How to Create an Abbreviation List in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word lacks the ability to create word and abbreviation lists or glossaries as a clickable function within its set of features, but you can "borrow" other Word features to produce your list. Indexes list important terms from within a work and display the page numbers on which they appear. With a trip to another application and some clipboard action to turn special coded text into regular type, you can turn an index into a vocabulary list that itemizes the abbreviations in your document.

Woman hands working on keyboard
Transform the output of a Microsoft Word feature into the text you need for an abbreviation list..
credit: Rostislav_Sedlacek/iStock/Getty Images

Step

Open your Microsoft Word document and scan through each page for abbreviations you want to incorporate into a list. Double-click on or click and drag through a word or phrase that constitutes an important abbreviation, selecting it in the text.

Step

Press "Shift-Alt-X," or switch to the "References" tab of the Microsoft Word ribbon and click on the "Index" section's "Mark Entry" item, to create an index entry based on your text selection. In the Mark Index Entry dialog box, click on the "Mark" button to add the term you selected. The act of marking an index entry inserts hidden codes into your document to identify the selection. Continue the Mark Entry process to mark each term that qualifies for your list as an addition to the Index.

Step

Press "Ctrl-End" to navigate to the end of your document. Press "Enter" to add a blank line after your text concludes. Click on the "Insert Index" item in the Reference tab's Index section to open the Index dialog box. Click on the "OK" button without changing the default index settings.

Step

Select the text of the index. Press "Ctrl-C" to copy it to the clipboard. Press "Ctrl-Alt-V," or switch to the Home tab of the Microsoft Word ribbon and click on the Clipboard group's "Paste" item arrow, to access the "Paste Special" option. Choose "Unformatted Text" as the paste mode. Select the text you pasted and copy it back to the clipboard.

Step

Create a new Microsoft Word document and paste the recopied index text into it. Scroll through the text and find the index entry with the highest page number after it. Count the number of digits in the page number.

Step

Press "Ctrl-H" to access Find and Replace. Type a comma followed by a space into the "Find What" box. After the space, type the combination "^#," without the punctuation, once for each digit in the highest page number in the list. For example, if the last entry appeared on page 53 of your master Word document, type "^#^#" without the quotation marks.

Step

Click on the "Replace All" button to remove all the highest index page numbers. Delete the last "^#" from your Find text and click on the "Replace All" button again to remove the next set of numbers. Continue shortening the Find text and replacing the index page-number markers until you remove all of them.

Step

Press "Ctrl-C" to copy the edited index text to the clipboard. Paste the text back into your master Word document.