Change User-defined to Alphabetical Index

I have a document in which I need two indexes, one for place-names and one for landowners. These both need to be alphabetical.

I created a User-defined index for the first one and gave it a title of Place Names, but I could not find a way to make it alphabetical. I have now discovered that this a “feature” of Writer but I have already created a lot of index entries. Also I’ve discovered the “feature” that you can’t have more than one Alphabetical index.

Is there a way of converting this User Defined index to be Alphabetical? Or deleting and starting again?

Creating Alphabetical Indexes

It is really a shame that Writer presently allows only one alphabetical index.

A user index is some form of a TOC where entries are listed in page order and identical entries are not merged, thus really creating a TOC.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no way to convert back from a user index to an alphabetical index because the keys (data) are not the same. There is more sophistication in an alphabetical index than in others.

But you can cheat Writer, provided you haven’t used yet the three levels for the keys. The trick requires that you review all your index entries.

  • select the word to enter in the index and Insert>Index Entry
  • accept the Entry or enter the desired one
  • in 1st key, enter Place or Landowner (more specifically what will be the heading of your “index”)
  • Insert

Create the alphabetical index. You’ll get two distinct sub-indexes. To format it as apparent independent indexes, customise paragraph styles Alphabetical Index 1 and Alphabetical Index 2. You’ll probably also want to change the layout of the sub-index headings (to get rid of the leading line at least). To do this right-click in the index and Edit index and go to the Entries tab to modify the Structure & Formatting Structure line for levels 1 and 2.


That’s very useful, thank you!

One workaround is would require you making two copies of your document and making two different alphabetical indices, one in each copy. When you are done, done, done, you can copy one of them to the other. It will paste as text. You won’t be able to update it without repeating the process so it gets done last. Depending on the number of entries this could be a solution. I am usually limited to 30 pages and about as many index entries so this is fine for my purposes.