What is Word document automation?
Word document automation is anything that can speed up or simplify your word processing.
Automating Word documents can be as simple as using keyboard shortcuts or as comprehensive as purchasing automation software.
If you handle a lot of repetitive documents, you’ll know that typing everything out manually can become a real chore.
Luckily, guides, tools, and templates are available to ease the strain on your poor hands!
In this article, we’ll go through some MS Word automation tips and tricks to optimize your document writing.
Word automation: Tips and tricks you can use
There are many benefits of document automation, including saving time and improved collaboration. Let’s go through some of the methods you can use.
Custom fields are specific parts of a document that can be customized.
Essentially, you create a document template and designate certain parts of it to be customizable.
For example, if you run a medical practice that sends a lot of correspondence to patients, typing out each individual letter would be tedious.
Instead, you can create a template letter with custom fields for patient name, patient address, appointment date, etc. and fill those in as needed.
Let’s use our patient letter example to simplify our step-by-step guide:
- Create a new Word document
- Type out the bulk of your patient letter
- Decide which parts of your letter need to be customizable–patient name, patient address, dates, etc. These will be your custom fields.
- Position your cursor where you want to enter the custom field.
- Click the INSERT tab.
- Click QUICK PARTS.
- From the dropdown menu, click FIELD.
- This is your custom field interface. Here, you can choose from a variety of categories like dates, names, and addresses.
- Choose the category you’d like to insert into the document and click OK.
- The custom field will appear.
- If you’d like to edit the field, right-click and select either update or edit.
There are a lot of categories of custom fields, so it’s worth playing around with them to get the most out of your Word document automation fields.
Macros can improve workflow management by bundling repetitive tasks and executing them with a mouse click or keyboard shortcut.
- Open your Word document.
- Find the VIEW tab.
- Click MACROS.
- In the dropdown menu, select RECORD MACRO.
- An interface will pop up asking you to name your new macro and assign it to either the current document or all future documents. You can also type a description here.
- You can also choose how to run the macro with a button click or a keyboard shortcut.
- Choosing BUTTON will ask you to choose a button type from a menu.
- Choosing KEYBOARD will ask you to create a keyboard shortcut–you cannot use pre-existing shortcuts.
- Once you’ve decided, click OK.
- Now, your cursor will turn into a little cassette symbol. This means Word is recording every keystroke and click.
- Create your macro sequence.
- Once you’re finished, head back up to the MACRO tab and click STOP RECORDING in the dropdown menu.
- To run your new macro, either click VIEW MACROS in the MACRO dropdown menu or use your designated keyboard shortcut.
- Your macro will run!
Auto text/quick parts
If you regularly use chunks of text in your documents, auto text allows you to save them to the quick parts menu and use them as needed.
For example, if you regularly add your business address to letters, you can save your business address to the quick parts menu for frequent use.
Think of it like an infinite copy and paste.
- Open a Word document.
- Type the text you wish to save.
- Highlight the text.
- Select the INSERT tab.
- Click QUICK PARTS.
- Hover over AUTO TEXT in the dropdown menu.
- Here, you’ll see a list of boxes containing previously saved auto text. To save the current selection, click SAVE SELECTION TO AUTO TEXT GALLERY.
- A box will pop up asking you to name and categorize your new auto text.
- Now, when you hover over AUTO TEXT, your text will be an option.
- Click the text box to insert your auto text.
- You can organize your auto text (and your custom fields) by selecting BUILDING BLOCKS ORGANIZER from within the QUICK PARTS menu.
Knowing these tips and tricks is a good idea for anyone who regularly needs Microsoft Word automation.
But to speed up your entire document management system, consider using a third-party service like PandaDoc.
Knowing how to automate a Word document can save you heaps of time
At PandaDoc, we’ve been in the business of documents and document management for over a decade.
That is to say: we’ve dealt with a lot of documents in our time!
So we know a thing or two about saving time by automating Microsoft Word documents.
Understanding the methods of Word document automation can save you a lot of hassle, but there are resources like PandaDoc’s range of free templates that can speed up document creation, improve workflow, and give you confidence that your documents are written by experienced professionals.