The Make Index feature can be used to generate a map index based on the position of text elements or map features in a grid (index or measured), a graticule or a MAP Area Layer. Index files generated using this function are produced as a simple text file and sorted alphabetically (by label or cell reference). A typical file would be formatted as follows:

         Millwood Road                B4
         University Street        A4
         Broadway Ave                B5

For text elements, the position of the first letter of the text is indexed. For map features of type Line or Area, all cells intersecting the feature are index. For map feature of type Point, the center of the symbol is indexed.

The index file contains a header indicating the name of each column (name, attribute name [if applicable], and grid locations).

information Overflowing text that is not visible on the page can't be indexed.


To create a map index, an Index grid, Measured grid, Graticule or MAP Area layer can be used. This grid must exist on a Legend layer and not be expanded (by Adobe Illustrator). An index will be created even if grid labels are hidden.

The Text layer containing the labels to be indexed or the Feature layer must be located in the same MAP View as the grid.

Using Make Index

Click the Make Index button on the MAPublisher Toolbar or from the main menu Object > MAPublisher > Make Index.


The selected grid will be used as the index reference.

When no grid is selected, Make Index will detect a grid in the document. If more than one grid is found, the Select Index Grid dialog box opens. Click the Previous Grid or Next Grid buttons to browse through available grids in the document. The selected grid is highlighted on the artboard.

Alternatively, select Use area layer as grid (choose appropriate area layer and grid label attribute). This layer can be of irregular shape (non-rectangular).

Index Based on Label Position


Select the Make index based on label position option to generate an index using this method. Then choose one or more layers containing the text to be indexed from the Label layer drop-down list. This method creates an index by assigning one index location for each label found on the selected text layer. For example, if the label "High Street" is only found in grid cell A4, the only entry for "High Street" in the index file would be as follows:  High Street A4.

Index Based on Label and Matching Feature Position


This method creates an index by matching label text on a selected Label Layer to the indicated attribute on the Feature layer, creating an index entry for every grid cell in which the feature can be found. Note that only features that have labels will be indexed. For example if "High Street" passes through grid cells A3, B3 and C4, each grid cell will be in the index — on a single or multiline (see advanced options). For example as:  High Street A3, B3, C4.


Use this function as follows:

Select the Make index based on label and matching feature position option to generate an index using this method.

Choose the layer containing the text to be indexed from the Label layer drop-down list.

Choose the layer that was used to generate the labels from the Feature layer drop-down list.

In the Label text matches attribute list, select the attribute column in the selected Feature layer which matches the labels to be indexed.

Index Based on Feature Position and Attribute Value


This method creates indexes for map features that have not been labeled.


The map features to be indexed are contained in the selected feature layer. Any MAP Layer of type Point, Line or Area contained in the same MAP View as the grid can be selected.


The index position is based on each feature on the grid — for Area and Line layers all cells that intersect with the feature are indexed; for Point layers the cells that contain the center of the feature symbol are indexed.


The actual index label listed in the output index file corresponds to the value of the selected Attribute.

Spatially Filter the Source Art


This option affects the range of feature labels, feature labels and art, or pieces of art selected to be indexed.


Choose the By art on layer option to limit index creation to those entries that intersect the bounds of the art on the specified layer.


Choose the Using MAP Selection option to limit index creation to those entries that intersect the bounds of the art selection resulting from the application of the chosen pre-defined MAP Selection.


Click the Specify Bounding Attributes button to open the Specify Attributes dialog box. Use this dialog box to select multiple attributes from the bounding art to be included in the index.

Advanced Formatting Options

To set additional options to control the formatting of the index file, click the Advanced button.


The Sort index by option controls the order of the index entries. The default setting is Feature label — entries are ordered based on the label text (alphabetical). Alternatively, Grid cell can be selected to sort by the cell indexes.


The Specify Separators indicates which delimiter is used to separate the different columns in the index file (label, additional attributes and indexes). To change a specific delimiter, click the separator button in between the two desired elements. The separator options are Tab, None, or a Custom delimiter. When using a custom delimiter, type the desired character(s) in the adjacent text field. The separator settings are reflected in the preview box.


The Treat group text as single entry option is required to create a single index for grouped text. Enabling this option is recommended to create index for labels created with MAPublisher Label Pro because the generated text is often grouped (e.g. multiline labels or along a curve).


There are three output formats for indexes (examples are using the default separators):

Output format




Single-line condensed

One index for each unique label is created, condenses grid locations

Label A1-3; B2,4; F-H9

A dash (-) indicates a range: A1-3 means the label is found in cells A1, A2 and A3; F-H9 means the label is found in cells F9, G9 and H9. The ranges by number are grouped first and then the ranges by letter.

A comma (,) indicates a list: B2,4 means the label is found in cells B2 and B4 but not B3.

A semicolon (;) separates each entry.

Single-line expanded

One index for each unique label is created

Label A1, A2, A3, B2, B4, F9, G9, H9

A comma (,) separates each entry.


One index for each cell reference is created

Label A1

Label A2

Label A3

Each entry is on its own line.


Users can add more attributes to the index file by selecting one or more attributes from the Select addition attributes drop-down list. Additional attributes are inserted in the file in columns between the label and the grid locations, separated by the chosen Index Separators. For example:


                 Label        Attribute1        Attribute 2        A1-3;B2,4;F-H9


information Duplicated labels that have different selected attribute values, will have a separate entry in the index file (single-line options). Duplicated labels that share the same attribute values will have a single index entry but each location will be reflected in the cell references.


The Include Page Numbers option provides the ability to split a single artboard (horizontally or vertically) at the middle point to make indexes that include a reference to a page (left or right, top or bottom). This feature is useful when a map spreads over a single artboard that is intended to be split into two pages in a final output (e.g. a spread in an atlas). Text and features that span both "pages" can be listed in the index as appearing on both pages (i.e. indexing the extents of the text or feature).





Example results of a two-page index in a spreadsheet.


The Apply locale formatting to numbers option applies number formatting according to the locale settings in the MAPublisher General Preferences (e.g. 10000 may be written 10,000 or 10.000 or 10 000).

Saving the Index File

When all indexed options have been set, click the Save As button. Then specify a name for the text file, and the location where it will be saved. The index file can be opened in a text editor, a spreadsheet application, or placed back into the document using the Adobe Illustrator Place function.

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Last updated: 4/12/2019