Microsoft Word’s F3 Auto Complete “Quick Part”

Microsoft Word contains many very useful features that few people either know about or use. One of these these is the Auto Complete Quick Part.

The Auto Complete Quick Part feature allows you to assign a short key string to a much longer multi-word string and you can insert the longer string into you text simply by entering the short string followed by F3.

For example in the following snippet from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 Deployment Guide, which is a 123 page document, you can see that the phrase “Internet Explorer 7” is used many times. As Microsoft never abbreviate this to IE7 in this entire document then you can image how many more times the phrase “Internet Explorer 7” occurs in this document. In fact, by doing a check with the Word Replace function I can tell you it occurs 700 times—which means it is used an average of 5.69 times per page.


How much easier would it be for the author to put in “ie7” and then hit F3 each time and have this automatically replaced with “Internet Explorer 7”?

QuickParts2This is very easy to do.

You simply select “Internet Explorer 7” once at the start of the document where it is used and then using the Quick Parts option on the Insert ribbon (in Office 2007 and Office 2010) you select “Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery….”.

Doing this will bring up the “Create New Building Block” dialogue shown below.

QuickParts3In the “Name” field of the Create New Building Block dialogue enter the short name you want to use for the text that you selected. In the case of this example the short name I want to use is “ie7”.

Then click OK to save the Quick Part.

Now to use the Auto Complete Quick Part in any document at any time you simply enter “ie7” (without the literals) and then hit F3, and presto, “Internet Explorer 7” will be entered into you document, complete with a trailing blank if you selected the blank when you created the Quick Part.

Auto Complete Quick Parts can contain special formatting and special characters.

Auto Complete Quick Parts, once created, can be used in any document.

Auto Complete Quick Parts can be up to 255 words long and can contain font changes, font size changes, font style changes, and special characters.

If you had a company called “Western Mining Corporation Ltd” then having an Auto Complete Quick Part of “wmc” would sure save a lot of typing with potential spelling errors.