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In previous posts, I described how Writer adds extra index markers when
updating an Alphabetical Index. One side effect of this behavior is that,
even if an item is later removed from the concordance file, the marker
remains in the text, and therefore in the index.

So, here's how to remove all of the index markers from a Writer document so
you can start with a clean slate. To do this, you will need to be running
LibreOffice on some flavor of Linux/Unix, or at least on a system that has a
command line or some text editor with "sed" or "grep" capabilities.

1: Make a backup of your Writer document. You know the consequences if
something goes amiss.
2: Open the document in Writer, and choose Save As "OpenDocument Text (Flat
XML) (fodt)"
   This creates an uncompressed XML version of the document.
   On my system (Ubuntu), I was unable to decompress the odt version, as the
OS complained it was malformed, but using the native capability is always a
better idea.
3: Close the document and exit Writer.
4: Open a command line shell, preferably in the directory containing the
fodt file.
5: Run the following command (all one line - broken apart here for clarity):
   sed 's/<text:alphabetical-index-mark
   < Old_File_Name_and_Path.fodt
   > New_File_Name_and_Path.fodt
   Depending on the file size and processor speed, this may take a bit.
   If this gives errors, you're on your own.
6: Close the command line shell.
7: Open the new "cleansed" fodt file with Writer.
8: The file should look the same but without any alphabetical index markers.
(Your index formatting is still there, though)
9: Go to where your alphabetical index is located, right click on it and
select "Update Index/Table"
A: All of the index entries should disappear; if any remain, go find them on
the referenced pages and manually delete them. Apparently, some of the
indexes are embedded in others and aren't found by the sed command above.
   I didn't bother to try figuring out how or why that happened. I had
several hundred markers, of which only five weren't removed.
B: Now, go back to the index and select Edit Index/Table, then File | Open.
C: Select the original concordance file (assuming you have it set up how you
want it), and let Writer go do its thing.
D: You now have a "clean" document with no duplicate index entries.
E: LOOK AT IT CAREFULLY, of course, before replacing your original. The
document I tried this on was over four hundred pages with lots of tables,
graphics and so forth, and I found no problems, but it's up to you to
determine if everything is ok.

I hope this helps any others who might be using alphabetic indexes.

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