The term boilerplate has mixed connotations - some may envisage a hot, steamy kitchen with pans hissing and spilling over; for others it conjures up images of durable steel sheets used in the printing process to produce type which was needed to be used frequently, day in and day out and had to be embossed on a long-lasting template.

In the 1940s, an automatic typing system had been invented so that any boilerplate information could easily be transferred and copied on a typewriter. Using a perforator, text was pre-punched into player piano-like rolls. When needed, the documents were typed on a typewriter that read the rolls. As the roll passed over slots in a bar, a valve opened and negative pressure in a hose collapsed a small bellows that pulled down the typewriter key.

Today, however, boilerplate has evolved to mean legal text which is routine and often reprinted. Boilerplate is commonly stored in computer memory to be retrieved and copied when needed. The term is so widely used that it is increasingly shortened to "boiler", a paragraph or two that describes the company and its products.

Word 2007 enables you to use boilerplate text with Building Blocks. These blocks are reusable pieces of content or other document parts, such as watermarks, headers, footers or tables that are stored in galleries. You can access and reuse the building blocks at any time. You can also save building blocks and distribute them with templates.

Boilerplate text can be stored and accessed in the Quick Parts tool on the Insert tab. Click the down pointing arrow to open the Quick Parts Gallery. Here you have a number of options including Document Property which lets you insert some of the common document properties into your document. The Field option allows you to insert fields in the same way as in earlier versions of Microsoft Word.

The Building Blocks Organizer is the newest feature and stores text blocks which you can add to your Word 2007 documents. These Building Blocks can be sorted by Name, Gallery or Category. Some of the Building Blocks come built-in to Word 2007. You can insert a Building Block into a document by selecting the entry in the list and then click on Insert.

To add your own paragraphs to the gallery, type the paragraph or open a document which contains the formatting and select it. Click the Quick Parts button and choose Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery and, when the Create New Building Block dialog appears, type a name for the Building Block. This will be the name you'll use to identify it in the list so make it self-explanatory of what the Quick Part contains. Select the Gallery to add it to, in most cases this will be the Quick Parts Gallery.

Select a Category from the list or click the Create New Category option to create your own subcategory of the Quick Parts Gallery. By creating sub categories you can organise your Quick Part entries so that they are easier to find. For example you can type a description of the Quick Part.

In future you can insert the "boiler" into a document by clicking the Quick Parts button and then select your text from the dropdown list. You can locate building blocks using the Building Blocks Organizer via the Quick Parts option.

There are many other functions Quick Parts can help with and you can use Building Blocks to create custom components to format documents quickly and accurately. No carbon copies required!