How to Use Building Blocks and Quick Parts in Microsoft Officer

Woman standing with computer looking at blocks on a table

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You probably know about templates for Word and Publisher, but what about a kind of "mini-template" called Quick Parts or Building Blocks? You can find several types of pre-made document elements to emphasize your message available in both Publisher and Word.

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Types of Quick Parts in Microsoft Word

Hand assembling building blocks
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In Microsoft Word, select Insert > Quick Parts. From there, you will see four main categories, so let's look at those before jumping into my "best of" slideshow:

  • AutoText: Save words or phrases to replace smaller commands; the idea is, you can type an abbreviation or shorter version of a phrase and the program will automatically change them to the full, longterm or phrase.
  • Document Property: Use these popular custom document elements to save time: such as author, company information, or keywords. 
  • Field: Insert spaces for authors to fill in or a field that updates itself, such as page numbers, section numbers, total document editing time, and other properties.
  • Building Blocks Organizer: If you have a document piece you use often, why re-create the wheel every time you want to include it in a new document, and why hunt down another document to copy it from? Instead, save it this library; or, use some of the ready-made document building block elements featured in this slideshow.
  • Bonus: You'll also notice an option to save document elements you have created to the Building Blocks gallery, which really opens up the possibilities!

The following slideshow suggests a few favorites from among these categories that you may want to start with, but once you start looking at the possibilities, it could change how you approach document design.

The Office Programs That Include Quick Parts

Look for these ready-made tools in Word and Publisher. Other programs like Excel and PowerPoint may offer pre-made themes or document elements, but not organized in a Building Blocks or Quick Parts library. It's important to note that Publisher calls its pre-made document elements "Page Parts."

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Best Cover Page Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Best Cover Page Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

Adding a cover page to your file may add polish. You can find Cover page templates through File > New, but you can also insert a design from the Building Blocks gallery in Word or Publisher.

In Word, select Insert > Quick Parts > Building Blocks Organizer > Sort by Gallery > Cover Page.

Then search for Motion, as shown here, or other cover pages that may be more appropriate for your file.​

In Publisher, select Insert > Page Parts then search fin the ​Cover Pages category.

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Best Pull Quote Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Pull Quote Building Blocks for Microsoft Word

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

Text quote boxes like these are a fun way to highlight information from your document. Readers like to scan files for main ideas or special points of interest.

The ones we chose here are named as follows:

  • Slice Quote: With modern line accents, this draws attention to your point or take-away.
  • Austin Quote: This option features a bold top and bottom border for emphasis.
  • Filigree Quote: Your fancy message can go here! Find several fun options like this one.

Even though the image here shows these examples in blue, you can change text and graphic colors. You can also change font, borders, alignment, fill color or pattern, and all sorts of other customizations. 

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Best Sidebar Text Quote Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Best Sidebar Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

Sidebar quotes are an even more dramatic way to split up your document page, increasing readability. Luckily, these are pre-made in Microsoft Word

Select Insert > Quick Parts > Building Blocks Organizer > Sort by Gallery > Text Quotes. From there, you may want to start with those we show here or search for others with the look and feel you are looking for.

  • Motion Sidebar: A dark design that provides contrast to your main document message.
  • Facet Sidebar: This graphic quote is available for the right or left side of the document.
  • Viewmaster Sidebar: This more diminutive option is one of several more subtle options.

In Publisher, find similar options under Insert > Page Parts.

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Best Sign-up or Response Form Page Parts for Microsoft Publisher

Best Sign-up or Response Form Page Parts for Microsoft Publisher

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

This ready-made Wide Sign-up Form is just one of many you can find in Microsoft Publisher.

This is a Page Part you can find under the Insert menu.

As you browse these designs, you'll notice how much formatting has been done for you.

Customize text and move elements as well. This is one of those quick-design secrets that can make all the difference. 

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Best Page Number Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Best Page Number Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

You may already know how to insert pre-formatted page numbers, but here are a few additional styles you may not have seen before.

