How To Create a Usable Index — Interview with John McGhie
John McGhie, technical writer and Microsoft MVP from Sydney, Australia, explains how to create a usable index for your help material.
In this interview, John covers the following topics:
- Deciding whether to create an index
- Skills required to create an index
- Steps in creating an index
- Audience considerations in creating an index
- Time required for creating an index
- Pitfalls writers face when creating an index
- Myths of the concordance file method for creating indexes
- Strategies for entries and subentries
- Methods for updating an index
- Determining whether your index is usable
For additional information, see the following:
- John McGhie's bio
- John's helpful article on indexing that I mention in the podcast
- The Word MVP home page
** To contact John, you can e-mail him at [email protected].
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.