This article reveals a handy new tool in Word 2007 that makes it easy to quickly add professional formatting options such as cover pages and headers and footers into your documents.
One of the new features of Microsoft Word 2007 is its Building
Blocks tool. On the face of it this looks like a simple tool for storing
repeatedly used text and adding this text to your document.
While at one level this is the case, at another level building blocks are a
lot more sophisticated than they might first appear. Word's own Building Blocks
contain some smart content creation options that make it easier than ever for
you to create and format your documents. Let's take a closer look.
If you've worked with Word
2007, you might be familiar with the new cover pages and fancy headers and
footers. These are building blocks and they are just some of the handy items you
can use to build and finish your Word documents.
Using them is as simple as clicking the Insert tab on the ribbon, next
clicking the Cover Page option (for example), and then selecting a cover
page for your document. Each cover page has a name that describes its style
remember this as you can coordinate other building blocks with it.
Even if you are not positioned at the beginning of the document when you
select your cover page it will be placed at the beginning of the document
because that's the logical place for it to appear. If you change your mind and
select a different cover page the existing one will be removed and the new one
will replace it. As you can see, building blocks are pretty intelligent.
Once you've added your cover page, you can add a header and footer to the
document. Click in the first text page of your document and, for example, choose
Insert > Footer and select a footer for your document that has the
same style name as the cover page. You can also add a header in a similar way.
While you don't have to use the same style of header and footer as you used for
the cover page it makes better sense if you do so because they are designed to
On the cover page and in the header and footer you have inserted you will see
there are prompts to type information such as the title of the document and the
year. When you click and type the text you will find that anywhere that prompt
appeared in any of the building blocks, your text will appear.
You may also find that some
information already appears in the building block page (such as your name). This
text is inserted based on information that Word knows about you. To see what
this is and edit it if necessary, choose the Office button, and click Prepare,
Building blocks are also linked to the current document theme, so if you
choose the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon and change the Theme, the
look of the cover page and any building block elements will change to match the
color and font style of that theme.
In addition, the building block elements are smart enough to adjust to
different page layouts. So, if you click the Page Layout tab on the ribbon and
change the orientation of the document from Portrait to Landscape, or vice
versa, the cover page and other building block elements will resize
automatically to fit the new page dimensions.
One other handy building block type that comes with Word is the textbox
building block. There are two types of each style, one of which is a quote and
the other is a sidebar. You can use these to place pull quotes and sidebar text
in your documents that reflect the overall style of the rest of the document.
If building blocks were
limited to just these elements that Word 2007 provides you with, they would be
very useful indeed. There is more to the feature, however, and you can create
your own building blocks which Word somewhat confusingly calls both Quick
and Building blocks
. Any piece of text or image that you use
frequently can be created as a quick part and added to a document very quickly.
To make a quick part element, first create and format the text as you want it
to look every time you insert it into a document and from the Insert tab select
the Quick Parts dropdown list. Click the Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery
option. Type a name for the Building Block this will be what you will click on
to select it and to add it to your document so make it self explanatory.
Select the Gallery to attach the building block to. This will typically be
the Quick Parts gallery. You then select the Category of building block
everything can be saved to the General category or you can create subcategories
by clicking the Create New Category option and type a new category name. Using
Categories to organize the building blocks makes sense if you're going to create
a lot of building blocks and if they logically fall into categories such as
images, legal content, and so forth.
Type a description for the building block if it is necessary to identify what
it is and leave the Save In option set to buildingblocks.dotx as this is
where Word expects your building blocks to be stored.
In the Options area, select
whether you want the building block content to appear in line with the text, as
a new paragraph, or as a new page when it is inserted into the document. Then OK
to create your building block.
Building blocks are stored in such a way that they are available to all Word
documents you create. So, to insert a building block into any Word document,
click in the position in the document where the building block text or image is
to appear, choose Insert and Quick Parts.
In the dialog you can click the building block to insert if it appears in the
list or click the Building Blocks Organizer to gain access to all the
building blocks available for use. In the Organizer you can order the building
blocks by name, gallery, category, or template name to make them easier to find.
Click to select the one to add to your document and click the Insert
button to insert it into the document.
As you can see, building blocks can make it easy for your to insert text and
images that you use frequently into your documents and they can make it easy to
add professional formatting options such as cover pages and headers and footers
into your documents.
Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly
for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa,
UK and Australia. She blogs at http://www.projectwoman.com/blogger.html.
Adapted from winplanet.com.
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