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Constructing the Index

In Windows Help, the Index tab displays an alphabetized list of keywords, each of which is associated with one or more Help topics. The author makes these associations by assigning to each topic one or more K-footnotes containing the appropriate keywords. Apart from writing the actual text, this process is widely regarded as the most tedious and painstaking aspect of Help authoring, particularly when done well.

Doc-To-Help does more than just wrap a fancy interface around a tedious process. It automates the process by adding indexing behavior to styles, and gives you even more control by exposing an intuitive object model for scripting. For example, you can write small modules to analyze the titles of reference topics and generate several index entries for each automatically. As new topics are added, they are indexed by your script code automatically at compile time!

You can also add index keywords and associate them with topics manually using a Windows Explorer-like interface, as shown in the following figure.

In addition to index keywords that are visible to the reader, Doc-To-Help supports associative indexing via named topic groups that are hidden from the reader. If you are an experienced Windows Help author, you will recognize these as ALinks. For example, you can use groups to categorize topics according to the reader's experience level, then implement hot spots for novice, intermediate, and advanced topics.

The interface for creating and assigning groups is virtually identical to the one used to build the visible keyword index.

For more information, see Building an Index.