What, you might ask, are building blocks and why would I use them? 

Let me first ask you a question. Do you need to use the same paragraph of text in lots of different documents – perhaps in a disclaimer or privacy policy? Or perhaps you need to include the same cover page or header in a weekly report?

This is where building blocks come in.  Building blocks enable you to add reusable content to your documents. Cover pages, AutoText entries, headers and footers, and watermarks can all be a type of building block.

So, to answer the second part of that hypothetical question I asked at the start – you would use building blocks to insert the same content over and over in different documents, saving time and ensuring consistency.

Before we go any further, I should also mention Quick Parts and galleries. Building blocks are assigned to a gallery, or category (Word has more than 30 building block galleries). One of the pre-defined galleries is known as Quick Parts, found on the Insert Ribbon. All the building blocks assigned to the Quick Parts gallery are displayed here and can be quickly used within your document. The Quick Parts button also gives access to the Building Blocks gallery for further options.

Let’s take a look at using building blocks to create and modify a cover page.

Cover Pages

When creating a report or long document, you may want to add an attractive cover page showing the title, author and abstract and the date for example. Luckily, Microsoft Word comes equipped with several standard cover page templates. You can also customise the cover pages and save them to the Building Blocks Cover Page Gallery so they are available to use again.

Insert a Cover Page

From the Insert Ribbon click on Cover Page and select one of the pre-set designs.

Once selected, the cover page is added to the document ready to be customised. Most cover pages will give you a space for the title of the document. Some will also have placeholders for the date or year, the company name and company address or the author. Simply click and type into the fields offered.

You will end up with a professional-looking cover page.

Modify a Cover Page and Save for Future Use

To change the look of a cover page, simply insert one into the document as a starting point and make the changes you require.

Let’s say that, on the cover page above, I want to change the green areas to match my branding. Simply click on each shape element and change the format. Or select any text element and change the formatting.

Once the cover page is looking how you want, select the whole of the page. Then click on the Cover Pages button and choose the Save Selection to Cover Pages Gallery. In this example, I have changed the colour and the picture adding in the logo for tomorrow’s VA.

As you click on Save to Cover Pages Gallery you will be presented with a dialogue box where you can name the cover page, add a description and decide where it is stored.

Insert the Modified Cover Page

When you are ready to add your cover page, click on the Insert Ribbon, click the drop-down next to Cover Pages and scroll to the bottom. Your custom cover pages appear here.

Remove a Cover Page from a Document

Click the dropdown underneath Cover Pages on the Insert Ribbon. Select Remove Current Cover Page.

Delete a Cover Page from the Gallery

Right-click on the cover page you wish to delete and select Organise and Delete.

In the Building Blocks Organiser, make sure the cover page you wish to delete is selected and then click the delete button.

Confirm the deletion in the dialogue box that appears.

Can you think of times when using a building block would save you time and generally make your life easier? Why don’t you have a go at using the built-in building blocks or at creating and saving your own for your headers, footers, cover pages and standard text? I’m sure you’ll find it useful.

To learn more about Microsoft Word and how you can speed up routine tasks, take a look at my Microsoft Word Courses, Work Smarter with Style for Windows and Work Smarter with Style for Mac  and Create Lead Magnets and eBooks in Word

Or take a look at the HUB and have access to ALL my courses including any new ones that are added. Always the best value.

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Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

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I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

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