Let’s face it, a lot of the text in legal documents has been recycled from previous documents. If you’re tired of searching for then copying and pasting common elements like signature blocks or notary acknowledgments from old documents, only to have to correct formatting or reset client-specific data, you’re going to love Quick Parts.
Make Your Own Reusable Building Blocks in Word
Quick Parts is part of Microsoft Word’s Building Blocks feature, which is where Word stores all sorts of built-in reusable design and data elements like page numbering, watermarks, text boxes, tables, headers and footers. But you can make your own reusable elements with just a few clicks.
The next time you find yourself looking for a prior example of something you use a lot in your documents — say a notary acknowledgment form — try this:
- Copy an example of the form from a prior document
- Open a brand new document (either using Ctrl-N or File >New >Blank Document)
- Paste the example into the blank document.
- Clean up the font and paragraph formatting to match the Normal Style (that’ll prevent formatting headaches later), and genericize the date- and client-specific information.
Once you have a clean version:
- Select all the text with either your mouse or keyboard (Ctrl-A will select all text)
- Go to the Insert tab, click Quick Parts, then choose Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.
You’ll get a dialog box asking you to fill in some information:
- Name your Quick Part something that makes sense to you.
- For category, I suggest creating your own personal category (starting with the @ symbol) to segregate your Quick Parts from Word’s built-in ones. Also, this will ensure that your Quick Parts always show up at the top of the list.
- For this example, I’m going to set the Option to Insert Content Into Its Own Paragraph, since this isn’t a phrase that would be inserted into the middle of a sentence.
Click OK to complete.
Using Your New Building Block
The next time you need this form inserted into your document, just go back to the Insert tab, click Quick Parts, and you’ll see this form listed. Click it, and voila! You’ve just saved the time and effort it would have taken to go digging through prior documents to find something to copy and paste.
By the way, Quick Parts is available in Outlook, too. So, if you have some common email responses or forms, just open a new email, copy the text into it, then save it the same way you do in Word.
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