Join Mariann Siegert for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding building blocks, part of Building Blocks and Macros in Word.
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Beginning with Word's version 2007, Microsoft added a slick new feature called Building Blocks. The term Building Blocks comes from the functionality behind this feature. That is, the ability to reuse parts or blocks of information to more quickly build a document. A building block can contain many different types of information such as text, graphics, shapes, tables, fields, and even other building blocks.
A building block can be one word, a paragraph, or even pages of text. A building block can be saved as a header, a footer, or even a customized table of contents based upon field codes. The main point of building blocks is that they can save you gobs of time and energy creating your documents. So let's begin taking a look at how. There are two main types of building blocks; there is built-in building blocks, or those that were created by Microsoft and come with Word, and then those that you create yourself which are custom-defined building blocks.
Let's take a look at those that you create yourself first. I am going to go to Insert, and Header, and I see a letterhead here for EC Letterhead. If I click on it, it inserts it into my header. This is an example of a custom building block that was saved into the Header Gallery, it's custom letterhead created for my company Explore California. Well, it's a pretended company, but it's a company nonetheless. All we have to do to insert it is click, and here it is! It's pretty easy.
Now, I am going to close this, and I'll start typing-in Ann E, as soon as I press the E, it comes up with the person and their address. It says press Enter to insert. So I will press Enter and there is my building block that I've saved in here for a particular person. Next, I'll start to type-in the RE: line, or Regarding Line, and I type-in RE and I can press F3 on my keyboard. It puts in the RE: line, as we call it out there in the field, and it also puts in my formatting for me.
Then, I'll start to type-in Dear: and voila! I get another tool-tip that says Dear : Press ENTER to Insert) and I'll accept that as my next building block, and I'll start to type-in content. I get a tool-tip for my building block and I just press Enter to insert. Next, I need to put-in a signature line. So I'll put-in Ms for Mariann Siegert, and start to type sig, and there is my tool-tip for my signature line and I'll press Enter to accept.
And last but not least, I need to add my footer, and I'll type-in foote and it's not coming up, so I'll press F3, and it inserts my footer into the bottom of the document. I probably need to address that a little, and there we go! So this whole document was built with custom building blocks. Now, it's not that you probably want to do this, in this case, instead of building this one by one, you probably want to save this as a template, and then just insert whatever text it is that you need in the middle here.
If you're interested in learning more about building templates in Word, there is a course called Building Templates in Word here in the Lynda.com Library that I also teach. As far as the built-in building blocks go, you may have already used some of the building blocks that have come with Word as there is more than 50 built-in building blocks that can be found across 15 galleries. These building block galleries can be used for everyday tasks that are common to most of us. For example, a common task might be to insert a page number into footer of a document.
So Microsoft created several different building block versions to accomplish this task, and organize them into four different galleries. So, if I look underneath of Insert, and I go to Page Number, you have a gallery called Top of Page, Bottom of Page, Page Margins, and Current Position. So, there are 15 galleries, and that's 4 of them right there. For example, a common task might be to insert a page number into a footer of a document.
Built-in building blocks are visually displayed as thumbnail images in galleries. That way, you can preview them prior to inserting them into your document. So I can see here Plain Number 1, and I can see what it looks like. It just has a little number 1 here, Accent Bar 1 has a 1 with a little dash in the middle in page, Accent Bar 2 looks a little bit different, and it's got page in front of the page number. So you could see what they look like before inserting them. In addition to these four page galleries, the remaining 11 building block galleries can be found scattered throughout Word.
For example, from the Insert Ribbon, you have Cover Page Gallery over here on the left side, and one of the ingenious things having to do with Building Blocks feature is that each gallery comes prepackaged with code that tells Word where to insert the building block. Selecting a cover page from this gallery will always insert the building block at the beginning of the document, which is where a cover page should go. Next, you also have underneath of the Insert Ribbon, Headers.
We've seen this a little bit, but you can see each one of these, you have a little preview for each one. This is a header gallery. You have the footer gallery. You have the page number gallery which we've seen, there are four galleries here. You also have the textbox gallery, and even an equation gallery, which is pretty funky. Look at this. Although, I think using equations may not be as common a task for most of us, but it's cool nonetheless. From the References Tab, you have Table of Contents.
So, even your Table of Contents is built from building blocks. From the Page Layout Ribbon, you have built-in watermarks. As you can see, building blocks are not only handy, but can save you an enormous amount of time building your documents. I'm really excited to show you how easy they are to use, modify, create, and save, and we'll be doing this all throughout the rest of our upcoming movies.
- Using built-in and custom building blocks
- Adding power utilizing building block content controls
- Using building blocks and macros together
- Recording, playing, and pausing macros
- Saving macro-enabled documents and templates
- Employing macros and field codes together
- Assigning keyboard shortcuts and buttons to macros
- Editing and combining macros
- Getting started with VBA code