Synchronizing Building Blocks for a Network

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 14, 2017)

2

Roger has three computers on a small computer network in his home. He wonders if there is a way to "sync" Building Block entries between the three computers so that all of them are using the exact same set of Building Blocks all the time.

There are two ways you can go about this. One is to use a third-party solution to synchronize files on all three computers. There are multiple solutions available on the Internet; a free one suggested by a WordTips reader is SyncToy, by Microsoft. It is free and available here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=15155

The program can be set to synchronize the Building Blocks.dotx file on each system at pre-defined intervals. (The Building Blocks.dotx file is where each system stores its building block entries; you should use Windows to search and discover where the file is located on each system.)

The other potential approach is to simply move the Building Blocks.dotx file to a shared network drive or to a shared folder on one computer that you leave on at all times. Make sure that each machine on the network can see the file (use Windows Explorer to determine you can get to it), and then you'll need to modify Word so that it knows to look for the template.

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the Advanced option at the left of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll through the list of options until you see the General section.
  4. Click the File Locations button. Word displays the File Locations dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The File Locations dialog box.

  6. Make sure that the Workgroup Templates specification points to the folder that contains the shared version of Building Blocks.dotx.
  7. Click OK.

If Word, after restarting, gives you any grief about accessing the template, you may need to use the Trust Center to specify the folder as a trusted location.

If you want to still use individual Building Blocks.dotx templates on each system (so that each of them can have some private, individual building block entries), then you can still set up the shared folder and put, within it, a template that uses a different name. When your users define building blocks in the future, they can specify that they get stored in the shared template.

Of course, the acceptability of using any synchronization approach can only be determined by testing. You'll want to make sure that the changes on one system are reflected in the others, as you expect.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7017) 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 three more than 5?

2015-01-28 11:36:19

Tom Guarnera

I believe, the second, shared on a network folder, option will not work if one of the machines goes into an offline mode. For instance, a laptop that is used in another location.

The first option, using a third party tool to synch the file is probably safer, as the file will be copied to the local machine and will travel with it to any location.


2013-08-19 00:08:20

Roger A. Severson

Many thanks to David French, Jacques Raubenheimer, Jennifer Thomas, and Evert van Roon for their contributions to this tip.


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