The way you do this differs between versions of Microsoft Word so I am starting off by covering how to do it in Microsoft Office Word 2011 for Mac.
At Property Typing, we have been typing building surveys for our clients for years and although many of my clients use standard paragraphs for their reports, hardly any of them have them set up in a standard paragraph template file which means that the typist simply needs to type a paragraph number and Word will automatically paste in the appropriate paragraph. This saves time and money for the surveyor and saves a lot of fiddling around, copying and pasting between documents for the digital dictation typist.
How Surveyors save time and money with correctly formatted reports – standard paragraphs
1. Depending how many standard paragraphs you use in your reports (which can range from 100% to none at all – truly the spectrum is vast), creating an auto text template for these paragraphs, as I’m about to show you, will be a good useful investment in your time.To start with, you will need all your paragraphs in a Word document in the correct format that you want them to show in your finished reports, i.e. if you usually use Arial 12, 1.15 spacing, justified text then make sure they are set up like this.
2. Save your document somewhere you can find it easily (on the desktop for example) as a Word Macro Enabled Template (.dotm) – you might want to call it “Standard Paragraphs for Building Surveys.dotm” as an example.
3. Select the first paragraph that you want to use as an auto text entry with the cursor making sure that the blue formatting symbol is also highlighted (if you don’t already have the formatting symbols showing, then turn them on using the “show all non-printing characters” button which looks like this:
4. Go to INSERT…AUTO TEXT…NEW… Then create your auto text number which has to have a minimum of 4 characters. So you may want to just use 0001, 0002, 0003 etc. or you may want to use a 4 letter word which relates to the content of the paragraph, i.e. for a paragraph describing the weather you could use WEAT – the first 4 letters of weather. Think about what you will find easiest to use when dictating. Make sure you write the name or number of the paragraph above each paragraph so you can remember what you have called it. See example below:
The weather at the time of the inspection was