Click the Format button.

5. Click Style.

6. Scroll down to Heading 1 and select it.

7. Click the OK button.

8. Move your cursor to the Replace With box.

9. Enter “<^&>” (without the quotation marks). That code in the middle of the angle brackets, ^&, is the “Find What Text” code, which you can learn more about here:

10. Click the Replace All button.

All of your poem titles should now be enclosed in angle brackets:

Now install my Puller program (use it free for 45 days), which makes it easy to pull delimited items into a separate document:

Use Puller to pull the items in angle brackets (the poem titles) into a separate file, which will look something like this:

Use Word’s Replace feature to find “<" and replace it with nothing, then ">” and replace it with nothing, leaving just the list of titles:

Your Day

The Birds Are Singing

Sunshine and Lollipops

A Smile for You

Now put the titles into a table:

1. Click Edit > Select All.

2. Click Table > Convert > Text to Table.

3. In the dialog box, under “Separate text at,” make sure “Paragraphs” is selected. Make sure “Number of columns” is set to 1.

4. Click the OK button.

Your titles will now be inside a single-column table. But this is supposed to be a double-column concordance. Why? You’ll see. First, make it so:

1. Put your cursor inside the table.

2. Click Table > Select > Column.

3. Click Edit > Copy.

4. Put your cursor to the right of (and outside) the table’s first row. (Just click there with your mouse and make sure nothing is selected. You should see just your regular, thin cursor to the right of the table’s top row.)

5. Click Edit > Paste Columns.

There! Two columns! And you’ll need two columns, because the second column tells Word how to index what’s in the first column. For example, you’re going to want to lose those initial articles:

The Birds Are Singing Birds Are Singing

A Smile for You Smile for You

Thus, in the finished index, the titles will look like this:

Birds Are Singing

Smile for You

Sunshine and Lollipops

Your Day

Here’s an easy way to get rid of those initial articles:

1. Select the second column by putting your cursor into it and clicking Table > Select > Column.

2. Copy the column (Edit > Copy).

3. Create a new document (CTRL + N).

4. Paste the column into it (Edit > Paste).

5. Select the column in the new document.

6. Click Table > Convert > Table to Text.

7. Click the OK button.

8. For each article you want to get rid of (“The,” “A,” “An,” and so on), search for a paragraph return followed by the article (^pThe ) and replace it with a carriage return (^p). This will miss an article on the first item in your list, so you’ll need to remove that one by hand.

9. Select your edited list.

10. Convert the list back to a table.

11. Copy the single-column table.

12. Switch back to your document with the double-column concordance.

13. Select the second column.

14. Paste the edited column over the selected column.

15. Save your concordance with a name like “Title Concordance.”

Next, you’ll need to make a concordance of authors. Just follow the instructions above, searching for Heading 2 rather than heading 1. You’ll end up with a double-column table that looks like this:

Jack M. Lyon Jack M. Lyon

Ima Happy Ima Happy

Sonny Day Sonny Day

What you really want, however, is a concordance that looks like this:

Jack M. Lyon Lyon, Jack M.

Ima Happy Happy, Ima

Sonny Day Day, Sonny

The easiest way to get one is to follow steps 1 through 7 in the instructions immediately above. That will give you a list of names, not in a table, and you can use my free NameSwapper macro to transpose the names with last name first:

To get your list of names back into the concordance, follow steps 9 through 14 above. Then save your concordance with a name like “Author Concordance.”

You can repeat all of this for the index of first lines, although you may not need to change anything in that second column. Up to you!

When you’re finished, create your index, using each concordance to automatically mark index entries:

1. Click Insert > Index and Tables > Index > AutoMark. (In Word 2002 and

later, click Insert > Reference > Index and Tables > Index > Mark


2. Navigate to your concordance file and click it to select it.

3. Click the Open button and wait while Word marks all of those index


4. Generate your index as explained here:

If you’re doing a poetry anthology, you’ll probably also need an index of topics. Unfortunately, there’s no good way to automate that. Instead, you’ll need to use your indexer’s brain. But maybe the techniques explained in this article will help when you do have items that can be indexed automatically.



