Do you want to design flyers, brochures or postcards and publish them yourself? Microsoft Publisher may be the program that works best for this if you are using Microsoft 365.
It’s similar to Microsoft Word, but more related to commercial Adobe InDesign (part of the expensive Adobe Creative Cloud) and free Scribus software. Publisher is desktop publishing software with layout and page design features.
What can you do in Microsoft Publisher
You can create anything in Microsoft Publisher by combining graphics with beautiful text. Start with simple things like postcards and printable labels Move on to larger projects like wedding invitations, brochures, flyers, newsletters, lesson plans, and even books.
You can start from scratch. But it’s much easier to start with a design from Microsoft’s extensive template library. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll start with a built-in template and then show you the basic elements to customize it.
How to start a publisher document from a template
You can choose to use predefined templates in Publisher or search online for templates from Microsoft.
- Launch Publisher and click New on the backstage screen. Select the Inline tab above the templates shown.
- Scroll down a bit and select Greeting Cards.
- Browse the templates and select a publisher template. In our example, we chose the birthday template.
- You can customize the template using the options on the right or do it later.
- Click the New button in the right pane.
Once the template is open in Publisher, you can start formatting and editing it.
How to customize the publisher template
The pages of any document are displayed as thumbnails on the left side of Publisher. You can select any page and customize it.
In Publisher, everything is contained within frames with frames. They are known as objects and are like containers for every design element like text, lines, images, headers, etc.
Drawers let you move these elements around the document to place them anywhere. You can easily change their characteristics, reorder them in a stack on top of each other, group them and even change their visibility.
To understand this better, think about how you work with a simple text box in Microsoft Word.
Since this is a beginner’s guide to Publisher, let’s start by working with two of the most common elements in any design: text and images.
Add text to your document
Add text to your document
The templates have text boxes with dummy text. But you can always make your own.
- Click Home> Draw Text Box (in the Objects group) and drag the cross-shaped cursor to draw a box where you want to place the text.
- Enter text in the text box. You can enlarge the text box by dragging the handles or by linking to another text box. Publisher has a unique method for dealing with overflowing text.
- Text boxes may run out of space if there is too much text in them. The new text box can handle any text that goes beyond the first. Text boxes can be linked. You can create new text boxes and place content across multiple pages, or create columns of different widths.
- When the text overflows, a small box with ellipses appears in the lower right corner of the text box.
- Create a new text box.
- Click the ellipsis in the first text box and it turns into a pitcher. Move to the new text box and click it. The text will move to a new text box.
Note. Publisher uses the same Windows fonts as Microsoft Word. Therefore, if you want to use a custom font, you will have to download and install the fonts.
Add images to your document
Add photos to your document
The group of illustrations on the Insert tab gives you three methods for adding images.
- Click Pictures and load an image file from your desktop.
- Click Online Pictures and use Bing’s active search to use a public domain image or any image saved on OneDrive.
- Click on the image placeholder to reserve space for the image you want to add later.
You can also use the Shapes collection to combine simple shapes into interesting logos.
Adding Elements Using Building Blocks
Add items with building blocks
Building blocks are preformatted elements that you can simply “fit” into your design. You can reuse these blocks and modify them to fit your overall design. Examples of building blocks are headlines, quote formats, stripes, borders, frames, calendars, and signage such as coupons.
Building blocks help you create Publisher documents faster. You can also save any design element that you plan to reuse as a building block.
- Choose Insert> Building Block Group and click any building block gallery.
- Select one of the options in the drop-down gallery, or click More [Building Block Type] to see if there are more in the gallery.
- Click on it to insert into the gallery. document.
Remember, like any other element, you can drag a building block around the page and manipulate it to fit your design. Building blocks are a combination of text, autoshapes, and objects.
To quickly access their formatting options, right-click a building block and choose Format from the menu.
Check your document with design checker
Microsoft Publisher is a desktop publishing program. So, in most cases your ultimate goal will be to print your document. Before clicking print, check layout consistency using another Publisher feature called the Design Checker.
Go to File> Info> Run Design Checker.
This is a troubleshooting step that will save you from printing errors. Click Design Checker Options, and then select the Checkers tab to see how many errors it tries to prevent.
You can use this dialog to enable or disable checks.
Print your document
This is your ultimate goal. But keep in mind that you still need to properly print the content on the type of paper you need for your project.
- Click File> Print.
- On the Print screen, enter a number in the Copies of Print Job box.
- Select the correct printer.
- Use the settings according to the print job. It will differ depending on the type of document.
Microsoft Publisher also provides several export options. Go to File and select Export. The Pack and Go section has three options if you want to save the document and export it for later reprint on a commercial press.
The Pack and Go Wizard packs your files and their resources, such as images, fonts, and colors, into a single file for commercial print jobs.
Get started with creating professional looking documents
Microsoft Publisher is easy to learn and a good starting point for learning about desktop publishing. Start by writing your own resume. Or create a simple infographic and share it. Like everything else, the best way to learn is by doing.