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Microsoft Publisher Review
Technology should make our lives easier
• Comes included with Microsoft 365 packages.
• Powerful typography tools
• Excellent layout capacities
• Creates huge files sizes
• Lacks graphic design capability
• Doesn’t work effectively with PDF
Given that you probably already have Microsoft Publisher installed on your PC as part of the Office package, it’s quick, simple and cheap to complete your publishing projects with this software. If you’re looking for graphic design add-ons then the other two products are more suitable, but Microsoft Publisher does a good job with layout and typography plus it has an extensive range of templates.
Microsoft Publisher 2019 is the latest version of Publisher. You may already have the software in its previous versions; 2016, Publisher 2013, Publisher 2010, Publisher 2007, and Publisher 2003. Publisher is a little different from the other DTP packages as it is not designed to stand alone and is instead integrated into the Office suite. It therefore runs with the latest versions of Windows operating systems.
Templates & layout
Publisher offers some excellent layout tools and solutions for perfectly aligned, designed documents. Create your own custom guidelines to position a variety of objects on the page and use the master pages that give you superior control over the elements that you want to appear on every page. Designing multi-page documents is easy with Publisher when you use these master pages and also the option to individually edit elements on pages and zoom into the detail in separate areas of the document.
You can easily add graphs and charts that you have made in Microsoft Excel or Word, as the Publisher package is part of the same collection of software.
Publisher also stands out for its excellent collection of templates. The template portfolio is housed online in the main Microsoft Office collection and therefore you can access a wide variety of up-to-date templates for projects as diverse as resumes, menus, newsletters and business cards.
One area where Publisher is not so strong is graphic design. You don’t get the same support for retouching photos, or designing logos using a vector editor. Publisher simply does not have this functionality. You can add simple graphic effects like bevels and basic shapes but the more complex graphic capabilities are missing. If you’ve already got your images and logos designed by another program, you won’t notice this omission. But if you like everything together in one package it’s not ideal.
Publisher does have a tool for the easy swapping of pictures within a document – simply drag and drop images in and out of your document to compare and contrast. You don’t waste time having to download images only to find they don’t work in your layout. You can search your Flickr and Facebook albums and add images direct to the document without having to download them and save them to your desktop first.
And one extra thing – Publisher is good for high resolution photo page backdrops so you can create brochures and posters that look impactful and polished.
Creating longer documents in Publisher is a breeze with the text reflow tools and you also have a lot of control over the individual aspects of the typography, including kerning controls. Of course, due to the integration with Word and Excel you also have the integrated spellchecker and hyphenation support.
As Published is integrated into the Office suite you can easily import whatever you’re working on in Word, or Excel. Therefore tables and graphs don’t pose a problem, and you can get your text from Word documents.
One problem with the Microsoft Publisher package is that while it can work well with its own products, it won’t import other popular file types such as PDFs or Photoshop PSDs. The option is there to save documents to PDF but they won’t be the fully-editable documents that other software packages allow you to create.
The support for CMYK-optimized printing is valuable, and you can also save pages to common picture formats like JPEG.
Share documents easily by saving them to the Cloud at OneDrive and sending a link to your collaborators via email.
Help & support
On the Office Help website there is strangely no product option for Publisher. But within the program you do have access to Help sections and information about the various features as you use them. There's a live chat feature on the Publisher website so if you are having problems you can type in your request when the box pops up. Or join the community forums and ask questions there.
Microsoft Publisher, included with the Microsoft Office package, is ideal for at-home users looking for a simple desktop publishing tool with solid layout and typography capabilities. If you want to publish newsletters, long documents, cards and announcements this is an easy-to-use product with lots of benefits.
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