How to use AutoText and Quick Parts in MS Word

For several of the past iterations of Word, Microsoft has had an AutoText feature that allows users to capture a piece of text and then to use it over and over again in other parts of their documents, or even in other documents; Microsoft has added to that feature by including something it calls, Quick Parts, which are in essence, still AutoText, but offer users a little more flexibility.

To see how AutoText works with Quick Parts, type some text into a test document;  in this example, an address will be used:

Dummy Address

Next, highlight the text and then click the Insert tab on the main ribbon, then click on the Quick Parts icon:

Quick Part Icon

You should get this drop-down menu:

Quick Parts Icon DropDown

Choose Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery, you should get a popup that looks like this:

Create New Building Block PopUp

In most cases you can go with the default options, though if you wish you can change them to suit your purposes, then click on the Ok button.

Note: The Name of the Quick Part you are creating, defaults to the first line of your text.

To see the results of your efforts, move to another part of your document, then click once again on the Quick Parts icon, you should see the text you captured in a little window:

Quick Parts Showing in Window

Clicking on the Quick Parts window with your text in it causes your text to be inserted into the document at the current position.

After Inserting Quick Text

There’s an even faster way to get your Quick Parts text into your document though; move to an empty spot, and start typing the same text you have saved as Quick Parts text, you should get a little popup showing you that Word recognizes that you’re trying to type in your Quick Parts text, in this case, all you have to do is press the Enter key, and Word will fill in the rest of the Quick Parts text for you.

Note: You can also type in just a couple of the first characters of your Quick Parts text, and then press the F3 key, and Word will insert the Quick Parts text it thinks you want.

This is the quick part of Quick Parts, by clicking just one icon, you immediately see the text you’ve captured and can insert it with just one more click, or have it inserted automatically when it recognizes what you’re trying to type.

Word does still have the old AutoText feature; to use it, follow the same path as you did with the Quick Parts, only when you get the Create New Building Block popup, instead of going with the default of Quick Parts under Gallery, instead choose AutoText:

Create New Building Block - Auto Text

Then, to use it, click once again on the Quick Parts icon, then instead of choosing one of the text boxes for Quick Parts, click instead where it says AutoText, you should see a drop-down menu that looks something like this:

Insert AutoText

Clicking on where you see your saved text causes the text saved to be inserted into your document just as with Quick Parts.

The other two insertion choices from the Quick Parts menu are Document Property and Field:

Document Property and Field Menu Choices

Document Property allows you to insert text with a predefined heading into your document; to see how this works, click on it, then choose one of the available titles from the popup menu.

Document Property with Drop-Down

In this example, we’ll choose Company. After choosing it, we get this inserted into our document:

Company Field Inserted Into Document

It’s waiting for us to type the name of our company, once we do so, it looks like this:

Company Name Typed In

Then, clicking anywhere else in our document causes it to look like regular text. But, the next time we need to type in the name of our company, we can instead click on the Quick Parts icon, choose Document Property, and then Company from the drop down menu, and the company name will be inserted into the document.

The other option, Field… is used to insert predefined Word elements into your document; for example, if you wish to have the current time inserted in your document, you would click on Quick Parts, then choose Field… then choose Time from the category window. The current time will then be inserted into your document.

Insert Time

Finally, to delete Quick Parts text entries, click on the Quick Parts icon, then right click in the window that holds the text you wish to delete, then click where it says Organize and Delete:

Organize and Delete menu Choice

Then click on the Delete button at the bottom of the Organize and Delete PopUp menu.

Quick Parts and AutoText are most useful when you find yourself retyping some bit of text over and over again, especially if it’s cumbersome typing, such as long numbers or hard to spell names or places.