Frequently Asked Questions

What computer does Cindex need?

Cindex is available for Windows and Mac. Cindex for Windows works on any computer running 64-bit Windows 7, 8 or 10. Cindex for Mac works on any Mac computer running macOS 10.9 or higher.

How is Cindex supplied?

The complete Cindex package is provided as a download.

Is Cindex hard to learn?

Cindex for Mac and Cindex for Windows provide the standard look-and-feel familiar to Mac or Windows users. You work with Cindex as you would work with any other Windows or Mac program. If you know how to work with other Windows or Mac programs you will quickly feel at home with Cindex. In designing Cindex we have paid particular attention to the requirements of indexers, especially their need for efficient use of the keyboard. You can accomplish almost every task without your fingers having to leave the keyboard.

Does Cindex come with documentation?

Cindex comes with an outstanding User's Guide, written so as to take you through the indexing process rather than to provide a blow-by-blow account of commands. As you would expect, the Guide contains a comprehensive index. Cindex also provides instantly-accessible context-sensitive help that explains each command and setting you will use as you work on an index.

What kind of customer support do you provide?

Our customer support is legendary, and free to registered Cindex users. We have even been known to help users of pirated copies, but we hope you won't become an unlicensed user.

Can I use Cindex on a network?

Yes, but there will be no protection against concurrent modification of files by different users. For indexers in a multi-user environment we offer a special Publishers' Edition of Cindex for Windows. This provides several extra features for the indexer and a range of administrative services for managing Cindex in a networked environment.

I've been using another indexing program. Can Cindex work with material I have prepared previously?

Cindex can import index entries in several formats, so it probably can deal with entries you have prepared in another program. Cindex can work directly with entries in these formats:

• Text export format used by Sky Index 6 (.txt) and Sky Index 7 (.sky7).
• Backup (.mbk) format used by Macrex.
• Plain text records with quote-delimited, comma separated fields (a standard database format).
• Plain text records with tab separated fields (a standard database format).

We also offer file-conversion services for unusual formats. If you have a conversion question, please contact us.

Can I try Cindex before I buy it?

Demonstration copies of Cindex for Windows and Cindex for Mac are available free of charge for you to download. You can also download the superb User's Guide in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Will I be able to create a proper index with the Demo (Mac /Windows) version?

The demo is not a  “walk-through,” but rather a fully-functional version of the program. It is, however, restricted to 100 records in each index file you create. With students in mind we also have a Student Edition ($79) that has an increased capacity of 500 records/index file. The full version is essentially unlimited in its capacity.

When you install the Demo it opens and is ready for work. Create an index document at FileMenu/New and add your first record with Edit Menu/New Record (Mac: Command K, Windows: Control K).

We recommend that you read the first 4 chapters (approx. 75 pages, full of illustrations) of the User’s Guide, the PDF of which is included with the installer package, or which can be downloaded separately.

You may also wish to go onto YouTube and look at our “Getting Started” videos. Simply enter "Cindex" and "tutorial" into the search box. These are demonstrated on the PC version, but the record interface is the same between platforms. However, Mac users should substitute "Command" each time you hear or see "Control."

Do you offer competitive upgrades?

For licensed users of other Windows-based indexing programs we offer a discount that can be applied to the purchase of Cindex for Windows. Proof of purchase is required.

Do you offer discounts to ASI members?

No, we do not.

How often is Cindex upgraded?

Our development work is constant. Major new releases of Cindex appear at intervals of 2-3 years. Cindex 4.0 for Windows and Cindex 4.0 for Mac were released in April 2019.

What is your upgrade policy?

Liberal. Users who purchased a full Cindex license within the 6 months preceding an upgrade release receive the upgrade free of charge. By keeping upgrade prices low for other users we encourage regular upgrades to new versions.

Do you offer training?

Yes, we do. We offer individual or small-group tutorials at our Rochester, NY offices, and at selected other locations, including the annual meeting of the American Society of Indexers. For more information on scheduled workshops, see Training page. On-site training at your place of work is also available by special arrangement. Please call or email us for details.

Does Cindex need a word-processor?

Cindex does not use a word-processor to produce finished indexes, nor does it work with text produced by a word-processor. Cindex is an indexing tool for professional indexers who compose and key entries directly into the program. Cindex performs all the routine indexing tasks--sorting, checking, formatting, punctuating and printing index entries--and provides powerful features to help you edit entries and check cross-references. Cindex can, of course, save indexes as formatted documents that your word-processor can read.

