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Microsoft Publisher / Microsoft Office Publisher


Screenshot by J. Bear from Microsoft Publisher 2010

When you start Publisher 2010 you are presented with this screen for opening a blank document or choosing a template.

Screenshot by J. Bear from Microsoft Publisher 2010
Despite its detractors, Microsoft Publisher is a major step up from consumer creative printing programs. For Windows users, it fills the void between price and pro features. The Microsoft Office Publisher incarnation moved it more into competition with Adobe PageMaker for the enterprise/small business market and away from the individual consumer. And although not perfect, there were major improvements with the release of Publisher 2010.

Buying Publisher:

Publisher 2010 for Windows. It is available in the Professional Plus, Professional, and Standard editions of Office 2010 as well as standalone.


Overview of Publisher:

Considered more appropriate for use by non-designers than by graphic designers, Microsoft Publisher since 98 delivers tools that, while not quite up to the standards of high-end programs, provide options not found in other consumer applications such as some process and spot color commercial printing, EPS and TIFF import, and PostScript output.

For non-designers, the color and font schemes, wizards, and templates help ensure a more professional appearance.

Some new features in Publisher 2010 include:

  • Greater consistency with other Office apps
  • Visual page navigation and other workspace improvements
  • Picture manipulation improvements
  • Ligatures and stylistic text
  • Integrated print preview

Best Use:

While there is still much resistance from service providers to the submission of Microsoft Publisher files for commercial printing, with the 2003 Office version Microsoft introduced enhanced professional design and commercial printing features and its integration with Microsoft Office makes it an attractive alternative to Adobe PageMaker for business use. It continues to be a viable option for freelance desktop publishing as well.

Alternatives to Publisher:

For business-oriented publishing, Adobe PageMaker would be a good alternative. For small business or personal publishing and attractive pricing, Serif PagePlus, the 2010 About.com Reader's Choice Award winner in multiple categories is an excellent option.

History of Microsoft Publisher:

Originally, Microsoft Publisher was strictly a consumer desktop publishing application. The versions have been 1.0, 2.0, Publisher for Windows 95, 3.0, 97, 98, 2000, 2002, and Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Publisher 2007, and Publisher 2010. Some more advanced and commercial features were introduced in Publisher 98. With Publisher 2000, the commercial printing features were greatly enhanced and the product more firmly targeted to small businesses. The product has been offered both as a standalone application and bundled with various Microsoft Office Suites and other Microsoft products. Although Macintosh versions of Office have been released, Publisher has remained available only on the Windows platform.

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