Moving Building Blocks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 11, 2017)


Gay has a number of building blocks defined, all of which are stored in her Normal template. When the Normal template is replaced by her IT department, all of Gay's custom building blocks are wiped out. She wonders if there is a way to transfer building blocks from one template to another so that she can save her building blocks.

Fortunately, there is a way to do just this—use the Building Blocks Organizer (Insert | Text | Quick Parts | Building Blocks Organizer). Select the building block you want to move, click Edit Properties, and simply change the "Save In" location.

Now, that being said, there is probably an easier way to manage your building blocks. Microsoft allows building blocks to be stored in any template you desire, but has designated a special template exactly for this use. Instead of storing your building blocks in the Normal template, store them in the special Building Blocks.dotx template. In order to move building blocks to this template, use the Building Block Organizer as previously noted, but change the "Save In" location to Building Blocks.dotx.

If you choose to store your building blocks in Building Blocks.dotx, then there is less chance for them to be overwritten when your IT department updates the Normal template. If, however, your IT department automatically replaces Building Blocks.dotx when they update your system, then you will still be left with the approach of moving individual building blocks, as described earlier. (Of course, you could avoid that problem all together if you put your building blocks in a custom template and make sure you attach that template to all your documents.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3873) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 1 + 8?

2016-10-26 19:03:56

Sharon Fry

For George and others reading this page:

Changing the Attached Template
by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 20, 2015) - Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Changing the Attached Template
by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 18, 2015) - Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you.

2016-02-22 15:23:59


You note at the end of the article that it is possible to put building blocks in a custom template and attach that template to documents. How do you do that? Could you provide a link for instructions in that process?

2015-03-15 17:54:32

Thierry Hoornaert

I have an automated template with 100+ AutoText entries created in Word 2003. This template works fine in recent versions of Word.
But adding or modifying these entries in this file with recent versions of Word seems impossible. Converting the template to .dotm makes the entries corrupt.
Can you help?

2014-10-22 21:50:27


Dear Mr Allen Wyatt

Thank you for your may tips :-)

Is it possible to let Word 2013 store the folder "Document Building Blocks" with the file "Building Blocks.dotx" and "Built In Building Blocks.dotx" and the other files etc. on another location on the computer, like it is possible with templates?

I would like to store the folder on my OneDrive, to get an Automatic back-up.

Kind Regards

2013-10-23 09:01:15


I find it helpful to periodically back up my Office config files to another location in order to address these types of issues. These include not only the Normal.dotx file (located in in C: Usersusername AppDataRoamingMicrosoftTemplates for Office 2010)and Excel Personal.xlsb (C: Usersusername AppDataRoamingMicrosoftExcelXLSTART), but also the OfficeUI files maintained by Office 2010 to define the Quick Access Toolbars (QATs) for the various office programs, contained in your C: UsersusernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftOffice directory. (You may be unable to see the directories in which these files reside unless you have your folder options set to show hidden files and folders.)

It's also a good idea to have these storeed elsewhere when you upgrade computers, in order to restore the Office configuration.

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