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In my first blog post, I gave an overview of some of the concepts with respect to building blocks and several readers commented with questions/concerns with regard to the management of building blocks. I felt like this was a large enough topic that it was worth dedicating a post to. There are 2 aspects of management that I will cover in this post. First, I want to share a little bit about file level management/organization of building blocks and second, I will talk about sharing building blocks with other and within an organization.
By default, there is a file called "Building Blocks.dotx" in your user application data folder (in Vista its "C:/Users/<<username>>/AppData/Roaming/Microsoft/Document Building Block"). This is where all of the built-in building blocks are saved, and it is also the default file that new building blocks are saved to. Whenever you open up one of the building block galleries, Word loads this document. As Stefan mentioned in his comment, there are a lot of building blocks in this file, so it's easy to get them mixed up. And, this also makes it difficult to share building blocks between users. There are a couple of different things you can do to mitigate this. One of the easiest things to do is add a new template to the document building blocks folder. This works because Word doesn't just load Building Blocks.dotx, but instead loads all the templates in the document building blocks folder. You can open a new blank document in word, then "save as" a template into that document building blocks folder. Now, when I save a building block (or auto text), I have the option of saving it to my new template. (In order to see the new template, you will need to restart Word.) Once I have done this, I can easily share my custom building blocks without sharing all the built-in content. Another hint is to use a different category for my personal building blocks. If you want this category to always appear above the built-in content, you can insert a space in from of the name (like " my building blocks") and your category will be at the top.
If you already have a bunch of personal building blocks, you can move them to a different template using the organizer. You can get to the building blocks organizer from the insert ribbon, by selecting "quick parts" and then choosing "Building Blocks Organizer…"
This opens up a dialog box that lets you view all the available building blocks. If you want to change the location of a building block, you can select it and then choose "Edit Properties." You can then drop down the "Save in:" box and pick your new template.
When you exit Word, you will be prompted with a message asking if you want to save your building blocks files. This also works to move building blocks into a document template if you are currently editing it. Unfortunately, you can't copy a building block using the organizer, though you can write a macro. The following macro inserts a building block called "Random" into a document, and then saves it to another template called "Test" and then deletes the building block from the document.
Dim objTemplate As Template
Dim objBBs As BuildingBlockEntries
Dim objBlock As BuildingBlock
Dim objBlock2 As BuildingBlock
Dim objBBTemp As Template
Dim rangeValue As Range
For Each objTemplate In Templates
If objTemplate.Name = "Building Blocks.dotx" Then
Set objBBTemp = objTemplate
Set objTemplate = ActiveDocument.AttachedTemplate
Set objBlock = objBBTemp.BuildingBlockTypes(wdTypeAutoText).Categories("General").BuildingBlocks("Random")
Set rangeValue = objBlock.Insert(Selection.Range)
Set objBlock2 = objTemplate.BuildingBlockEntries.Add(Name:="Test", Type:=wdTypeAutoText, Category:="General", Range:=rangeValue)
Koen asked about administrating building blocks in an organization. The easiest way to do this is to add value called "SharedDocumentParts" to the "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Common\General" registry key. You can set this to tell Word an additional location to look for document parts. The best thing to do is to point this at a shared network directory. That way everyone has access to the same building blocks. Also, like the Document Building Blocks folder, Word will load all the templates in this location so you can save them in many different files if you would like to. Additionally, if you are already sharing a global template within your organization, you can also save the building blocks in that template.
Stay tuned for some tips on templates and building blocks.
Hi Jodie, thank you for this article. Indeed we actually take yet another approach to separate Word's default building blocks from the users' ones: We've put Word's default BuildingBlocks.dotx as WordBuildingBlocks.dotx into the (here for the user write-protected) SharedDocumentParts folder. And on roll-out the users only get an empty BuildingBlocks.dotx (well, it has to contain at least one entry otherwise Word can't handle it) By doing this, users only have their own building blocks in their personal file and if we
decide to change / add / remove some of Word's default building blocks we can easily do this by changing them in WordBuildingBlocks.dotx. Your code will also be useful:
During rollout when migrating users we do an "save as" of the normal.dot to the personal "building blocks.dotx" to migrate the users' autotexts. Thus we have autotexts and building blocks NOT distributed over two files but in a single file for each user
(users get an empty normal.dotm without macros of course) Unfortunately on some normal.dots Word crashes during saving/converting, thus breaking the autotext migration. But for those I'll adjust now your macro to copy over all the autotexts from the normal.dot to the building blocks. Stefan
So when will the citation manager be fixed to correctly handle the Harvard style? For example, papers of the same author of the same year?
Can you do a post on numbering? I tried to customize a numbered paragraph style in Word 2007, and all the controls for the numbering are gone. In the custom numbering window, I can only set the number format and alignment. I cannot set indent, tabs, and other stuff like you could in older word versions. When I set these options via the paragraph settings, they do not "stick." In other words, if I copy and paste a paragraph using my custom numbered paragraph style, the indent and tabs get all screwed up.
"(In order to see the new template, you will need to restart Word.)" I do not have a choice of locations to store my custom building blocks, even after restarting Word. Is there a regiatry entry preventing me from seeing my newly-created custom building blocks template?
I created a custom dotx, stored it in the same directory with Building Blocks.dotx. In my macro, I include:
Templates.LoadBuildingBlocks I still get "Requested member does not exist" when I try to run this code in my macro:
ActiveDocument.AttachedTemplate.BuildingBlockEntries("CheckIt").Insert I'm developing for a client with a different installation than mine, so I want the code to run as generically as possible. -Nancy
I have tried like many others to save signatures, salutations, etc, in quick parts in Outlook. I am successful until I close outlook and reopen it. All that I have done disappears. I was able to get "autoText" to work i.e. d>F3= Dave and it will work over and over until I close Outlook and then reopen it. Again all is lost.
I have all of this in Word and it stays!
How do I save items in Quick Parts/AutoText? David
I have a building blocks.dotx file on one computer that I would like to have the custom contents copied to another computer. How do I do that?
I have started to work with Building Blocks with the "SharedDocumentParts".
When I create a block. The quick parts, when inserting, are shown double. Wich means the block is also saved locally.
What do you recommend to manage my created blocks in a clear way?
What I would prefer is some kind of windows explorer list view instead of the current management view , are there possibilities for that option?
Hi Jodie, I was wondering if there is a way to edit your building blocks once you've created them? I am just beginning my PhD and need to include the same information on a number of documents (eg project aims). It would be great if I could create these as a block and then insert them into documents as I need them but also be able to edit the blocks so that they update automatically in each document they've been inserted into (much like updating a template). Is this even possible?
Thanks heaps! Carmel.
Question: Before Word 2010, my office created numerous documents that used a macro to insert auto into them. Because auto text is not a useable function in Word 2010, I am looking for another alternative and I think building blocks may be the answer. Please provide any advice/assitance on how I would go about this.
Is there a simple way to copy the building blocks file from one computer running XP and MS Office 07 to another also running XP and MS Office 07?
Hello. I've created a vast selection of building blocks and saved them in a Word 2007 template I am sharing with my colleagues but when those with the 2010 version try to open it have only the option of being in compatibility mode or convert the file and, unfortunately, both end up not showing the quick parts to these users. Are there any known solutions?