Word's 'Quick Parts' tool is Microsoft's implementation of one of Pathagoras' classic features. (Okay, Microsoft didn't precisely copy Pathagoras' DropDown Lists, but the concept is identical.) Quick Parts was introduced with Office 2007. Pathagoras offered a quick-save/quick-insert feature since Office '97 (yes . . . 10 years earlier.) .They are essentially identical concepts, except DropDown Lists is much more flexible and much more robust.

informationIf using version 2021, build 75, or later, see this new feature.
This recent version of Pathagoras greatly ameliorates many of the problems discussed below.

   The essence of Microsoft Quick Parts (and Pathagoras DropDown Lists) is the user's ability to highlight a desired block of text, add it to a collection, and then quickly recall that item into a document.

   Here is where Pathagoras differs and shines over Microsoft's version:

  Sharing: Quick Parts are computer specific. They are typically tied to your Normal.dotm template. You can share content with others, but you have to package it up and send it to others via email or other electronic transfer. The recipient must then load it on his or her computer. And if you make changes to your Quick Parts, you have to send the changes to other user in the same fashion. There is none of that with Pathagoras. So long as you and the user have a DropDown List pointed to the folder containing your building blocks, both you and the other user always are working with latest version.

  Editing: Editing a Quick Part is a multi-step process. You have to navigate through your Quick Parts drop down list, locate the category in which you saved the item, pick it to copy it to the screen (no in situ edit is possible), perform editing, save it back. You must be sure to save it with the identical name and in the identical gallery or else you will have two versions.  With Pathagoras, it's simply open the document using the tools in the DropDown List, edit and save it.

  Inserting text: With Pathagoras it is a simple two-click process to insert a building block. You also have (unlike Quick Parts) the following options regarding what to do with the building block:

Insert into current document.

Insert it as a new document.

Insert into just your clipboard. (While in the clipboard, the text can be used in multiple locations in the current document, in a separate document, or anywhere else that you can paste text. (Think Outlook, PowerPoint, and anywhere else clipboard text can be inserted.)

Scope: The scope of items to which you can point a DropDown list to far exceeds the scope of items of Quick Picks. DropDown Lists can point not just to Word documents, but to Word Perfect documents, to images, to Excel spreadsheets, PDF files, and more.

Convert Word 'Quick Parts' to Pathagoras Building Blocks

   With the above limitations in mind, you may wish to convert your existing Quick Parts to a folder of Word documents. Here are the steps:

Convert manually by calling each Quick Pick entry one at a time to your editing screen and saving each item as a document to a folder.(Of course, Pathagoras has this automated for you, so you'll not likely follow this manual approach. See next bullet.)

Convert automatically. Select Authoring/Editing tools from the Pathagoras Features dropdown. Select "Conversion Tools | More Tools" and click the Quick Parts button.


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A menu giving you choices appears. Consider the first two options for printing lists of your Quick Parts text (so you have a nice printed list if you decide to keep them), but click the 3rd item to perform the conversion.


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The Microsoft Quick Parts will be saved individually into a folder on your desktop called "Building Blocks". You can (and should)  then move the folder to any other location and use it for any purpose. Of course, we at Pathagoras would encourage you to use it as a Document Assembly book or point a DropDown List to it. Your options then become quite limitless.