Indexing in reference to motion is moving (or being moved) into a new position or location quickly and easily but also precisely. After a machine part has been indexed, its location is known to within a few hundredths of a millimeter (thousandths of an inch), or often even to within a few thousandths of a millimeter (ten-thousandths of an inch), despite the fact that no elaborate measuring or layout was needed to establish that location. Indexing is a necessary kind of motion in many areas of mechanical engineering and machining. A part that indexes, or can be indexed, is said to be indexable.
Usually when the word indexing is used, it refers specifically to rotation. That is, indexing is most often the quick and easy but precise rotation of a machine part through a certain known number of degrees. For example, Machinery’s Handbook, 25th edition, in its section on milling machine indexing, says, “Positioning a workpiece at a precise angle or interval of rotation for a machining…

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