Fixing Incorrect Last Name Sorts in Index

For another edition of my Buried Treasure series, here’s a tip found in the Help topic, Index a word, phrase, or list quickly. This topic describes how to index names quickly in the Last Name, First Name format. To index a proper name quickly by last name, select the name and press Shift+Alt+Ctrl+] (Windows) or Shift+Option+Command+] (Mac OS).

This works well for names like Arthur Mays (Mays, Arthur) and Harriet R. Smith (Smith, Harriet R.). But what about names like Edgar de la Peña, Thurston B. Howell III, Floyd Airweather Jr.? You’d have an index that looks like this:

III, Thurston B. Howell
Jr., Floyd Airweather
Peña, Edgar de la

Here’s where the buried treasure comes in.

To index compound last names or names with a title, include one or more nonbreaking spaces between the words. For example, if you want to index “James Paul Carter Jr.” by “Carter” instead of “Jr.”, place a nonbreaking space between “Carter” and “Jr.” (To insert a nonbreaking space, choose Type > Insert White Space > Nonbreaking Space.)

If you add nonbreaking spaces (also called “hard spaces”) between the “real” last name and all the words that come after it, the generated index won’t have the bad sorting problems:

Airweather Jr., Floyd
de la Peña, Edgar
Howell III, Thurston B.

2 Responses to Fixing Incorrect Last Name Sorts in Index

  1. Carol says:

    yes, but it appears that this feature cannot be coupled with “find all” so in a large doc we would have to find every instance of that proper name & individually select & keystroke, based on this newby’s excursions into CS6…any suggestions?

    • Preston says:

      Very very very very good question, Carol.
      I would really like to find a way to accomplish this with find/replace as well.