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How-to: Create a linked index with Openoffice

Posted in Tutorials,Ubuntu by Dennis on 6 July 2008
Tags: , , , , ,

Today I am going to explian how it’s possibile to create a linked index of a document. All of us know the importante of indexes in written documents. But if this documents are stored electronically (tipically in PDF format) it’s nice to have a clickable index, which immediatly redirects you to the part of the document you are intrested in.

Creating an index

To easily created an index the quickest way is to format your index entries through the most intuitive instrument: Headers. You can find this options in the toolbar Formatting (View->Toolbars->Formatting).

On this toolbar you find the Heading style I am talking about. As you can see you don’t just have one heading, but at least three. Heading 1 is to be used for the most important titles (es: chapter titles). After this you can use Heading 2-3-4 to create your gerarchy. Once you have created your documents structure is time to create the index.

Select where on your document you want to set your index (usually at the beginning) and go on Insert -> Indexes and Tables -> Indexes and Tables

A small window will open. That’s the window which lets you control your index. Give your index a name and move to the tab named Entries that’s the one which matters for our scope, which is to create a linked index.

Index and Tables windows

The part really interesting for us is the Structure section. This structure specifies, for each level, how one entry of the index should look like. The standard format is the following:

  • E#: Chapter number
  • E: Entry
  • T: Tab stop (this gives the line of spots we see)
  • #: Page number

Linking index entries

Between one an another of this buttons there is a small textbox which can be used both to write something or to add new pieces to the line entry layout. Our goal is to create a linked index. In order to to this:

  • Click on the “E#” button. Click on the “Hyperlink” button. The label of “E#” is now changed to “LS” which stands for “Link Start”. Below select “Page number” from the Character style.
  • Click now on the small textbox after the last entry of the line structure, “#”. Click now on “Hyperlink” again. A new piece should be added and it’s label should be “LE” (Link End).

The is how your structure should look like now:

Final structure

Final structure

The last thing to do is to click on “All“. This will apply the newly created structure to the whole index and not just to the “first level” (Heading 1).

Click now on “OK”. Your index will now be inserted in your document and the entries will be clickable. When you will click on the entries you will automatically been redirected to the specific header. In order to try links in OpenOffice you have to click on the index entries while you keep CTRL button down.

You can now for exemple export your document as PDF and have a really nice clickable index in the PDF format!

Small tip: to automatically update your index after some changes you do in the doc’s structure just right-click on your index and select “Update Index/Table”.

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19 Responses to 'How-to: Create a linked index with Openoffice'

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  1. Luckluster said,

    Thank you for explaining this unintuitive interface!

  2. Saiko said,


  3. Ben said,

    Thanks. Very useful.

  4. kaizer soze said,

    Great!! very explanatory, thanks for sharing!!!

  5. [...] Basat en How-to: Create a linked index with Openoffice [...]

  6. Giulia said,

    Genius!!! But what about the page numbers in the index??

  7. link one part of a pdf to another in openoffice

    maybe those keywords will help others like me find this easier :)

  8. kaushik said,

    Thanks a lot. its truly very un-intutive interface.

  9. Rick said,

    Hi Danilo,

    this is a great resource. I am currently working on a 250-pages document and a clickable index is a must in this case.

    Tanti saluti a bella Italia.
    Grazie e Ciao!

  10. guichina said,

    Thanks ! It’s utility for me !

  11. Benjamin said,

    Still usefull :-) thx to you I quickly made a clickable index.

    cheers mate !

  12. Orange said,

    Thanks, Helpful

  13. Andrei Miclaus said,

    Great, thanks :D would have never figured it out alone

  14. Mr.Anderson said,

    It’s also possible to click between the different parts and thus create a more clean link.
    For instance clicking before E# and then pressing hyperlink and then between E and T and pressing hyperlink.
    This makes sure that only the chapter number and name are blue linked. You can also click on E#, E, T and # to remove it by pressing the delete key.
    You can customize it pretty well

  15. naveen said,

    To Create a linked index with Openoffice – I want code (a macro) to crearte TOC – how can I represent it in coad – selectein of hadlines in formattion and creation table of contant hyperlinks. Like clicking E# and E anf hyperlink and all. all this i need it to automate through macro coad in ODT (open office)

  16. James Lamb said,

    This creates a linked Table of Contents, NOT an index. If you change the Type to Alphabetical Index the Hyperlink button disappears.

  17. Errol M. A. said,

    I need a quick solution, please help me.

    I am using two different styles of page numbering (roman, and normal) but this index only shows in arabic numbers.

    my preface pages numbered in roman, my index like

    F……2 ?!!?!?!

    it should be


    I cant find anything to change….

  18. Chris said,

    Thank you for saving us hours of frustration.

  19. Sarav Sandhu said,

    that worked for me too

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