Understanding Building Blocks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 9, 2017)


Word includes a laborsaving feature known as Building Blocks. They are, in many ways, analogous to the AutoText feature available in versions of Word prior to Word 2007. Their capabilities are greatly expanded, however. The purpose of building blocks is to allow you to create reusable chunks of content. This capability can be a real boon in some types of writing, particularly if you work in a business (such as the legal field) where your content can be used over and over again.

There are two other terms you need to understand in order to get a handle on Building Blocks. The first is Quick Parts and the second is a gallery. Building Blocks can be assigned to different galleries. Basically, a gallery is a way to categorize the Building Blocks you create. There are 35 Building Block galleries defined in Word, and you can use macros to create your own custom galleries.

One of the pre-defined galleries (or, again, categories) is known as Quick Parts. This is a special gallery that is used to define those Building Blocks you want displayed in the pull-down menu that appears when you display the Insert tab of the ribbon and click on Quick Parts. All of the Building Blocks assigned to the Quick Parts gallery are displayed at the top of the menu where they can be quickly used within your document.

There are many, many Building Blocks already defined within Word. You can add to the built-in Building Blocks, as you desire. The best way to get a handle on what Building Blocks are available is to display the Building Block Organizer. There you can (for lack of a better word) organize your Building Blocks in any way desired. You display the Building Block Organizer by clicking the Quick Parts tool (again, on the Insert tab of the ribbon) and choosing Building Block Organizer from the bottom of the choices presented.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8220) 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 5 + 9?

2017-06-09 15:44:28


In my experience, if you want to use the building blocks in macros, you need to assign them to the Autotext gallery. This is the only gallery "visible" to VBA.

If I'm wrong, please enlighten me.

2016-07-21 09:13:22


This is the best explanation I've seen regarding the interrelationships among Building Blocks, Quick Parts, and Galleries. Other, more lengthy, articles don't tie the concepts together.

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