HTML Indexer

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HTML Indexer™ Frequently Asked Questions

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What is HTML Indexer™?

HTML Indexer is simply the easiest way to index HTML files.

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What does it do?

HTML Indexer creates a back-of-the-book index from any collection of HTML files. It also includes output options for HTML Help and JavaHelp index files.

HTML Indexer is the only way you can index your HTML files once and create all three index types with a single click.

Other so-called indexing tools create a concordance—a list of all the words in your HTML files, with links to all the places where they appear. Like full-text search, concordances have their uses; but neither takes the place of a comprehensive, organized index.

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Who should use HTML Indexer?

HTML Indexer is perfect for anyone who needs to create and maintain accurate indexes for HTML files and the named anchors within those files:

  • The small-business owner who maintains her own web site
  • The secretary who learns he's responsible for his boss's department intranet
  • The corporate webmaster who wants to make sure her web site is accurately indexed
  • The technical writer creating a mini-web of HTML documentation
  • The in-house or freelance professional indexer who expects to update his work when the files change
  • The help author creating HTML Help or JavaHelp who wants a dedicated indexing tool that lets her focus on making the best index possible

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What's different about HTML Indexer?

Unlike general-purpose indexing software, HTML Indexer embeds the index entries right in your HTML files. So you can refresh the index as often as needed, without starting over from scratch—a must if you're indexing more than a handful of HTML files.

You'll appreciate this reusability even more if you add, move, update, or delete HTML files fairly frequently. In a dynamic set of HTML files, you could spend hours trying to keep the URLs in your index up to date and still miss a few. With HTML Indexer, though, you'll be sure that every link works, every time you make the index, because HTML Indexer bases the links on the current location of your files and the actual anchors within them.

That's right—you can even create index entries for the named anchors within your HTML files. You can't do that with "keywords" META tags!

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What's not so different about HTML Indexer?

HTML Indexer uses simple, familiar concepts to help you build your index:

  • Your index project is displayed as a hierarchy of folders, files, and named anchors.
  • The project has a main directory, and you can add files from anywhere within or below that directory.
  • Using the Shift and Control keys, you can select multiple files and anchors anywhere in the project, and then create index entries for all of them at once.

Of course, HTML Indexer shows you the index entries as you create them. You can also sort the entries alphabetically (as they'll appear in the finished index), by target, or by type: file-level or anchor-level, enhanced or default text, and so on.

This "preview" is a great troubleshooting tool:

  • See an entry you didn't expect?
    HTML Indexer shows you exactly where it came from and how it got into the index, so you can change it or simply exclude the target from the index.
  • Want to see a subset of the index, or check the entries for a single anchor or file?
    Just select the targets you want to see, and sort the related entries any way you like.

As soon as you make the index, HTML Indexer opens it in your favorite browser. Or you can set it up to open the finished index in your HTML editor, instead.

You also have easy access to your browser and editor from within HTML Indexer, so you can view your source files or add anchors to be targets of more index entries.

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How hard is it to make an index without HTML Indexer?

Not too bad, if you've got the time and patience:

  1. Create a new HTML file.
  2. Type in all the index entries.
  3. Carefully type in the correct URL for each entry by hand.
  4. Format the entries.
  5. Add the headings for symbols, numbers, and letters of the alphabet.
  6. Add navigation links to help users "move around" in the finished index.
  7. Test every navigation link and every index entry to make sure they work the way you want.
  8. Find and correct any typographical errors that make your index entries unusable.

And when anything changes—if you add files, remove files, or reorganize the directory structure—do it all over again.

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How easy is it to make an index with HTML Indexer?

Just follow these steps:

  1. Start a new project, and set the main directory.
  2. Add files to the project.
  3. Add one or more index entries to multiple files and named anchors in a single operation.
  4. Set a few stylistic options, if you like (or accept the default settings).
  5. Click on a single button to make the index.

When things change, it's even easier:

  1. Open the project.
  2. Add or remove files as needed.
  3. Add index entries to the new files, or modify existing entries.
  4. Make the index again.

And when you decide to create an HTML Help or JavaHelp index:

  1. Open the project.
  2. Select the output types you want.
  3. Make the index again.

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What about HTML Help and JavaHelp indexes?

HTML Indexer is the only way you can index your HTML files once and create a classic back-of-the-book index, an HTML Help index, and a JavaHelp index with a single click. HTML Indexer automatically formats "nested" entries appropriately for all three index types.

For HTML Help and JavaHelp, just incorporate the index file into your help project as usual. For JavaHelp, HTML Indexer even creates the mapID file, which you name in your helpset file using your favorite JavaHelp authoring tool.

