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How to index a user guide chapter

For the user guides, we use the tools built into Writer to embed index entries into the chapter ODT files. The basics are described in Chapter 12 of the Writer Guide, available in ODT or PDF from here. Most user guide chapters have index entries in them. When a chapter is revised, the existing index entries may become out of date or simply wrong (for example, if a section was copied from another guide, it may contain index entries for a different component of OOo), and new sections may not have any index entries yet. To index a chapter, follow these steps:
  1. Pick a chapter that is on the Review List (so you know that no one else is editing it), retract it, then download it and rename it.
  2. Open the renamed chapter in Writer, go to the end of the file, and build an index to see what entries are already in that chapter. Then look at what's missing or needs to be changed or deleted and insert or amend entries as needed in the chapter itself. (Never edit an index directly.)
  3. Insert or amend index entries as needed. Note: We do NOT use initial capital letters on all index entries, as some publishers do.
  4. Recompile the index at the end of the chapter to see if you have been consistent and complete. You may need to go through several iterations before you are done.
  5. When you are done, delete the compiled index from the end of the chapter. Then upload the file to the Feedback folder for the relevant book.

Writer's tools are fairly easy (though tedious) to use. The difficult part, of course, is deciding what terms to include. Here is a checklist of things to consider when creating, reviewing, or editing an index.

Related information:

  • After the book is compiled (using a master document), the resulting index needs to be edited for consistency and completeness and the entries changed as needed in the chapter files before recompiling the book index. Some (usually sub-)entries that make sense in the context of a book don't make as much sense in a stand-alone chapter. This work is usually the responsibility of the book's editor, who will publish the book when it has been fully compiled, indexed, and checked. See Creating a User Guide using a Master Document for more information.

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