Applies to: Microsoft Publisher 2002, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003
A frequent question posted at the Publisher Web Design Community is about including Adobe Reader (pdf) files or Word (doc) files in a Publisher web publication. This also applies to any other type of file that you want a hyperlink to, from a link on the Publisher web site. The file is referred to as "external", meaning the file it located outside of the Publisher web publication, or this simply implies a file that Publisher does not generate when creating the web site.
Publisher customers of a previous version may not realize that the handling of external files changed between version 2000 and version 2002. Hence, a customer of Publisher 2000 (or prior) may incur some frustration when moving to version 2002 and/or 2003. I will illustrate the change and explain how it affects you.
Through version 2000, Publisher included external files in the default Publisher directory "Publish," located under My Documents. Publisher would make a copy of your external file and place that copy in the Publish folder. If you hyperlinked text on your Publisher web page to a pdf file residing on your local drive, the successful linking of the external file would be a process invisible and seamless to you. The external file gets copied by Publisher into the "Publish" folder, then you upload the "Publish" folder to your web site and you automatically have a functional link to an existing file.
As of version 2002 there are the following changes. Publisher no longer has a specified "Save To" directory. Use of the "Publish" folder is discontinued. If you have a previous version and have the "Publish" folder, then you can opt to either delete it, or continue to use it yourself. The new versions "Save" by default to "My Documents." Publisher now generates a sub-folder by default (an optional program setting) in the Publisher web site. Publisher names the sub-folder with the same name you save the web as. All site files after the home page are created within the sub-folder.
Then, there is the big change for which this article exists. As of version 2002, Publisher no longer copies external files or includes such files in the Publisher web. The burden of using external files with the Publisher web falls on you, the customer. If you followed the same steps in version 2002 or 2003 that you used in version 2000, you would discover that the links to your external files fail. That is because - 1) the external file was not uploaded - and 2) because the hyperlink is pointing to the original file path on your local drive.
To use an external file in your 2002/2003 web you must do the following - a) upload the external file yourself, and b) set the hyperlink to the internet address (URL) of the file rather then browse to the original on your local drive.
Before you upload files manually (i.e., not within Publisher) you'll need to decide on which protocol (ftp or http) to use, just as you do when publishing the web to the server. This decision is easy if you have FrontPage Server Extensions (FPSE) installed on your web server. Because FPSE requires http, and use of ftp can corrupt FPSE. You do need FPSE to use http publishing. If you don't have FPSE, you will upload using ftp,or optionally, you can use a file manager tool provided by your web host provider if applicable.
Windows does include an ftp client, but it is a command line client run under the Command Prompt. Unless you are command line savvy you should use a third party ftp client to make the ftp connection and upload the external file(s).
If you are on Windows XP and using http, then you can drag and drop your files in and out of your web through the Windows Explorer program after you have created a "web folder" for your site. If you have previously uploaded in http then you may already have a web folder. Look under My Network Places in the left side "Folders" pane of Windows Explorer. Otherwise, to create the folder go to Start, My Network Places, click on "Add a network place", then follow the prompts.
Before you copy the external file to the server (via an ftp or http connection, or a host file manager), you'll want to decide where you want to copy the file and how you want to organize the site. For example you can just copy the file to the domain level (same as index.htm) whereas the URL would look like:
Or, you could create a directory on the domain and then copy external files to that folder. Whereas the URL would look like:
Be sure you have the URL of the file when you create the applicable hyperlink in your Publisher web page because that URL is what you point the hyperlink to in the Hyperlink dialog box.
You can then save, and publish the Publisher web site.
David is an Applications Developer and a Microsoft MVP. Also the Editor of barvin.com, an online magazine. To find more Microsoft Publisher help content visit publishermvps.com. For non-Publisher specific web design discussions visit davidbartosik.com.