A writer's darling

As a writer, there are times when I must practice the gruesome deed of killing my darlings. Don’t worry, this isn’t actual murder… It refers to the practice of making my work more concise by eliminating unnecessary words, phrases, and sometimes entire paragraphs.

This bittersweet exercise is occasionally regretful, especially when I could have used some of my content later. If you work with written content such as e-mails, you’ve likely experienced this at some point as well.

Lucky for you, Outlook’s Quick Parts lets you save reusable content.

Add, Modify, and Delete

Having and creating standard, reusable content that is easily accessible and even easier to share while working in Outlook can improve the efficiency and quality of your messages.

The Quick Parts feature allows you to save unique, reusable pieces of content (parts of e-mail messages) by saving it as a Building block in a gallery.

To Add a Quick Parts

Follow the steps below to add content as a Quick Part (create a new Building block).

  1. In a new message window, select the text you want to add as a Quick Parts
  2. On the Insert tab, Text group, select the Quick Parts drop-down menu
  3. Click Save selection to Quick Parts Gallery
  4. In the Building blocks dialog box, fill out the fields: Name; Gallery which is where the Building Block will be saved; Category; Description; Save in
  5. For the Options drop-down menu select: Insert in its own paragraph, Insert content in its own page, or Insert content only.
GIF: Outlook Quick Parts Building block creation

Once you have created a Quick Parts Building Block (the general name for the saved, reusable content), you can apply it whenever and wherever you want in outgoing messages.

To apply a Quick Parts Building block

1. Open a new message and place the cursor where you want to insert the Building block (that you can find in the Quick Parts gallery).

2. From the Text group in the Insert tab, click on the Quick Parts drop-down menu and then select the Building block thumbnail you want to insert. Once selected, the Building block will automatically be inserted where you placed your cursor.

GIF: Application of an Outlook Quick Parts' Building block to an e-mail.

To modify a Quick Parts Building block

It is not possible to edit content that has been saved as Quick Parts Building block.

To delete a Quick Parts Building block

  1. Open a new message and select the Auto text option. Right-click on one of the Auto Texts, select Organize and Delete, and then select the specific Building block and click Delete
GIF: Deletion of an Outlook Quick Parts' Building block. 

Auto Texts are a type of gallery you can save a Quick Part Building block to for easy access.

GIF: Example of Outlook Quick Parts' Building block saved to the Quick Parts Gallery.

While you will more than likely stick to using the Quick Parts and Auto Texts as galleries for your Building blocks, you can save as many galleries as entries (content).

Savour your darlings

Next time you find yourself using copy and paste in Outlook, give the Quick Parts function a try and see how it improves your efficiency in creating new or responding to messages.

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