Appendix A. Diagnostics

This section describes all the messages that the programs produce.

Types of messages

Fatal error

These cause immediate termination of the program. They are commonly caused by file errors.

Fatal errors have the following format:

program name: file name: system error message


program name: message: system error message


program name: message

Consult the documentation for your system for an explanation of the system error messages.


Errors prevent output from being produced but don't terminate the program.

Errors have the following format:

file name: line number: message

The file name and line number gives the location of the error.


Warnings are designed to alert the user about input which is valid but is possibly not what the user required. Output is produced if only warnings are produced. However it is a good idea to check the output to make sure it is correct.

Warnings have the following format:

file name: line number: warning: message
  subheading <-- here

The <-- here indicates which entry produced the warning. These listed entries allow the location of the warning to be found in the output.

Alphabetical list of messages

indentation level is too great (error)

An entry was indented by more then two spaces.

invalid page range `x-y' (error)

Valid page ranges must have x less than or equal to y.

missing newline at end of entry (error)

All entries must be terminated by a newline. Certain programs may rely on the newline to mark the end of an entry.

no input files (fatal)

The program requires a file name to be specified on the ommand line.

parse error (error))

This occurs when the input has invalid syntax.

previous cross reference is a different type (error))

An attempt was made to give an entry both see also and see cross references.

request to separate `...' invalid (fatal))

The argument to the --separate option of idxsorter was not recognized. See the documentation for valid choices.

unexpected `...' (error))

An unrecognized character or an extra space in an indent was encountered.

unexpected end of file (fatal))

The end of the key file was reached before the end of the index file was reached. The key file is probably out of date This can also occur is the index file is missing a newline character after the last entry.

warning: `...' has the same key as `...' (warning))

Two entries that look different ended up with the same sort key and were merged. This is probably not what you want. A common cause are entries that only differ by there formatting (italic, bold etc.).

warning: possible missing double space before page reference (warning))

A double space after the heading wasn't found and it looked like a page range was found at the end of the heading. If this is the case it might be a good idea to correct the problem as it can affect sorting.