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Volume 9, Issue 2


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Customizing the Help Browser
Pavi Sandhu

Adding Entries to the Master Index

Creating a New Index Entry

Once you have defined Browser categories for your reference material, you might want to incorporate keywords from it into the Master Index. The Master Index provides an alphabetical listing of all keywords, allowing users to quickly locate information on a specific topic.

To add new keywords to the Master Index :

1. Edit the BrowserIndex.nb file to add new entries and links.

2. Edit the BrowserCategories.m file to define IndexTag for each Item command.

We first illustrate this process with an example and then give details about the syntax of the BrowserIndex.nb file.

The BrowserIndex.nb file

The BrowserIndex.nb file is a Mathematica notebook that contains the list of terms that appear in the Master Index, as well as links to information about each item. This file must use the "HelpBrowser.nb" style sheet, which contains definitions for all the special styles needed. Here is an example of a simple BrowserIndex.nb file.

My Help Documentation

Numbers, 1

Calculus, 2
derivatives, 2.1
integrals, 2.2

Algebra, 3, A1.1

The contents of a simple BrowserIndex.nb file.

Every BrowserIndex.nb file consists of a Header followed by a list of entries. The first cell in the file is called the Header.

The Header must have the following properties:

  • It must be a cell of style IndexSection.
  • It must have MasterIndexHeading as a cell tag.

This is what the expression for the Header in the sample BrowserIndex.nb file looks like. You can see that it satisfies both of the previously listed properties.

The Header cell is followed by a series of entries. Each entry corresponds to a single topic in the Master Index.

An entry has the following properties:

1. It is a cell of Index style.

2. It contains two items:

Entry name--This is the text that appears in the Master Index heading. It serves as a label for the information that the link points to.

Link--This is a special type of hyperlink that brings up reference material corresponding to the entry name and displays it in the Help Browser.

3. It must have a cell tag that is the same as the entry name.

Here is the cell expression for the first entry in the sample BrowserIndex.nb file. You can see that it has all the three properties listed earlier.

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