Building Blocks in Microsoft Word 2010

If you’ve ever inserted one of the prefab Word elements into your document (Header, Footer, Cover Page, etc.), you’ve been using something called a Building Block. A nice thing about Building Blocks is that they maintain a common theme, i.e. there’s a Cubicles Cover Page, Header, Textbox, and so on. What you may not be aware of is that you can create your own Building Blocks. Let’s take a look at the basics of using a Building Block.

Create the Building Block

Odds are you’ve already created a Building Block; you just haven’t saved it as such. Think about the things you commonly insert into a document. Maybe it’s a disclaimer, or your contact information (consider an Outlook signature). You probably cut and paste between documents. A Building Block will eliminate the middle-man (and trying to find the original document).

Anything you can select in Word can be saved as a Building Block. And that’s just how you do it. Building Blocks will maintain any formatting you’ve applied; bold, centering, or any option.

  1. Locate (or create) what you want to use as a Building Block. This includes applying any formatting.
  2. Select what you want to include.
  3. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, select Quick Parts.
  4. In the drop down, select Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery

  5. The Create New Building Block dialog box appears
  6. Name the Building Block. Word will try to pick up whatever text is selected and suggest that.
  7. Select the gallery where you want the Building Block to display (if you’ve created a footer, you can have it display in the Footer gallery). For the most part, you’ll probably just leave it in the Quick Parts gallery.
  8. Give it a category. By default, any new Building Blocks are categorized as General, which can get very old very quickly. You can create a new category:
    1. Click the Category drop down
    2. Select Create New Category
    3. Give your new category a more meaningful name and click OK.
  9. Click OK.

Use the Building Block

  1. In your document, click where you want to insert the Building Block.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Quick Parts.
  3. Select the Building Block you want to use.

Edit the Building Block

This gets a little tricky, but not too much. In general, if you want to edit a Building Block, you edit the Building Block in the document, and resave it under the original name.

  1. Insert the Building Block (if it’s not already there).
  2. Edit and/or Format it as necessary.
  3. Select what you want to include.
  4. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, select Quick Parts.
  5. In the drop down, select Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery
  6. Give your revised Building Block the same name and same category as the existing entry and click OK.
  7. You’ll get the following
  8. Click OK.

Work with the Building Block

Building Blocks can be a really efficient way of dealing with standard text (or graphics, for that matter). You could quickly create a boilerplate document out of standard content. In the future, we’ll take a look at how you can make all this even more efficient.

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