Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding building blocks, part of Word 2007: Forms in Depth.
Word 2007 has a new set of tools called Building Blocks. We can use Building Blocks in combination with the Building Block Gallery content control to create some amazing forms that provide built-in galleries of choices for our users. Let me spend a minute reviewing building blocks. If you'd like to know more about how to create and save building blocks than I show you here, I'd refer you to the lynda.com Online Training Library where there is a Microsoft Word 2007 course that will cover Building Blocks for you, but let's take a look at how a Building Block works.
If we go to the Insert tab, many of the new features in Word 2007 are actually Building Block galleries. For example, each of these cover pages is a building block that was created and is saved as an entire page. We have Footer Building Blocks, and we have Text Box Building Blocks, Custom Text Boxes that you can use to create publications. These are really nice for custom handouts and newsletters and that kind of thing. Equations are also a kind of building block, and then there's a Quick Parts Gallery that includes building blocks as well and this is what we're going to take advantage of.
If you want to create a building block, what you do is you enter some information, you select it, and then you either choose to Save it to a specific gallery, or you can hold Alt and hit F3 and open the Create New Building Block dialog box and then choose the Gallery that you would like this particular building block to appear in. Give it a good title; say how it should be created. Content, content in a paragraph, or content in its own page like a cover page ,and then say OK and it will be saved.
So, for example, I created some building blocks earlier. One of the building blocks I created was a header, just so you can remember how that works. Here are all the built-in building blocks, but here's a new header that I created that has a photo and a table in it. It opens, because it's a header it opens the Header and Footer Tools dialog box. So this is the kind of thing that we can do with building blocks. In forms though, oh my, gosh! I have three different choices of contract language about a location. So what I'm going to do is create three separate building blocks one for each one and the effect then looks like this.
I tell my user to go and choose one and they simply choose whether it'll be a client location, a training facility or a company facility that just drops in. I have another building block. It's a materials list and it's the same way. I have two different choices. I simply click and it's automatically inserted. This is how building blocks broadly work. I have a form. I want to insert some boilerplate text. Well first, perhaps I have a signature block that would go at the bottom of the letter of agreement, that I'd use over and over and over again, similar to the header that I showed you a few minutes ago.
So I select I create that signature block once, select it, save it in the Quick Parts Building Block Gallery, and then when I'm ready to insert it, I simply go to Insert > Quick Parts, choose it and paste it into the document. Now the second possibility is that I have a Building Block Gallery that contains those three choices for a training location, the two choices for materials, the five choices for an introductory paragraph, and so on. When I open up the gallery then, I can point a content control to this specific gallery and to items in the category that's Training Facility, for example.
The user then can look at each of these items and say, which one do I want? Finally, chose one and insert it. What ensures that Word will provide these three choices, and only these three out of a gallery that might have 50 building blocks, is that these three items share a common category. Building Block Quick Parts, tied to this content control here, provide an absolutely incredible way for our users to quickly create letters of agreement, contract proposals, anything else that has boilerplate text that we will use over and over again.
Prerequisite Course: Word 2007 Essential Training
- Customizing pre-built Microsoft.com templates
- Inserting content controls
- Saving a form as a template
- Troubleshooting form issues
- Understanding Building Blocks
- Creating a schema using the Content Control Toolkit