A Microsoft Word quick parts alternative

In Microsoft Word you can use the “quick parts” feature which is actually part of the building blocks organiser to to create reusable content blocks. So if – for example – you write letters often and find yourself using a the same sentences or paragraphs often then it can come in handy.

I’d like to be able to replicate this on the web and with some modifications. For example in word the process is a little clunky and requires a series of clicks to get the content into the document.

I want to be able to set up a wizard with key check boxes of reusable content blocks that I can check and then it creates a downloadable PDF for me.

Anyone have any suggestions on how this could be done?

The cheap and manual way to do this in Google Docs using Zapier and Airtable (or some other database). You basically need to create a new Google Doc and add content placeholders {{ExampleContent}} . Then convert that document to a Google Doc template.

In Airtable, you’ll want to add 3 (columns) fields for each piece of content you want to add to a template.

  1. The content itself (we’ll call it a content block).
  2. A checkbox column for the content block.
  3. A formula column with if/then statements that looks to see if the checkbox is checked. If true (checked), then return the content of the relevant block, if False (unchecked) then return “” (nothing).

This setup will let you create a form view of the table that you can fill out (via web) that will allow you to select which checkmarks are checked and when you submit, it will create a new record (or new record in a view).

From there, you’ll want to connect Airtable to Google Docs and pass the relevant information into a new template with all the relevant info auto-filled. You’ll be able to save the Google Doc as a PDF.

The more expensive but easier way is to use something like Formstack (formerly Webmerge) and create a template with all the content you want passed through. You can provide some logic for content to be displayed/hidden based on the content passed from Airtable. The setup for this is very similar to the steps above but Formstack has it’s own logic and workflow for delivery.

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Thanks so much for this advice. I’m going to check both options out. Thanks again!