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Not everyone who creates publications has to also create the indices and tables of content, but when you do, it can be the most time-consuming part of the job — especially when done manually.
There are many ways to create a professional-looking index, table of contents, or site index for a web site, and there are a number of automation techniques, but none compare to the processing and text control of Virginia Systems' line of tools (see sidebar, page 2). The Sonar product line supports InDesign, QuarkXPress, PageMaker, Word, PDF, and HTML. No matter your application, or your platform, you'll find there's no reason to ever manually create an index again.
Sonar Bookends Professional ($395, Mac or Windows) has evolved to the professional-level tool having started as XTensions for QuarkXPress known as Sonar Bookends ($195, Mac or Windows) and SonarTOC ($99.95, Mac or Windows). SonarTOC extends Sonar Bookends and Sonar Bookends Professional's indexing capabilities using style sheets to mark items — making it perfect for generating a tables of content. In this article, we'll have a look into the index-processing facilities of Sonar Bookends Professional for use with QuarkXPress, PageMaker, FrameMaker, Acrobat (PDF), and web sites, and wrap it up with a look at the fully integrated InDesign Plug-in, Sonar Bookends InDex ($195, Mac or Windows) and Sonar Bookends InDex Pro ($395, Mac or Windows).
What's the difference?
In this article we'll expose the features of Sonar Bookends Professional. Sonar Bookends is a subset of the professional version, so what would compel you to buy the professional version over the regular? Well, web features for one, but here's some others.
- Subject list creation
- Enhanced preview mode
- Singular/plural optimization
- Redundant page-number optimization
- Support for titles and two-word last names in name-reversal feature
- Ability to ignore leading articles when sorting (e.g., sort The United States under U instead of T)
- Optional web-site indexing feature
- Optional support contract availability
- Smart page breaking for multi-level entries
- Advanced abbreviation features for page ranges (e.g. 23-26 can be displayed as 23-6)
- Not found list at the beginning of the index
- Preview of hits for indexing
- Singular and plural entries can be combined
- Redundant page numbers for overlapping subjects can be removed
- Removal of hyphens from words to be indexed
Creating a site index for a web site is a different process than creating an index for a published document. To create a site index, you must have the site files on your drive. If that's your topic of interest, click here to jump to the site index section.
Using Sonar Bookends Professional, it is not necessary to mark words manually or search for every entry that you wish to include in your index (risking the possibility of inadvertent omissions) — though you can, if you wish — instead you automatically create an index based on word frequency, proper nouns, a list of words and phrases that you supply, a subject list, or any combination of the four. You may also include chapter and/or section numbers in addition to the page number of the occurrence.
You are not limited to published documents, an entire web site can be indexed with Sonar Bookends Professional to generate a site index as an HTML file, ready for posting to the newly indexed web site.
Generation of word and phrase lists
Sonar Bookends Professional (and Sonar Bookends, Sonar Bookends InDex, and Sonar Bookends InDex Pro) works from a word/phrase list. As mentioned, word/phrase lists can be created in a number of manners. What type of list you use will very likely depend upon the content for which you are creating an index.
Manually creating a list
You can create a list from scratch by simply typing each word that you wish to index in a new word/phrase list window. Choose file > new word/phrase list and begin typing in the resulting dialogue box. Don't worry about the order of the words; Sonar Bookends Professional provides tools for sorting (click here to jump to the sorting section). Do be careful about spelling. If you do not spell a word in the same way as it was used in the document, it will not be correctly indexed.