Office 2007: Building Word Docs With Building Blocks

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.







» Built-In
Building Blocks


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
match.

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,
Properties.

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.

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