Speed and flexibility combined with ease of use

developed by Drusilla and Hilary Calvert

Head Office: MACREX INDEXING SERVICES, Beech House, Blaydon Burn, Tyne & Wear, NE21 6JR, United Kingdom.

Agency in Australia

MACREX is now available free of charge, (updated December 2022) please see the note below.

Windows 11: So far there have been no problems running MACREX on this platform. If any emerge, they will be addressed.

Special notice December 2021 by Hilary Calvert, author of MACREX

My wife and partner in MACREX development, Drusilla Calvert, died on 26 May 2021. She had been suffering from a debilitating and currently untreatable neurological disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, diagnosed in 2016. She was a freelance indexer and encouraged me to write the first version of MACREX in 1981, and oversaw its subsequent development. She was not only my inspiration and partner of 51 years, but also provided support and help to the community of Indexers using MACREX.

Also, I am very saddened by the passing of Gale Roades earlier this year, as are many others in the indexing community. She was our MACREX support agent for North America, but much more than that. She was a personal friend, supporter, and inspiration to MACREX users worldwide. Her involvement with MACREX has lasted over 20 years and she has made countless contributions to its use.

I will continue to support MACREX and I have also set up an unmonitored email group, macrex-international, for all MACREX users. I suggest that users make a voluntary contribution to cover the cost of the web site with any excess going to the PSP Association. Details are on the downloads page.

Contact us


Powerpoint and pdf files available for new and existing users




Making entries

Autocomplete / Authority list

Accuracy checking

Time -Saving Features

Special characters


Checking and Editing

Additional Features

Technical information




Please note that MACREX is not an “automatic” indexing  program, and will NOT create an index automatically from a given text. It is a tool similar to a word-processor for professional indexers, who create the entries themselves. MACREX produces consistency and helps the indexer to save time (see details below).

MACREX is a computer program designed to assist indexers working from printed proofs, text on disk, the author's manuscript, or an already completed book. The index is created as a completely independent document; it is not constructed by tagging or otherwise marking up the text, although it is possible to insert tagged index entries automatically into HTML and XML files. The purpose of MACREX is to help indexers improve consistency and increase productivity by automating routine tasks (sorting, printing, repagination, etc.) leaving them free to concentrate on the wording and construction of the index entries. Version One of MACREX appeared well over thirty years ago and the program has been under continuous development since then. It has been written in close collaboration with our users, who include indexers in academic institutions, government departments, business and industrial concerns and publishing companies worldwide, as well as freelance indexers and authors. MACREX is used to prepare the indexes for some of the world's leading books and journals. It is used extensively by members of the Society of Indexers and members of the societies of indexers worldwide.

Our aim has always been to combine in one package a straightforward indexing program which you can begin to use within a few hours, and a sophisticated, comprehensive program which can be used to produce indexes to any degree of complexity and size. Our aim is not to dictate, but to give our users as wide a choice as possible for the creation of their indexes.


Making entries

To start a basic index, click on the MACREX icon, choose “Open a new index” and press enter as many times as are needed to get to the Main Menu. Choose a name for your index.. You will be shown the Main Menu.

Press E and start adding entries, separating headings from subheadings and sub-subheadings by commas, then add a space or a comma and put in the locator/page number and press Enter.

 Existing headings and entries can be copied from one entry to the next; headings and subheadings can be “flipped”, “yanked” or “rotated” or “reversed” with a single keystroke.

The autocomplete/authority list (in either hierarchical or non-hierarchical order) allows you to see how previous entries were worded and to copy headings, subheadings, etc., directly into your index.

MACREX can also read entries from a standard text file, allowing entries to be made outside the program and transferred easily to MACREX.

Entries are sorted immediately into alphabetical order (either word-by-word or letter-by-letter) and each new entry is shown as the second in the list, thus showing it immediately in context.

See also cross-references can be positioned according to the user’s requirements; page ranges can be presented in many different formats; conjunctions and prepositions can be chosen to be ignored.

The sort can be manipulated when required, using dedicated keys, entries the same except for page numbers can be merged on entry. You can choose to use the keyboard or mouse to access the menu options and other commands.

Autocomplete / Authority list

As well as working like a conventional autocomplete, MACREX can also use a hierarchical autocomplete.  When you are typing a main heading, a list of completions generated from the main headings is generated and one can be selected with a single keystroke.  When you are typing a subheading, a list of completions only from subheadings to you current main heading is displayed. 

