Frequently Asked Question List for TeX

# Generating an index in (La)TeX

Making an index is not trivial; what to index, and how to index it, is difficult to decide, and uniform implementation is difficult to achieve. You will need to mark all items to be indexed in your text (typically with `\index` commands).

It is not practical to sort a large index within TeX, so a post-processing program is used to sort the output of one TeX run, to be included into the document at the next run.

The following programs are available:

• makeindex Comes with most distributions — a good workhorse, but is not well-arranged to deal with other sort orders than the canonical ASCII ordering.

The `makeindex` documentation is a good source of information on how to create your own index. `Makeindex` can be used with some TeX macro packages other than LaTeX, such as Eplain, and TeX (whose macros can be used independently with Plain TeX).

• idxtex for LaTeX under VMS; `idxtex` comes with a glossary-maker `glotex`.
• texindex(1) A witty little shell-script using `sed` and `awk`; designed for LaTeX under Unix.
• texindex(2) The Texinfo system also offers a program `texindex`, whose source is to be found in the `texinfo` distribution. The `ltxindex` package provides macros that enable LaTeX users to use this `texindex`.
• xindy arose from frustration at the difficulty of making a multi-language version of `makeindex`. It is designed to be a successor to `makeindex`, by a team that included the then-current maintainer of `makeindex`. It successfully addresses many of `makeindex`s shortcomings, including difficulties with collation order in different languages, and it is highly flexible.

`Xindy` itself will work with Unicode (UTF-8) encoded LaTeX input. A separate application (`texindy`) deals with “standard” LaTeX source, processes it and passes “sanitised” text to `Xindy`.

FAQ ID: Q-makeindex