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Tools for Printing Indexes

Jon L. Bentley

Brian W. Kernighan

AT&T Bell Laboratories

Murray Hill, New Jersey 07974


This paper describes a set of programs for processing and printing the index for a

book or a manual. The input is a set of lines containing index terms and page numbers.

(Disclaimer: these programs do not help with the original creation of index terms!) The

programs collect multiple occurrences of the same terms, compress runs of page numbers,

create permutations (e.g., ``index, book'' from ``book index''), and sort them into proper

alphabetic order. The programs can cope with embedded formatting commands (size and

font changes, etc.) and with roman numerals.

The implementation uses an unusual software style: a long pipeline of short awk

programs. This structure makes the programs easy to adapt or augment to meet the spe-

cial requirements that arise in many indexes. The programs were intended to be used

with troff, but can be used with TEX or monk[1] with minor changes.

October, 1986