DEXembed: I’m Liking This Embedding Utility

Summary: If you have trouble embedding with DEXembed, download a new version of the dot file and use that.

DEXembed by The Editorium is a utility for embedding an index into Word, with the index written in your favorite indexing software, exported to a tab delimited text file, then embedded in Word.

I use Cindex on a Mac. DEXembed is a Word add-in. There are versions of DEXembed for Mac Word, but I don’t have the correct version of Mac Word, so I run it in Word under Windows 10 via the Parallels program. See my blog post about my first job in DEXembed.

When I do embedded indexing jobs, I index the first chapter then do a dry run of the embedding process. For this job, it was a blessing that I ran my dry run early because it didn’t work at all. The index entries were all dumped into the front matter of my Word document.

The DEXembed developer said that’s usually a sign of a corrupt document. He also said that he was able to embed the index with the files I sent him.

I tried many things, starting with corrupt document fixes: copying the entire file except for the last para mark to a new document or using Open with Repair when opening the file. Didn’t work. I upgraded to Word 2019, but still the index entries all ended up in the front matter. And I noticed that Word 2019 isn’t on the DEXembed list of supported versions.

I noticed that because I was grabbing a new copy of the DEXembed dot file to see if that made a difference.


If you have trouble with DEXembed embedding, check that you’re running the latest version. The version I had been running was six months older than that latest version, but upgrading made all the difference.

I love using DEXembed because it’s so close to my “normal” back-of-the-book indexing from pages. The first step is to number the paragraphs in a copy of the book document. The paragraph numbers are used in the locator field.

I make of PDF of that numbered document, putting me back into my normal environment.

The DEXembed add-in running in Word will move you to a specific paragraph number, which is nice during editing. You don’t have to use that numbered paragraph document to move to specific paragraphs; the numbered document is just for your indexing convenience.

My first DEXembed blog post lists my handling of special characters. For this index, I indexed as usual, then at the end applied all my search and replaces to handle the special characters in my Cindex file.

I then wrote to the tab delimited text file and embedded the index entries. At this point, there’s a second set of search and replaces I do for special character handling. After I’ve finished this step, I save a stash of this file so that I have a saved version I can go back to.

At this point, I read through the generated index, noticing the usual missed forced sorts or whatever. I make my corrections directly to that stashed version’s index marks so that all I have to do is re-generate a new index. (I of course correct my Cindex file in parallel.) The index entries are gathered at the beginning of the paragraphs. The cross-references are all ganged at the end of the document.

The more I use DEXembed, the more I like it. It works well with the IndexLinker utility that links the index references back to their associated paragraphs in ebook or PDF indexes. WordEmbed and I believe Index Manager both write their entries in formats that don’t work with IndexLinker.

And DEXembed worked fine for me in Word 2019.

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