Editing and Microsoft Word expert Geoff Hart wrote to suggest that I might want to make a further clarification about what a concordance is. When I say concordance, I’m not talking about a back-of-the-book index, such as an index of topics in a poetry anthology or an index of subjects in a textbook. In my opinion, such an index can be created only by a human mind. As Geoff wrote:

“An indexer examines each occurrence of a word and communicates why that occurrence is important by providing context. For example, ‘Washington, George’ (in a concordance) becomes “Washington, George–birth of, –death of, –election of” and so on in an index. Similarly, an indexer provides cross-references (e.g., President: see Washington), synonyms (Walstein: see Washington — here, a fictitious example assuming that George Walstein changed his name to George Washington to make it more likely he’d be elected ), and so on. The index is clearly more useful, but is also enormously more difficult to create.

“I’m a half-decent indexer, but stand in awe of the real pros like Lori Lathrop, who provide an almost magical means of access to a large book. A concordance can help a professional indexer in their work, but it can’t take the place of an index, and an amateur shouldn’t even attempt this task without doing some study to learn how it’s done. The Chicago Manual of Style provides a decent introduction to indexing.”

In last week’s newsletter, I mentioned two definitions for “concordance”:

1. A list of all words in a document, to be used as an aid in editing.

2. A list of words used to create an index, as explained in today’s article.

Geoff is suggesting one more definition:

3. A list of every word in a document and the *pages* on which that word appears.

This kind of concordance is most commonly seen in the back of certain editions of the Bible, making it possible for readers to look up any word used in the Bible and find the places in the text where that word is used. Again, let me emphasize that this is not the same as a back-of-the-book index. A concordance can be created by a computer; an index can be created only by a human mind.

Of course, the human mind can use a computer to *help* with the creation of an index, and I’m pleased to announce that the indexing program I’ve been working on for more than a year is nearly ready for release. I’ll be making an “official” announcement and description of the program soon in this newsletter, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I’ll just mention that the program is a Word add-in that allows you to select specific document text from *here* to *there*; press a key to create an empty row in a Word table in an accompanying document; type your index heading, subheading, cross-reference, and so on into the row; rinse and repeat until your index is finished; edit as needed; automatically embed Word index entries based on the table you’ve created; and finally generate the index and page numbers (locators), with the option to sort word by word or *letter by letter.* Index subheadings can also be sorted *by page.* You can see all of your entries at all times in the index table; no more indexing in the dark, and no more working directly with embedded commands. If you like, once the table has been created, you can import it into Cindex or other dedicated indexing programs for final processing, *without* having to type in page numbers. I’ve tried to build in plenty of power and flexibility for all. The program has many more features, and I’ll be explaining what those are in the near future. *If you have suggestions* about what you’d like to see in the program, *please* let me know, and soon!

mailto:editor [at symbol]

Many thanks to Geoff for his clarifying comments and for the opportunity to plug my forthcoming program.



I recently learned about DesignGeek, which is a newsletter sort of like Editorium Update but written for people who inhabit that alternative universe of designers! If you spend part (or all) of your time in that universe, you’ll definitely want to check out DesignGeek, which offers the same kind of useful, gritty, real-life tips and instruction you enjoy (I hope) in Editorium Update:

The Web site says:

“DesignGeek is a free e-mail newsletter written by Anne-Marie ‘HerGeekness’ Concepcion, president of Seneca Design & Training. Coming at you every couple weeks or so, each issue contains about a page’s worth of her newest finds: advanced tips, techniques, links, and late-breaking news for Mac and PC designers who use the world’s coolest software: InDesign, QuarkXPress, Photoshop, Acrobat, Illustrator, GoLive, Dreamweaver and more.

As I started to explore this site, I was blown away by how much Anne-Marie knows that I don’t. There’s stuff here I’ve never even heard of. Pixel fonts? Cool! “HerGeekness” indeed! I’m going to be reading and learning here for a long time to come. Enjoy!

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