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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
Jess Stratton here and welcome to Monday productivity pointers. This Monday on productivity, I'm focusing on a highly underutilized feature of microsoft word. That is the ability to create quick parts, which is re-usable blocks of text. It's also called AutoText. Now, with a key combination, character, word, or just from the File menu, you can quickly insert a paragraph or a home address. It can be as simple as text, or as complex as including images and tables.
I've seen medical professionals use this, including transcriptionists. Who always have to enter in complicated words and phrases, so it's perfect for them. I also use it myself, when I'm creating videos just like these. Because every video is roughly prepped the same way, I can get all my notes set up nice and tidy on a word document while I'm prepping them. So, I'm going to show you how easy it is to create your own quick parts. I've got Microsoft Word 2013 open with a few examples that I want to show you for creating quick parts and auto text.
The first example it is an address block. Now the first thing I'm going to do is Click and Drag and highlight that address block. After I got it all setup, just the way I want. I can then Click Insert on the ribbon tab, and go all the way over to the right and find quick parts. Click the drop down next to quick parts, hover your mouse over AutoText, and go all the way to the bottom of that dialog box and choose Save Selection to AutoText Gallery. You can give it a unique name if you want, you're going to save it in the auto text gallery.
You can either choose to save it in the normal template or the building blocks template, I'll talk a little bit later about why that's important and which one you'd want to do, Right now, I'm going to save it in the normal template. Finally, you have to choose how you want to insert it. If I insert the content only, it's going to leave the cursor right where the last character ends in that AutoText, which can be useful if I'm just AutoTexting one line of text. Then I can keep typing like nothing ever changed. But I can also insert the content in its own paragraph.
This basically will insert my text, and will hit the return key when it's done so that I can start typing on a new line. Finally, I can choose to insert the content in its own page. It will start fresh with a blank page for my text. So this time I'm going to have it insert the content in it's own paragraph, because I want to start typing on a new fresh line. I can click okay and my AutoText has been made. I going to scroll down a little further. Now because I saved it in the normal template I get the added benefit of just being able to start typing.
When the AutoText pops up, I hit the Enter key on my keyboard, and it pops up. If I had chosen to Save it in the building blocks, I can do the same thing. I can type a few characters, and then what I'll have to do, I wont get this pop up. Instead, I can hit the F3 key on my keyboard, and it'll essentially do the same thing. So if you saved it in the building blocks, remember it's not going to automatically come up you will have to hit that F3 key on your keyboard. However you will find that you save everything in your building blocks its a lot easier to backup and restore the file, because you only have to worry about one file instead of both the normal template and the building blocks template.
Alright, let's back up. I've got this other text here, this is a little more complex. This has tables, and some more formatting in it. This is what I use every time I prep a new video chapter for my lynda.com courses. I work on the chapter, and any notes that go along with it. So, because some of my courses can have about 60 chapters. It's time consuming to format this nice little square every single time I need to prep a new chapter. So what I do is I create this table, I get it all set up the way I want and now, I can select the entire table by clicking the crosshair on the top left hand side of the table.
I can come back to the Insert ribbon tab. Click on Quick Parts again. And this time, I'm going to choose Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery. I can call it chapter. This time, it's going to get stored in the Quick Part Gallery. And by default, it saves it in the building blocks template. Now for the options I definitely want it in its own paragraph again. So I'm going to click okay, and now, whenever I need to create a new chapter I can come up to quick parts and it pops right out. I can click, my text get entered, and now I can simply start typing.
For the last example, I'm going to select my meeting minutes template. This is what I want to use for every time I have a meeting. Now this would be better served on its own page. So I'm going to highlight this text, Choose quick parts, save selection to quick part gallery, I'll call this meeting minutes, again it saves in building blocks, and this time I'm going to have it insert the content in its own page. I can click okay, and now when I go to insert this, let's suppose I'm ready to do my meeting minutes.
I can go over to Quick Parts, click Meeting Minutes, and it puts it right at the start of a brand new page. So this is like building its own little template right in Microsoft Word. So the possibilities are endless. In the next video, I'm going to show you how to back up and move your entries to a new computer. And, as you'll find out, it's much easier when they're only in one file. So that's why, even though you have to hit the F3 key to get your AutoText to insert, it's much easier if you save everything in building blocks.
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