How do I supply indexes to publishers?

Cindex can produce finished indexes as fully-formatted documents that can be read by most word-processing and page-layout programs. Cindex can also provide documents marked-up for typesetting. You can provide custom mark-up if you wish. You simply select the kind of document you want when you have finished the index. Cindex automatically formats and encodes it properly.


How can I produce a record order sort?

Under the View menu, choose the item Sorted. This switches between sorted and unsorted views. Without the check mark in front of the menu item you'll see your index in record number order.

All of my entries that begin with quotation marks are sorting before the letter A. How do I make them appear in correct alphabetical order?

Choose Sort (from the Tools menu) and make sure that you've chosen either Word-by-Word or Letter-by-Letter alphabetizing, rather than 'Simple' alphabetizing. Simple alphabetizing attends to the quotes, while word-by-word and letter-by-letter alphabetizing ignore them (and other punctuation and symbols).

I am using letter-by-letter sorting, but my index isn't alphabetized. My entries remain in the order in which I entered them, and each entry is displayed with a new group header letter.

You probably have have your view set to show entries in unsorted order. Check under the View menu that the item Sorted has a check mark next to it. If it doesn't, choose Sorted. (You can also check this at a glance, because Cindex displays "Sorted" or "Unsorted" on the bar at the bottom of the screen.)

I have asked Cindex to ignore "the" when sorting the index, but it doesn't.

There are two possible reasons why "the" is not being ignored:

You are using Simple alphabetizing. Cindex does not ignore articles or prepositions when you use "simple" alphabetizing. You must use word-by-word or letter-by-letter alphabetizing (choose Sort from the Tools menu).

Even if you are using word-by-word or letter-by-letter alphabetizing, Cindex will ignore "the" only if it is the first word in a sub-heading, or sub-sub-heading. Cindex does not ignore leading articles and prepositions in main headings. If you want Cindex to ignore "The" as a leading word in a main heading, place the word to be ignored inside angle-brackets, as in <The >Wind in the Willows.

Why aren't Greek letters sorting properly?

When an index is sorted by English collation rules, letters from other alphabets (e.g., Greek) are filed after Latin letters. To make Cindex sort a Greek letter as something else, for example to sort omega (Ω) as 'o' you would place the letter 'o' beside it in braces, thus: {o} and hide Ω from sorting by placing it inside angle brackets: <Ω>.

Page References

When I view entries in Fully Formatted View my page numbers are out of order. They are OK in Draft view. What is happening?

In a draft or unformatted view of the index, Cindex displays references exactly as you entered them in records. In a formatted view, Cindex normally sorts a series of references so that they appear in ascending order (you control this behavior by choosing Page References from the Document menu). If Cindex does not order references in the way you want, one of two things is probably happening.

You might have references whose components are separated by different forms of punctuation. Cindex normally assumes that a comma separates one reference from the next. If you are using a comma to separate parts of a single reference, and some other character such as a semicolon to separate complete references, you must tell Cindex what character you are using. To do this choose Reference Syntax from the Document menu.

If you have compound references containing letters and numbers, or even Roman numerals and month names, you will need to tell Cindex how it should prioritize the different components. To do this choose Sort from the Tools menu, then under Character Priority on the Text tab, drag the items Letters, Numbers and Symbols to the positions that reflect the precedence you want (the one at the top of the list has highest precedence).

I have to work with folioed, but unpaginated, pages for my next index. I know I can input the temporary pagination with an attached chapter number, using the construct 35%1 (meaning the first page of chapter 35), but how do I handle page spreads and do I need to put the chapter number before every single page number?

Input page spreads with the chapter number and % before the first part only, e.g., 35%3-6. However, each individual reference MUST have the chapter number and % in front of it (e.g., 35%4, 35%7, 35%10). To avoid constant re-keying of the 35%, you can place this sequence on a hot key, so that you need use only one keystroke.

I've just used Alter References (Tools menu) to convert my temporary pagination to final form, and have discovered that entries for chapter 19 were altered twice. HELP!

