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11.2 Defining the Entries of an Index

The data to make an index come from many individual indexing commands scattered throughout the Texinfo source file. Each command says to add one entry to a particular index; after formatting, the index will give the current page number or node name as the reference.

An index entry consists of an indexing command at the beginning of a line followed, on the rest of the line, by the entry.

For example, this section begins with the following five entries for the concept index:

@cindex Defining indexing entries
@cindex Index entries, defining
@cindex Entries for an index
@cindex Specifying index entries
@cindex Creating index entries

Each predefined index has its own indexing command—@cindex for the concept index, @findex for the function index, and so on, as listed in the previous section.

Index entries should precede the visible material that is being indexed. For instance:

@cindex hello
Hello, there!

Among other reasons, that way following indexing links (in whatever context) ends up before the material, where readers want to be, instead of after.

By default, entries for a concept index are printed in a small roman font and entries for the other indices are printed in a small @code font. You may change the way part of an entry is printed with the usual Texinfo commands, such as @file for file names (see Marking Text), and @r for the normal roman font (see Fonts).

For the printed output, you may specify an explicit sort key for an index entry using @sortas immediately following the index command. For example: ‘@findex @sortas{\} \ @r{(literal \ in @code{@@math})’ sorts the index entry this produces under backslash.

To reduce the quantity of sort keys you need to provide explicitly, you may choose to ignore certain characters in index entries for the purposes of sorting. The characters that you can currently choose to ignore are ‘\’, ‘-’, ‘<’ and ‘@’, which are ignored by giving as an argument to the @set command, respectively, txiindexbackslashignore, txiindexhyphenignore, txiindexlessthanignore and txiindexatsignignore. For example, specifying ‘@set txiindexbackslashignore’ causes the ‘\mathopsup’ entry in the index for this manual to be sorted as if it were ‘mathopsup’, so that it appears among the other entries beginning ‘M’.

Caution: Do not use a colon in an index entry. In Info, a colon separates the menu entry name from the node name, so a colon in the entry itself confuses Info. See Menu Parts, for more information about the structure of a menu entry.

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