Writer demo: Index validation


In this presentation from the 2024 Pacific Virtual User Group, Guy van der Kolk, Typefi Product Manager, demonstrates a new feature in Typefi Writer that helps you validate your index entries by alerting you to index errors before publishing. This feature is optional and can be disabled in settings if needed.

This video is part 2 of a 3-part demo presentation—check out part 1 for a look at Typefi’s integrations with Oxygen XML Web Author and Fonto Editor, and part 3 for a demo of Typefi Writer’s preflight checks including options to check for local formatting and missing links.


Alright, so what we’ll be demonstrating in the next 10 to 15 minutes is some of the stuff that the Writer team and I have been, well, mostly the Writer team. I just tell them what our customers want and they do all the magic.

But one of the things that, so for the people that are not using Typefi, or even the ones that might be using Typefi for XML only content, we have a add-in for Word that is called Typefi Writer that assists our users with adding structured content to Microsoft Word documents.

So what you can see here is we have a Word document, there’s nothing special about this Word document.

If we go into draft mode, I always like showing that one of the basic principles of structure is paragraph styles. So you can see that there’s some headings and that kind of thing in this document. And then you can see here we’ve got a section: main content. So that’s the Typefi structure.

We just released a brand new version of Typefi Writer, version 8.9. And one of the things that we did in there, and let me already start that up for you. One of the things that we added there is Index Entry Validation.

So not all of our customers work with indexes, from Microsoft Word, but those that do obviously indexes are very important.

And one of the things that we found that was a challenge for our customers in a Typefi workflow is that Word is somewhat helpful in the sense that if there is an incorrect, if there’s something not right in an index entry, then Word will not warn you. It will just pretend that the issue isn’t there. If there’s a missing quotation or something like that, it will just ignore it and pretend that everything is fine, which is good if you’re working in Word.

But it is a little bit of a challenge if you’re taking that Word content and then going into other XML formats because if you’re going into XML, you are obviously wanting proper index entries.

So what we’ve done in Typefi Writer 8.9 is we have added Index Entry Validation as an option because not, like we said, not everybody that uses Typefi Writer also works with indexes.

So what you can see here is that we’ve got the Document Explorer, which is Typefi’s validation interface, is telling us that there are some issues with our indexes.

So let me actually move the index this dialogue out of the way because one of the things that is very useful about the Document Explorer is that as you click entries, they highlight in the background in your content and it actually takes you to where that content is so that you can see where it happens.

And you can see that there are some issues with our indexes. So there’s a bunch of warnings, but also a bunch of structural errors that we flag. This is a testing file. I do not presume that normal content will have this many issues, so don’t worry about that. This is a file that we built to have an instance of everything that we think can possibly go wrong.

But here, for example, we’ve got one of those structural errors and we can see that in this case, the error is “an opening or closing quotation mark is missing from the index entry,” which technically makes it an invalid index entry, even if Word has no problem showing it to you. And if this is transformed into other formats that might cause issues down the line.

So we now warn you about it, and sometimes fixes are not big, sometimes they’re just in the little things.

So one of the things that we’ve consistently had as feedback from our customers is, it is great you have decent documentation, we can find our stuff, but it would be so much nicer if we didn’t need to leave Word to find your help desk article on the internet. So we were like, huh, let’s see if we can do that.

So for this version of Word, we actually made it so that for every error that you found, that you find, that there is a link that takes you and it’s opening on a different screen. So let me bring that right over to you.

So here we can see that there are, it takes you directly to that help site and it tells you, in this case, we can find incomplete index entries. And it gives you feedback on how you can self-solve the problem without needing to open a different browser and search for it.

So this is something that we are going to be working to implement also for our existing features, but right now we’re implementing it for our new features mostly.

Another question you might have about this if you’re interested in indexes and in Word is, did you try to make it so that we can automatically fix index entries? And we did try that. It turned out to be extremely complex, and so we made the decision. We don’t think there’s going to be that many index entries.

So with the help of knowing that there’s a problem as well at the help desk for this first version, that is going to help out a lot of people making sure that the content is right because we feel that making sure that your content in the beginning is right, alleviates issues that you may have down the line when you’re taking your content and generating PDFs or turning it into HTML or any of those other things.

So that is the Index Entry Validation, which is a new feature in Typefi Writer 8.9 that is available for download for our Writer customers right now.

It is optional, so that’s what I said earlier because not everybody uses indexes and obviously processing and analysing a document with a lot of index entries takes a little bit of time. So we wanted to make sure that not everybody that uses indexes needs to validate them.

So within the options for Typefi Writer, within the workflow options, if you are using indexes, you can find the Validate Index Entries checkbox right here, which is disabled by default, but you can enable it when you need it.