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How to use Building Blocks in Microsoft Word
Word Building Blocks
Microsoft Word 2016
Table of Figures 1
The Evolution of AutoText 2
Types of Building Blocks 3
Inserting Building Blocks into your document 3
Building Blocks and Content Controls 5
Swapping Building Blocks within your document 7
Building Blocks and Formatting 7
Building Blocks are stored in Templates 9
Creating Your Own Building Blocks 9
Option 1: Select content and save selection to specific gallery 9
Option 2: Select content and hit Alt-F3 11
Option 3: Select content and open the Quick Parts Gallery 11
What happened to AutoText? 11
Table of Figures
https://d.docs.live.net/efc8c16712f0229d/Public/Word%20Help/Word%20Building%20Blocks.docxFigure 1 Cover Page Gallery 2
Figure 2 Coordinated Building Blocks across Galleries 4
Figure 3 Applied Coordinated Building Blocks 5
Figure 4 Before Entering Content Control Data 6
Figure 5 Content Controls Mapped to Document Properties 7
Figure 6 Document with Office Theme 8
Figure 7 Same Document with Equity Theme 8
Figure 8 Building Blocks Adapt to Document Formatting Changes 9
Figure 9 Save Selection Command in Cover Page Gallery 10
Figure 10 Create New Building Block dialog 10
https://d.docs.live.net/efc8c16712f0229d/Public/Word%20Help/Word%20Building%20Blocks.docxFigure 11 Autotext Entry 11
Figure 12 Building Blocks Organizer Command 12
Figure 13 Building Blocks Organiser Dialog 12
Figure 14 Modify Building Block Dialog 13
Figure 15 Autotext Tool Tip 13
The Evolution of AutoText
Versions of Word prior to Word 2007 incorporated the AutoText feature for saving blocks of text, graphics, tables, any document content, as an AutoText entry. Once saved the entry could be inserted into you document when needed.
Since Word 2007, the programmers greatly enhanced and developed this feature into Building Blocks that work in conjunction with Galleries.
Building blocks are essentially parts of a document that may be reused. For example, a company logo with a text slogan can be stored as a reusable cover page.
Figure 1 Cover Page GalleryWord provides a collection of common building blocks presented in visual galleries out of the box. All building block galleries use a rich thumbnail image to preview content before inserting it, like many other features in Office.
However, each gallery is also a feature in its own right, for example, cover pages will insert at the beginning of the document as expected, while headers go in the document header area and textboxes are inserted in the page the insertion point is in.
Types of Building Blocks
There are different Types of Building Blocks accessed via the Ribbon:
Text boxes (pull quotes and sidebars)
Quick parts (custom user blocks)
Table of Contents
Page Layout Tab:
Header and Footer Contextual Tab:
Repeats the header, footer, page number, and quick parts galleries for convenience
Inserting Building Blocks into your document
There are many types of building blocks (cover pages, headers, footers, text boxes, etc.) available to create good-looking documents quickly. To help you easily insert different types of building blocks that look good together, they are coordinated across the Cover Page, Headers, Footers, and Text Boxes galleries with unique names. These names indicate which building blocks are meant to complement one another. Nothing prevents you from mixing and matching, but items with the same name across the four galleries are designed to look great together.
Here is a screenshot of the Cover Page and Header Galleries showing the coordinated names:
Figure 2 Coordinated Building Blocks across Galleries
Here is a screenshot of a document with inserted “Integral” cover page, header, footer and text box building blocks:
Figure 3 Applied Coordinated Building Blocks
Building Blocks and Content Controls
Many of the building blocks provided have designated regions to type content, such as the title and date of the document. The cool thing is that these regions are in fact Content Controls that map to document properties. By mapping these content controls to document properties, the text you type within them will be persisted even if you change your cover page, header, or footer.
For example, when you type within the Title content control in a cover page document building block, this text is mapped to the Title property of the document. With this mapping in place, any building block containing content controls bound to the Title property will automatically be populated with the document title. If you wish to update the title of your document, you only have to do it once, within any of the content controls that are bound to the Title document property, and all of the other content controls bound to the Title document property will update automatically. Easy!
For example, here is a document where I have inserted cover page, header and footer building blocks, without adding any content within the Title or Subtitle content controls.
Figure 4 Before Entering Content Control Data
Now, if I change any instance of a Title or Subtitle content control, this will result in a global change of all the instances of the Title or Subtitle because all instances of Title and Subtitle content controls are mapped to the corresponding Title and Subtitle properties of the document. For example, here's the same document with the Title "Building Blocks" and the Subtitle "So Cool":
Figure 5 Content Controls Mapped to Document Properties
Swapping Building Blocks within your document
Any building block that is unique to the document or section, such as a cover page or header, can be swapped using the same gallery used to insert them. For example, inserting a new cover page will replace any existing cover page and inserting a header or footer will replace any existing header or footer for the current page. On the other hand, building blocks like tables and text boxes that often appear multiple times will, as expected, not replace existing objects.
