Our earlier writings on Quick Parts tended to dismiss the function as cumbersome, confusing and overly strict. Now with the new tools that are discussed in this section, we quite like it.
We will not provide a deep dive into Quick Parts here. We have to assume that you have a working knowledge of this Microsoft feature. Quick Parts are discussed in many locations. This one found on Microsoft's site is quite good, but there are others with more illustrations and examples. Suffice it to say that Quick Parts are snippets of text that are saved by Microsoft for insertion on request.
Conceptually, Quick Parts and Pathagoras are a lot alike. Both allow you to bring into your editing screen previously saved text snippets. But in full operation (meaning creating, saving, and editing), Quick Parts are difficult to use, and for the same functions, Pathagoras is simple and intuitive. There are some advantages to Quick Parts over Pathagoras tools, but the disadvantages have offset them. Our informal polling suggests that they are rarely used.
The main advantage of Quick Parts over Pathagoras is it's ability to auto-complete names as you are typing and to propose the remainder of the target word you are typing. If the suggestion is accurate, press 'enter' and the target clause is inserted. For example, try this: type 'feb'. Word will guess that you want 'February' and propose it as your target. Accept the proposal by pressing Enter or 'reject' it by continuing to type. (Pathagoras offered a similar feature in its <Alt-G> ('g'et) routine, but there is no completion 'proposal'. You must type the whole word or phrase and affirmatively press <Alt-G>.
The return of Quick Parts text is practically instant. (Pathagoras returns text quickly too --typically split second fast -- but just not as fast.
The other advantage: You can create Content Controls of your Quick Parts. Content Controls are quite useful to direct end users to select from a multiple choice list. Content Controls are discussed later.
Quick Parts stores its content within (typically) your Normal template. It is hidden. You cannot see it for editing by simply opening that template. You cannot easily or intuitively access the original text. Rather, in order to edit content, you have to recall the term to an editing screen, make your modifications and re-save the term it back. To effectively save the edit, you must be sure to save the text using the identical template, the identical type, the identical category and the identical name, Miss one of these and you have simply created a new element. There are no hints or visible guidance as to any of these items. You simply have to remember them. (With Pathagoras, all of these elements are clearly present. The above concerns are just not an issue.)
Since Quick Parts are (typically) saved in your Normal.dotm template, you cannot share your Quick Parts with others. (Users of Pathagoras know that documents can be stored anywhere. They can be easily retrieved by everyone in your office, and even from at home via cloud storage tools like OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.)
While large blocks of text are allowed, you can sense from the Quick Parts menus and examples that short phrases are intended. (Pathagoras works with documents of any size.)
Quick Parts are selected 'one item at a time'. If you need a second or tenth item, you have to go back to the well that number of times. (While this 'disadvantage' is actually similar to Pathagoras' DropDown Lists -- which does feature selection-one-clause-at-a-time, Pathagoras puts multiple selections one click away with it's Document Assembly tool.)
Despite the disadvantages listed, we do not think you should totally ignore Quick Parts. Pathagoras can help you avoid its disadvantages an offer you the best of the advantages for items such as address lists and short text snippets.
For automatic completion of partially typed names, make sure your 'Show AutoComplete Suggestion' (under File|Options|Advanced|Editing Options) is checked.
Quick Parts: As much as I don’t like Quick Parts in its native form (it’s too hard to get content into and to edit them), a good Quick Parts library is actually fascinating, almost fabulous. You can put an unlimited number of terms (addresses, boilerplate text, even complex Pathagorized Options and Optional blocks) into a Quick Part and quickly recall the term just typing the first several characters of the Quick Part name. The AutoText gallery of the Quick Parts tool guesses the term you are looking for and, with a simple Enter, places the text at the insertion point. There are aspects that Pathagoras’ <Alt-G> routing does better (in particular fancy formatting), but you should not totally ignore Quick Parts.
Beginning with version 2021, Pathagoras can handle the content moving and the editing issues mentioned in the first sentence. If you use Quick Parts and want to use it better, these are the tools for you.