MACREX effectively develops a table of authorities from your index and displays it in context to you as your index.  This table can be imported into a new index, permitting the vocabulary for a new index to be available from the start. This feature has saved users many hours of work as well as ensuring consistency and improving accuracy.

Accuracy checking

When entering and editing, you can see as many as 60 entries at once, and any mistakes can be corrected on screen immediately.

There are many built-in features to help prevent careless mistakes: if you forget to type a locator you are prompted (to override this feature just press enter again); errors in the placement of punctuation and spaces are automatically corrected; impossible page ranges (e.g. 12-12, 43-32) are disallowed; cross-references can be verified on entry and at any stage during the creation of the index; the “change headings” (propagate) feature allows you to choose to change all headings or subheadings if one is changed; the "duplicate" part of "change headings allows the user to put the same series of subheadings additionally under any other main heading; any locators outside the range of the text being indexed can be queried.

Time -Saving Features

An unlimited number of mnemonic or symbolic keywords (abbreviations) can be used for frequently occurring words or phrases while typing entries; these can be edited or deleted at any stage in the making of the index.

Up to 48 macros, which can contain commands as well as text, can be defined by the user. These can be changed at any time during the creation of the index. Locator(s) can be copied from one entry to the next with a single keystroke.

Special characters

MACREX supports most Unicode characters including a huge range of accented, Greek and special characters, as well as the normal character set. Sorting sequences can be set according to the usage of any European language, and characters will be printed according to the format needed by the publisher. To see a list of the currently available characters click here.

NB: If the ones you want are not there contact us, it is easy to add more.


Indexes are normally produced in RTF format (although many other output formats are accommodated); an RTF or TXT file can be produced directly from the program with a single keystroke.

Files in database format can be made from MACREX and indexes exported to the format used by “automatic” indexers.

All backup files and other files associated with MACREX apart from the “working” files are text files and can be read in any text editor. Files in word processor and database formats can be converted to a format for import to MACREX. Complex layouts required by publishers and typesetters can be saved for future use.

Layout options include set-out or run-on layouts or a combination of both; the program offers a huge range of styles for both text and locators.

Checking and Editing

Access to any entry within an index of up to 100,000 entries is virtually instantaneous.

Entries can be “grouped” by text or page number and edited without being moved out of the main index; sophisticated Boolean grouping is supported.

Indexes can be made before the final pagination is known and converted very simply and quickly to the final page numbers;

Additional Features

The index - or part of it - can be presented in page number order and separate indexes can be created by extracting all the entries from a range of page numbers

Indexes can be cumulated simply by loading in successive MACREX backup files

It is possible to work on several indexes at the same time, either in separate windows, or by allotting each index to a different letter of the alphabet and extracting each letter individually to make separate indexes.

Capacity and technical information

MACREX version 9 runs under Windows 10. MACREX is also used successfully on Intel Macs running Parallels although this is not guranteed. The biggest index we have tested on MACREX is 1.5 million entries, but more should be possible. The standard distribution of MACREX is 32 bit but a 64 bit version can be compiled.


With our expert and experienced MACREX support systems in the UK and Australia we can offer help on any indexing problem. Support is also available via the macrex-international group (email Hilary Calvert to join the group).

MONITOR PROGRESS: MACREX records time taken indexing, entries per page, references per entry, etc.
ACCELERATE large projects by dividing work between several indexers and merging files
CUT COSTS by creating cumulations and updates with minimum re-keying of text
REDUCE WORK by automatically producing indexes in different styles or in different media from one source file
ENSURE CONSISTENCY by setting up style sheets for each project
EXTEND YOUR SKILLS by making full use of MACREX’s huge range of options for creating, editing, and printing entries


Society of Indexers


American Society for Indexing (ASI)

Association of Southern African Indexers and Bibliographers (ASAIB)

Australia and New Zealand Society of Indexers (ANZSI, formerly AusSI)

Indexing Society of Canada / Société Canadienne d’Indexation (ISC / SCI)

China Society of Indexers

Deutsches Netzwerk der Indexer (DNI) / German Network of Indexers

Nederlands Indexers Netwerk (NIN) / Netherlands Indexing Network

see also for more details

MACREX Website:

Last updated 4 December 2022