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Am I restricted to one-word index entries?

Not at all! There's no limit to the length of your index entries or how many words they contain. You can even create multilevel (or "nested") entries, and there's no limit on the number of levels.

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Do I have to add index entries to my files?

Technically, no. HTML Indexer will create an index with one entry for each file and one for each named anchor in your project. Depending on your own HTML coding habits, it may be a fairly presentable index. (You can be sure the links will work, no matter what else you think of them.)

Look at it another way, though. HTML Indexer frees you from maintaining URLs, so you can concentrate on creating useful index entries. And don't worry if you're not the "indexing type"—there are professional indexers who can create an excellent index for you.

With HTML Indexer, your index will be easier (less expensive!) to maintain, whether you do the work yourself or engage a professional to update it for you.

See the American Society of Indexers, Australian Society of Indexers, and the Society of Indexers (British and Irish) for information about available indexers.

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How does it work?

HTML Indexer creates index entries for your HTML source files and the anchors within them. You can accept the default entries, assign as many index entries as you like to the targets, or exclude individual targets from the index.

Because HTML Indexer uses the standard method of encoding file-level index entries, your files will also be more accessible to keyword-based search engines. Your embedded index entries enhance access by many full-text search engines, as well.

For more information, see HTML Indexer in Detail.

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What if I want index entries for the named anchors in a file, but not for the file itself?

HTML Indexer treats files and the named anchors within them as separately valid targets. That means you can include exactly the targets you want—a file but not its anchors, some of the anchors but not others, whatever combination is appropriate—without compromising to accommodate the software.

Just select the individual files and anchors you want to exclude from the index and click on a single button.

To exclude a file and all of its named anchors, it may be more appropriate simply to remove it from the index project. HTML Indexer ignores it until you add it to the project again.

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Can my files be in more than one index project?

Sure. The project defines what files are included in the associated index, where to store the index, and what styles to use. You could even have two projects that were identical except for style settings.

Information about each project is stored in a separate file—only the index entries are stored in the HTML source files. Of course, that means the file will have the same index entries in every project that includes it.

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Do I have to create the index on the same machine as the files I'm indexing?

The URLs in your finished index use relative paths—there's no reference to the specific server or drive containing your index and source files. As long as the relationship among the files (the file hierarchy) remains the same, the links in your index will still work when you upload the files to your web server or move them to another drive.

You probably keep a copy of all the source files on a local machine, anyway, and that may be the best place to make the index. When it's ready, just copy the index and any updated source files to the server, or move them to the other drive. In most HTML editors and site management programs, that process is called uploading your site.

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How do I add my logo, set the background color, and change fonts?

HTML Indexer gives you control over many matters of index style: whether to create nested or run-in entries, how to handle letter groups that have no entries, whether to use text or graphics for navigation aids, whether to divide the HTML index into multiple columns, how to handle long lines, and more. You can also:

  • Automatically insert HTML code at the top and bottom of the output index.
  • Automatically add "return to top" links (text or graphic) between letter groups.
  • Include a style sheet reference.
  • Specify attributes for the BODY tag.
  • Use classes to control indentation, fonts, and other formatting. New!

See the release notes and online help for details.

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Can I include other people's web pages in my index?

Yes—just specify the URLs, then create index entries for them as you would for any local target. You can use your favorite site management tool to check the validity of external URLs in the finished index.

Of course, HTML Indexer can't embed index entries in the remote source files. Instead, they're stored in the project file.

(See Tips and Techniques for other uses of the "external URL" feature.)

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What platforms does HTML Indexer run on?

HTML Indexer is a 32-bit Windows application.

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How do I get HTML Indexer, and how much does it cost?

First, see HTML Indexer Demo to download the demonstration version.

When you're ready to register HTML Indexer, select the Registration Type, type in your E-mail address so we can send the registration number, and click the Pay Now button, below. PayPal will process your transaction by MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, bank card, or PayPal account; you'll be charged the appropriate amount; and we'll send you a registration number so you can get started right away.

  • New registrations cost just $239.95 US.
  • Updates (4.1.8 to 4.1.9, for example) are free. Upgrades from an earlier version (2.x or 3.x) are just $99.95 US.
  • If you’re participating in an indexing course or seminar, we’ll take 15% off the cost of registration (with confirmation of paid enrollment). That’s a savings of $36.00!
Registration Type
E-mail (to receive registration)

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Do you take credit cards?

Yes, through PayPal. See the instructions, above.


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