Yes, Publisher MVP David Bartosik has already given us many fantastic articles on Publisher, including his article this month on Thumbnailing. But I'm sure there are many users out there who don't know much about what this software program can do. So this article will provide you with a little introduction to Microsoft Publisher.
I know some people complain that Word is "just a word processor" and you can't do fancy document layouts or books with the program. I can understand that and know that there are other programs more suited to some of these types of projects. But I also know that those statements are not true, because you can create, and I have, very fancy layouts, newsletters, manuals, books and elaborate marketing projects...all within Microsoft Word. It can be done. But knowing that not everyone has the time or experience to tackle these types of projects in Word, Microsoft came out with Microsoft Publisher, several years ago.
Publisher started out mostly geared toward the home consumer. Something nice to allow them to make invitations and the like. But over the years, more professional features have been added and now it is a great application for small business, too. Over the years it has been included as part of Office or sold as a stand alone. If you have Office 2000, Publisher is on Disk 2. Now to be honest with you, I can't remember for sure if it came with Office XP, mostly because I didn't particularly care for Office XP, so I didn't pay much attention. But I think it did. I do know that Publisher comes with Office 2003...love Office 2003! You can get Publisher 2003 with the Office Professional Edition and also with the Small Business Edition.
Let's take a quick look at some of what Publisher can do for you.
The best part about Publisher is that you can get up and running with the program very quickly because it is easy to understand. Wizards and galleries get you started by allowing you to choose from the many predesigned templates. And although you can create a document or project from scratch, there are so many nice looking templates that it's silly not to find one you like and make modifications from there.
Open Publisher and it literally points you in the right direction to get started.
Just expand any of the categories and you'll see subcategories for many different types of documents and projects. When you choose a subcategory, you'll see a sample of all the selections in a gallery. So it's simply a matter of reviewing the list of offerings and making your selection.
When you're first getting started with Publisher, an information dialog appears requesting your details. By entering them into this dialog box, your information will then be available to each design you choose so Publisher can automatically enter it into your documents.
As you can see below, I simply selected a business card design and the contents of the above information dialog box is entered into the design. All that work done and all I did was click! Granted, it's not finished, but that's only because I missed filling in all my correct details into the information dialog. Had I completed that properly, this card could be printed, although I'd want to add my own logo.
Making modifications to the boilerplate content in Publisher is simple. Just click on the default content and type in your own. As you can see below, I clicked on the default name for the email and typed my own. Now I just need to type in the default domain name for the email address. But, of course, if I'd entered my proper email into the information dialog above, I wouldn't even have to waste my time doing this!
Maybe I decide that I don't like the typeface that was originally selected. No problem! Just click on the Font Scheme option and I can choose any other look I want. And the fonts have already been matched to complementary partners, so you won't make an amateur typographic mistake of matching two fonts from the same family. No need to worry about those details. Just find what you like and the software will make sure no one will be laughing at you behind your back.<smile>
But what if you realize you really don't like the entire design you selected. You might think you now have to start all over, right? Wrong! Just click the design link and choose a different look. All the information you inserted into the previous design will be swapped over to this new design. If you remember, I modified the above to use my name in the email address. One click to switch the design and as you can see below, my name is still the name in the email.
If you're a small company with a color printer, you can easily create a whole collection of matching office document sets by clicking the Master Sets option in the Design categories and choose a grouping that you like. You can also easily change the Color Scheme. Let's say you like the Border design, but don't care much for Orange.
Just pick the color scheme you do like. And again, the colors have been professionally matched up so you won't make a mistake by choosing colors that cause your eyes to vibrate!
If you're not up for attempting a tri-fold brochure in Word...Publisher makes the job easy, again, with a stack of predesigned templates and boilerplate text.
Boilerplate text that can be changed by just clicking and typing your custom content over it.
If you need to slap together a quick web site that not only looks nice, but matches and has many of the links already connected, you can get rolling by choosing one of the web site design sets.
By the way, those of you who receive the Briefing (HTML) version of the TechTrax monthly notice will be familiar with the image below. Yup, the Briefing is assembled each month inside Publisher 2003. Once finished, it is mailed directly from Publisher by using the option that sets the HTML page into the email message.
So, if you have Publisher sitting on your computer and you've never taken the time to play around with it...what are you waiting for? You can quickly become a design maniac, creating lots of great looking documents, invitations, brochures, banners...even Origami or really cool paper airplanes! Complete with folding directions.
If you don't already have Microsoft Publisher and you'd like to get a trial version, you can go to this link to order one: http://www.microsoft.com/office/publisher/prodinfo/default.mspx. You can also hit the Publisher home site for more information: http://office.microsoft.com/publisher.
And don't miss David Bartosik's article this month to learn how to create Thumbnail images for your web site, using Publisher. His article also gives you the link to the Publisher MVP web site where you can find lots of additional, free technical articles on Publisher.
Now don't get yourself in trouble flying around those high-tech paper airplanes!