A few months back, I wrote about a CINDEX study group that I am somehow became responsible for organizing. The five members of the group at all at different stages in their indexing careers. One is nearing retirement, two have been indexing for many years and have many more to go, and two of us are newbies. The veterans in the group all learned CINDEX the same way: they took on an indexing project, opened CINDEX, and figured it out as they went along. If they couldn’t find a solution in the manual, they came up with own workarounds. We quickly discovered in our study sessions that all three of them have different solutions for similar problems. At times, none of their solutions are actually in the manual. 

In our group, I am the only one working with a practice index; an index I created so that I can mess about in CINDEX and figure things out before I am facing a looming deadline. We use my index during our monthly Zoom sessions—I share my screen, I try out every single tool, option, command in the manual, and everyone learns without risking a professional index in the process. 

After our last session, I received a lovely email from one of the other group members. She said she was impressed with my practice index and even more impressed that I was taking the time to learn the program properly now, rather than trying to learn it while creating an index. I don’t always have that luxury of time, but while I do, I am taking full advantage of it.