Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Storing AutoText Entries with a Document.

Storing Building Block Entries with a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 10, 2016)


Rob has developed a document that contains a Word table that is used as a form for managing a project. Two cells in the table contain drop-down lists of alternatives using a Building Block entry. On Rob's machine, the drop-down lists work perfectly. When he transfers the document to a network drive so it is accessible to others in his office, the drop-down lists are no longer available. Rob would like this to work on other machines and is wondering what the trick is.

The trick is to understand that Building Block entries are not stored in documents; they are stored in templates. The default template in which they are stored is Building Blocks.Dotx. Since this template is available only on your machine, the Building Block entries required for the form are available only on your machine and not on others.

The solution, then, is to create a new template that will be used in conjunction with your form document. Store this template on the network drive and make sure that the form document has this template attached. Then, save the Building Block entries necessary to the form in the special template. To save a Building Block in the special template, follow these steps:

  1. Press Alt+F3. Word displays the Create New Building Block dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Create New Building Block dialog box.

  3. Fill in the various fields of the dialog box, as desired.
  4. Depending on which version of Word you're using, use the Store In or Save In drop-down list to indicate you want the Building Block stored in your special template.
  5. Click on OK to save the changes and exit the dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10340) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Storing AutoText Entries with a Document.

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?

2017-02-27 06:51:01


Ivy, I was also mystified when that happened to me. It seems Word uses 'lazy loading' for building blocks - a template must have a building block in it, before Word will load it as a source for building blocks :)
The workaround is to open the template you want to use, create a building block in that template - it can be just a small throwaway thing - and save that.
Now if you put the template in your Word Start folder, so that Word loads it as a global add-in, that template should appear in the Save in dropdown.

To make this template available to your colleagues, put it on a shared drive, and ask them to copy it to their Word start folders.

Hope that helps.

2017-01-10 10:34:05

ivy tillman

I'm a little lost...

i created a template separate from my form called bb4ivy.dotx, saved in my custom templates folder. When i open the create new building block control, this template is not available in the Save in dropdown.

2nd, how do i attach the special template to the form: just put it in the same folder, i.e. make sure they are together?

Thank you.

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