You probably entered 9% to denote chapter 9 and 19% to denote chapter 19. When you set up to make adjustments for chapter 9 and specified a Matching Pattern of 9%, Cindex would have altered references to pages in chapters 9, 19, 29, 39 etc. because it was looking to match any sequence of characters that contained 9%. You can correct the error by subtracting the offset you unintentionally added to references for chapter 19. Set the Matching Pattern to 19% and set Adjustment to the negative of the number you originally added. To avoid this kind of problem when dealing with temporary pagination of chapter numbers with single and multiple digits, you should always use leading zeros to ensure a uniform number of digits preceding the % (e.g., 009%, 019%, 109%).


How can I display all main entries in boldface?

Go to the Document menu and choose Headings. Click the Style button to bring up a box where you can choose Boldface (among other style attributes).

How do I insert an introductory note into my index?

You create an index entry that contains the text of the note, then you make Cindex place this at the head of the index. First be sure that your sort is set to letter-by-letter or word-by-word alphabetizing. Create an index entry (or entries) that contains the text of your introductory note. Each entry will contain information that forces its placement at the beginning of your index. If you want empty lines to follow the note, you will need to create entries with hidden text that you force into position after the note. For example, if you wanted the introduction to your index to look like this:

Index entries reference volume, then page.
For full information, please see individual entries in the index at the end of each volume.

Abacus, 12:8
Abracadabra, 6:7
. . . .

You would make a series of separate entries that in draft view looked like this (record numbers are merely for illustration; do not type them in records):

1 { a}<Index entries reference volume, then page.>
2 { b}<For full information, please see individual entries in the index at the end of each volume.>
3 { c}< >
4 Abacus_12:8
5 Abracadabra_6:7

The contents of the braces in records #1 and #2 in the example--a leading space followed by a letter: { a} -- force the sort of your introductory material, but will not appear on screen or in a print. The angle brackets (< >) enclosing your text will allow it to appear normally, but will ensure that it does not affect the sort. Since Cindex does not print or display completely blank lines or entries, to make it display an apparently blank entry you must use the angle brackets enclosing a space (as in record #3 in the example).

My client has specified a set number of characters per line. She wants me to format my index so that lines are 35-characters wide at 10 characters per inch. How should I proceed?

First, keep in mind that you're concerned with line length so that you can give your client a controlled line count, which he/she will use for estimating a page count for the index. Many clients do not realize that Cindex can provide direct estimates of page count, if you specify the type size, font size, and page layout. You may wish to remind your client that if you have this information, you can provide a direct estimate of page count.

If you must provide a fixed number of characters per line, do the following. First, choose Courier for your font (sometimes called "Courier New" on computers running Windows), and choose a size of 12 points. Unlike proportionally-spaced fonts, which use varying amounts of space for different characters, Courier is a monospaced font that uses exactly the same amount of space for each character. For example, lowercase i and m each occupy the same space. As you may remember from typing class, if you'd set your typewriter to 10 characters per inch, you then would "work backwards" and plan your margins based on your paper width. Similarly, if you use Courier 12 (which simulates 10 pitch on the typewriter—10 characters per inch) you can do a little math and figure where you'd like your margins to fall using inches as your unit of measure. You'll use this formula:

(character count for column width x .10") + total margins = paper width
total margins = paper width - (character count for column width x .10")

Based on a 35-character line, and an 8.5" x 11" page size, it works out like this:

35 x .10" + total margins = 8.5"
total margins = 8.5" - (35 x .10")
which reduces to:
total margins = 8.5" - 3.5" = 5.0"

You can split the total amount for the margins however you'd like: 4" and 1", or 2" and 3" or 0" and 5" and so on. Cindex might adjust one or both of the settings slightly, depending on your printer's needs. Don't worry about this--the correction will not affect the number of characters displayed on a line.

Keep in mind that your client is probably asking for this because she's using an old method for estimating pages, dating from a time when indexes were submitted as typewritten copy. This is not unusual, many publishers struggle with this daily. Since the advent of proportionally spaced fonts, with all their possible size and style variations, and the flexibility in specifying indentations (Just how big is a tab or an en dash or an em space anyway?) and page sizes, publishers have found it hard to develop satisfactory methods for estimating the size of the printed index.

I seem to get variable spacing between the last character of text and first page number. What am I doing wrong?

Check your settings by choosing Page References from the Document menu. There are two separate settings for Punctuation: Before Single and Before Multiple. Be sure that you've got identical settings in both of these boxes. The "Before Single" setting will be applied when your text is followed only by one reference, the "Before multiple" setting will apply when you've more than one reference for a particular index entry.

