autotext/quick parts/building blocks.

If you used Autotext in MS Word 2003 or earlier, it’s one of the first questions you’ll have:

“Does Word still have Autotext?”

The answer? YES.

What’s the next question?

“WHERE is it? I can’t find it anywhere!”

I know.

Autotext has been renamed. reorganized. buried. Some refer to it as QuickParts. or Building Blocks. or both. But forget names. Let’s cut to the chase:

Alt+F3 and F3.

“Keystrokes?” the die hard mouse people whine ask?

(To you mouse people, go ahead, use the mouse. Click the “Insert” Ribbon, then click the Quick Parts dropdown, then . . . who am I kidding? I’m not typing up mouse instructions for this. sorry)

For you long time Autotext users, the good news is that Microsoft left in the legacy keystrokes for this feature.

Quick and Easy.
To CREATE an Entry:
1. Select the text you never want to type again, whether you open a document which contains that text or whether you type it from scratch – select it.

mswordbuildingblocktext
2. Press “Alt+F3” and the following dialog box will appear showing the first few words of the selected text in the “Name” line: mswordbuildingblockautofill
3. Type the “nickname” for this snippet of text – a short word you would RATHER type. (since it’s already selected/highlighted, you don’t have to erase what’s already there, just type your nickname (in this case “blcn”) and the original text will be replaced.)
mswordbuildingblocknickname

4. Press Enter. Done.

To PLAY an Entry – Option 1, Legacy F3 Method:
1. Begin typing the nickname for the text snippet you want to insert.
2. After 2 or 3 letters, press “F3” and the nickname you typed will be replaced by the text snippet you saved, formatting, spacing and all. Just like always.

To PLAY an Entry – Option 2, Visual Prompt:
1. Begin typing the nickname for the text snippet you want to insert.
2. After you’ve typed 4 letters of your nickname, MS Word will prompt you (see below).
msbuildingblockprompt
If you press “Enter” your nickname will be replaced with the corresponding building block text. If you press enter, tab or keep typing, MS Word will assume you mean to type those letters and it won’t replace them with the building block text.

If you want Word to visually prompt you to press the ENTER key to PLAY your entry as soon as it recognizes the nickname, make sure you (a) give it a name that is at least 4 characters long and (2) make it a unique name – NOT a real word you might really want to type. If it’s a real word, it WILL be replaced with your saved Autotext text snippet if you press enter, whether you want it replaced or not.