Swapping building blocks also preserves content controls that are bound to document properties. Let's say I have a cover page with the following content controls: title, subtitle, date, and abstract. I then swap that cover page with another cover page that contains the same content controls. Guess what? All the content controls that are bound to document properties are preserved when I swap out the original cover page.
Building Blocks and Formatting
In order to more closely relate the formatting of building blocks with your documents they are closely tied to the document's theme. By relating building blocks to themes, building blocks will adapt nicely to changes in the look of the document as a result of changing the theme or the style set applied.
Here are two screenshots of Cubicle cover page, header, footer, and text box building blocks with the Office and Equity themes respectively:
Figure 6 Document with Office Theme
Figure 7 Same Document with Equity Theme
All of the built-in building blocks are also designed to adapt to changing page orientation, paper size, and margins as well, so you don't have to worry about rearranging your cover page if you decide to make layout adjustments to your document.
Going back to the above example of Cubicle building blocks, changing the page orientation to landscape will result in the following document:
Figure 8 Building Blocks Adapt to Document Formatting Changes
Notice that all the building blocks scale appropriately based on the page dimensions.
Building Blocks are stored in Templates
The contents of all building block galleries are stored in templates. There are several locations you can select from when choosing where to save your building block:
Word's building blocks template
Word's Normal template
Any custom template
Creating Your Own Building Blocks
There are several different types of Word Galleries that contain building blocks, from cover pages and headers to equations and watermarks. When creating your own custom building blocks, you may add the building block to any of the Word Galleries. There are several ways you can accomplish the task of adding a building block to one of the Word Galleries:
Select content and save selection to specific gallery
Select content and hit Alt-F3
Select content and open the Quick Parts Gallery
Option 1: Select content and save selection to specific gallery
Every gallery that contains building blocks has a command that allows you to save a selection directly to that specific gallery as a building block. The command is at the bottom of every gallery. Take for example the Cover Page gallery:
Figure 9 Save Selection Command in Cover Page Gallery
The command is only enabled when you have content selected. Clicking on this command will then result in the following dialog box:
Figure 10 Create New Building Block dialog
In this dialog box, you can complete the name and description, gallery and category for the building block you are about to save. All these options allow you to control how the content is presented in the user interface and where the content will reside. By default, the gallery option will be the gallery from which you clicked the Save Selection command. In this case, the gallery selected is Cover Pages.
Option 2: Select content and hit Alt-F3
This brings up the same dialogue box as option one, but the default gallery selection will be Quick Parts.
Amend the various options to your choosing and save the Building Block by clicking on the OK button. Make sure you choose the appropriate template, depending upon whether or not you want the Building Block available across all documents or only in this type of document’s template.
Option 3: Select content and open the Quick Parts Gallery
Once you have selected the content you wish to save as a Building Block, open the Quick Parts drop-down and choose “Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery”. This brings up the same dialogue box as option one, but the default gallery selection will be Quick Parts.
What happened to AutoText?
AutoText itself still exists but has been somewhat superseded by the new galleries.
If you save content in the AutoText Gallery you can still begin typing the name of the entry and then tap the F3 key to complete the entry. You must type enough characters of the name of the entry to distinguish it from other autotext entries.
Also, if you type at least four (4) characters of the autotext entry name and enough characters to distinguish the entry name from other entries, a small tool tip will appear showing some information and prompting you to press the enter key if you indeed want to change the typed text to the autotext entry.
Figure 11 Autotext EntryAlternatively, the AutoText Gallery is listed under the Quick Parts Gallery, or you may add the AutoText Gallery command to your Quick Access Toolbar to access them.
Let me give an example of autotext.
If I type “left-hand-side” on the page, select it and then choose to add it to the autotext gallery with a name of LHS:
Note that this name is less than four characters in length.
If this is the only autotext entry that begins with the letter “L”, I may type an “L” (uppercase or lowercase) then press the F3 key. The “L” will be replaced with “left-hand-side”.
I may also type “lhs” and press the F3 key and it will replace “lhs” with “left-hand-side”.
Now if I go back into the building block gallery and choose the Building Block Organizer… command:
Figure 12 Building Blocks Organizer Command
Figure 13 Building Blocks Organiser Dialog
Choose the LHS entry and click on the Edit Properties… button:
Figure 14 Modify Building Block Dialog
I change the name to LeftHS. Click OK and confirm the change.
Now the name is more than four characters long something else is available. Assuming there are no other autotext entries that begin with the four characters “left”, every time I type “left” in the document, a tool tip pops up advising me that I may press enter now to change the characters “left” to “left-hand-side”. I just ignore the tip and continue typing if this is not want I want.
Figure 15 Autotext Tool Tip
On the other hand, if I have multiple entries that begin with “left”, I would have to type more characters before the tool tip will appear.
P: 1300 857 048
F: 02 4962 5102
We are a Team, We are Reliable, We are Passionate, We act with Integrity, We Care
13ing on this command will then result in the following dialog box:
Now the name is more than four characters long something else