Sometimes, text that looks variably spaced on the screen is in fact spaced correctly for printing. Letters formed on the screen can look incorrectly spaced because the resolution of the screen is lower than the resolution of your printer. If you are in doubt, print a test page.


My editor has asked me for a Microsoft Word file. What file type do I save?

RTF (Rich Text Format).

My editor has asked me for a file for WordPerfect for Windows. What file type do I save?

RTF (Rich Text Format).

My editor has asked for sequences of tabs to be inserted to identify sub-headings in a RTF encoded file. Is she confusing tabs with the styles definitions that RTF provides?

Maybe, maybe not. The leading indentation that Cindex provides for subheadings in a Rich Text Format file can be defined either as an attribute of the subheading, or as a sequence of characters (usually tabs). Which method Cindex uses by default is determined by settings you make by choosing Preferences (Formatted Export) from the Edit menu (Windows) or the Cindex menu (Mac). When you use Save As... (Windows) or Save To… (Mac) from the File menu to save an RTF file you can override the default setting.

My editor has told me that each index line in the file must not exceed 43 characters. How do I provide a file with this number of characters per line?

You don't. When you save a formatted index in a file Cindex does not save line breaks, because you do not know the font or type size in which the index is to be set. If you want to view or print the index with the 43 character width limit, see the answer above.

My editor has asked for a plain ASCII file? What is this and how do I make it?

An ASCII file contains only the formatted text of entries; it does not contain information about type styles (e.g., boldface or italics) or fonts. To make such a file choose Save As... from the File menu, then in the dialog box that Cindex displays choose Plain Text from the Format pop-up menu (Mac) or Save as Type list (Windows). Note, however, that all information about type styles and fonts will be omitted from the file (it is retained in the original index). For this reason it is generally not a good idea to save indexes as plain text files.

How can I ensure that the file I've made is correctly encoded?

All Cindex documents that contain formatted indexes are text documents, and can be opened and viewed by any word processor or text editor. Depending on the document type, the word-processor that you use to open it may or may not interpret the formatting information. If you have made a file in Rich Text Format (RTF), the work-processor will interpret the formatting information, and should display the document as it looked when displayed by Cindex in a fully formatted view. If you have made a document that contains markup tags for typesetting, you will see these tags displayed as plain text.

Files & Internet

How can I back-up my index?

There are several ways to make a backup copy of the index you are working on:

From within Cindex, choose Save Backup Copy… (Windows) or Save A Copy… (Mac) from the File menu.
To save an archival copy of an index (from which you can later reconstruct a working index), save XML records. Choose Save As... (Save To… on Mac) from the File menu, then in the panel that Cindex displays, choose XML Records as the file type.
From the Finder (Mac) or Windows Explorer (Windows) you can duplicate any index document.

Whichever method you use, you should save the backup copy on some disk other than the one that contains the original.

I'm collaborating with another indexer, and we will need to exchange indexes for incorporation into a master index. What kind of files should we send each other?

If your colleague uses Cindex version 3, you and she should share index files (those with the filename extension '.ucdx') or XML Records ('.ixml'). To save XML records choose Save AS... (Save To… on Mac) from the File menu, then in the panel that Cindex displays, choose XML Records as the file type. The file types 'ucdx' and '.ixml' are interchangeable between Cindex for Windows version 3 and Cindex for Mac version 3.

I received an index as an email attachment and Cindex could not open it. Why?

There are a several of possible causes. Check these points:

Check that the email attachment has not had its name changed. Cindex recognizes files it can open by the presence of a filename extension as the last part of the name (for example '.ucdx' or or '.ixml' or '.arc'). If the extension has been changed or removed, or has had additional text appended to it, Cindex will not be able to identify and open the file. For more information on moving files between platforms see the answer above.

Check that the file is in a format that Cindex can open directly. Cindex 3 can open index files (those with the filename extension '.ucdx', or '.cdxf'), and archive files. Cindex can read archive files made by any earlier version of Cindex (Windows or Mac), but can read index files from earlier versions only if they were made on the platform you are currently using.

If you received a file with the filename extension '.dat' (an obsolete format used for interchange with DOS computers) you must first create a new index, then import the contents of the file by choosing Import... from the File menu.

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