I'm trying to make an index with page references. I want the word "cat" to be in the index and point to all the pages where the word "cat" is. So far so good. But I also want the same word "cat" to point to pages with the word "cats". I know you can make a cross reference, but as far is I know, I would get in my index:

  • Cat 2, 3, 7
  • Cats see Cat

I want the index to show:

  • Cat 2, 3, 4, 7

where page 7 only contains te word "cats", not "cat".

How do I do this?

  • 1
    Interesting question, I know there are loads of scripts out there that try to address shortfalls in InDesign's indexing, but am not sure if any do synonyms. If your case is just simple plurals, you could maybe cheat and put find-change in a zero-width whitespace character (discretionary break, maybe?) between cat and s so to the machine it's cat s but to a reader it looks like cats - but you'd also need to make sure it was non-breaking (character style maybe?) so you don't end up with cat at the end of one line and s at the start of the next. Jul 4 '14 at 11:12
  • 1
    At least English is easy in this case not like say Finnish where every word has thousands of variations. So for Finnish this is rather useless.
    – joojaa
    Jul 4 '14 at 14:31
  • It should work for synonyms too. Jul 4 '14 at 15:38

Marc Autret's IndexMatic is still the king of the hill for InDesign indexing:

To index singular and plural forms—or other variants—under the same heading, the best way is to extend the original words to regular expressions. Here is the most common example, including the letter 's' at the end of the word:

/cats?/ => cat

which can be also expressed:

/(cat)s?/ => $1

So, when you have several items based on the same plural transformation, you can easily factorize the keys as follows:

/(cat|dog|snake)s?/ => $1

Of course, you have to deal with a number of special cases:

/stor(y|ies)/ => story

/wom(a|e)n/ => woman

/person|people/ => person


(Extracted from the IndexMatic 2 FAQ.) There's a free trial that you can download.

Peter Kahrel's superb "independent index" script builds an index from a text list of words, entirely bypassing InDesign's index feature.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.