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volinOnsite Indexing Basic Skills Workshop for Technical Writing Teams

Allegro Technical Indexing will present a training workshop tailored to your documentation and your needs.  The workshop follows the indexing principles laid out in ISO 999: Information and documentation  Guidelines for the content, organization and presentation of indexes.

What you learn

Your staff will learn how to
  • write effective index entries
  • edit an index
  • embed index markers in Adobe FrameMaker, Microsoft Word, DocBook XML or DITA
  • evaluate your own indexes
  • apply indexing principles in variety of contexts including web sites and intranets

Hands-on learning

The workshop takes a hands-on, practical approach to indexing technical documents. In the workshop, you'll work with indexes in both paper and electronic formats. You'll learn basic indexing principles and practical tips.

Your workshop consists of seven modules:

1. Usability

We begin by doing usability tests on a number of popular "how to" books. Participants learn that there are many not-so-helpful indexes out there. We establish the key characteristics of successful indexes.

2. Editing

We edit a sample index during which we learn the basic principles of indexing and how these principles are applied. At the end of this exercise, many participants have remarked: "Wow! I never understood how to edit an index. Now I do."

3. Writing the index

We try our hand at writing an index using file cards. Participants are able to sort their cards as they write — and the index appears before their eyes.

4. Embedding index markers

Using a sample technical document, possibly one that you choose, we learn how to code index markers. Tricky issues such as "See" and "See also" cross-references and how to enter page ranges are examined. Finally, we learn how to edit the index markers to produce the final index.

5. Hierarchical and related term relationships

Participants will learn to identify hierarchical and related term relationships, and examine how to represent these relationships in an index.

6. Quality criteria for indexes

Participants consolidate their learning by examining five quality criteria in a variety of contexts, both print and online.

7. Evaluate the team's own published indexes

Participants list the strengths and weaknesses of their own work to date. The team develops a common agenda for improving their indexing.
Professionals working in related areas such as user interface engineering, web or intranet design, and translation, may wish to join the documentation team for modules 1, 5 or 6.

What you get

Your technical writers will achieve professional indexing competence. Your technical writing team will receive
  • A two-day workshop for up to 16 people at your site
  • A 15-page quick reference manual on indexing technical documentation
  • Evaluation of three major indexes following the course
  • Telephone and E-mail support for your indexing questions — for one year

Read the article: Indexing Workshops for Technical Writers [PDF 63 KB], published in The Indexer, April 2003, the Society of Indexers.

Your trainer

Fred Brown brings over ten years technical writing and indexing experience. He has given workshops on technical indexing to the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and to SIGDOC.

Fred has worked with Nortel Networks, DY 4 Systems, TimeStep Corporation and other high-technology firms in the Ottawa area.

For more details of Fred's experience, click here.

To view samples of Fred's indexing work, click here.


Your technical writers will be able to create professional indexes for your documentation. Allegro will provide ongoing free telephone and email support for one year.


The fee in the U.S.A. and Canada is 5,000 USD plus travel expenses. For other locations and non-native English language speakers, please contact Allegro Technical Indexing.

Learn more ...

To discuss your needs and obtain a quote, contact Fred Brown, at

Allegro Technical Indexing
Telephone: (613) 728-9373
E-mail:  fred.brown@allegrotechindexing.com

volinTele-Indexing Course for Individual Technical Writers and Small Groups

This course is ideal for individual technical writers or small groups seeking cost-effective training on a timely basis.

Delivered by email and phone, this hands-on course covers much of the same material as the onsite basic indexing skills workshop for technical writing teams. You will learn how to create effective indexes for technical documents. The course covers:

  • usability
  • creating index entries
  • editing
  • embedding index entries in Adobe FrameMaker, Microsoft Word, DocBook XML or DITA
The package also includes creating a major index a complete document. Email support continues for one year.

Fee: 800 USD for one participant and 400 USD for each additional participant. For further information contact Fred Brown, at

Allegro Technical Indexing
Telephone: (613) 728-9373
E-mail:  fred.brown@allegrotechindexing.com

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