Find these by selecting Insert > Quick Parts > Building Blocks Organizer > Sort by Gallery > Page Number.  

For example, in this image, we show the following Quick Parts numbering styles:

  • Rounded Rectangle: Use this modern page number as a colored accent, or change its design scheme to black and white. Either way, this can add interest to the look of your document. 
  • Accent Bar 1: This is a page number style you can use for professional designs
  • Circle: Choose a bolder page number style like this for even more snap. This is a fun way to make your documents pop.

Again, these are just a few options you can choose from through the Building Blocks gallery, so take a look so you know what is available.

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Best Watermark Building Blocks and Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Best Watermark Building Blocks and Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

Watermarks can feature any message you want, but you also may want to use the pre-made designs available in Microsoft Word's Building Blocks gallery. 

Select Insert > Quick Parts > Building Blocks Organizer, then sort the Gallery column alphabetically to find all Watermark options.

Shown here is the diagonal Urgent watermark. Other options include: ASAP, Draft, Sample, Do Not Copy, and Confidential. For each of these watermark versions, you can find both horizontal and diagonal designs.

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Best Table of Contents Page Parts for Microsoft Publisher or Word

Best Table of Contents Building Blocks and Page Parts for Microsoft Word and Publisher

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

You can find pre-made Tables of Contents in Microsoft Word or Publisher. This can be a big help since longer documents already require plenty of work. The Table of Contents makes for a better reading experience, and with a trick like this, the document creation experience might be great as well.

So, in Microsoft Publisher, select Insert > Page Parts then search for the Tables of Contents category. 

Look for sidebar designs like this one to include in a brochure or full-page layouts.

Also, in Microsoft Word, find similar options under Insert > Quick Parts > Building Blocks Organizer. Then, sort the Gallery column from A to Z. In the Table of Contents section, you should find several options that could work for your document design.

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Best Header and Footer Building Blocks and Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Best Header and Footer Building Blocks and Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

Your header and footer tell others a lot of important information, from navigation to document properties. Learn about these Quick Part options for making these look and function their best.

For example, in this image, we show a few of our favorites:

  • Motion (Odd Page) Header: As you might guess, you can choose an odd or even version of this dynamic header design.
  • Viewmaster Vertical Footer: This footer is actually on the side! Pretty cool.

Both of these are bolder options, so keep in mind that you can find options that are more subdued or streamlined.

That's what makes these galleries so useful--you can choose one that works for the message at hand.

In Microsoft Word, select Insert > Quick Parts > Building Blocks Organizer, then sort by gallery to select from Header or Footer options.

In Microsoft Publisher, select Insert > Page Parts then search for possibilities under the Header section. 

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Best Product or Service "Story" Page Parts for Microsoft Publisher

Best Product or Service "Story" Page Parts for Microsoft Publisher

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

Let Microsoft Publisher help you tell your product or service story, using Page Parts.

Professionals turn to Microsoft Publisher for a range of marketing documents, among other uses. It makes sense that this program has some document components already created for you.

The Story gallery provides ready-made tools that draw people into what you're offering while describing a few deeper details.

Insert > Page Parts > Stories. In the example shown here, we chose one of several Flourish designs. Find one that works for you!

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Best Equation Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Best Equation Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

Math lovers have a lot of tools to help capture complex notation in Microsoft Word.

Select Insert > Quick Parts > Building Blocks Organizer. From there, sort the Gallery column alphabetically to find all available Equations.

In this example, we show Trig Identity 1.

Other options include such equations as the Fourier Series, Pythagorean Theorem, Area of a Circle, Binomial Theorem, Taylor Expansion, and more.

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Best Table Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Best Table Building Blocks or Quick Parts for Microsoft Word

Cindy Grigg/Microsoft

Select Insert > Quick Parts > Building Blocks Organizer > Sort by Gallery.  

Here is a versatile sidebar calendar style you can customize for your document or project (look for Calendar 4).

Other options included Tabular, Matrix, and other table styles. 

If you have a lot of tables in your document, you may need to investigate Page Breaks and Section Breaks.