The native file format for page layout documents created in Microsoft Publisher, a desktop publishing software application, is PUB. Files with the .PUB file extension created by Microsoft Publisher are print-ready files containing text, graphics, and formatting information.
The .PUB file format is a proprietary file format by Microsoft. PUB files can only be opened and edited in Microsoft Publisher. Even though Publisher is included in some of the Microsoft Office suites, other applications, including Word, cannot open .PUB files and .PUB files created in newer versions of Publisher may not be accessible to some older versions of the software (that's common with many programs).
Viewing and Sharing Microsoft Publisher PUB FilesThere is no standalone viewer available for PUB files like there is for Word, Excel, and other Office applications. The free trial version of Microsoft Publisher can open .PUB files for viewing but not for editing (i.e. they are read-only). If you have a .PUB file and only need to view it, download the free trial Publisher software to serve as a viewer. Users of older versions of Microsoft Publisher may not be able to open .PUB files from newer versions unless the file is first saved in a compatible (older) format. Newer versions of Publisher should be able to open PUB files created in older editions of the Publisher software.
An option for viewing Publisher files when you don't have Microsoft Publisher (full or trial version) is for the file to be saved or exported to another format such as PDF or PostScript by someone who does have Microsoft Publisher. See How Can Someone Open Publisher Files if They Don't Have Microsoft Publisher? for detailed descriptions of these methods. Readers share their own methods in How Do You Share Microsoft Publisher Files?
Printing .PUB FilesBecause it is a print-ready file, .PUB files can be printed on any desktop printer when printed from within Microsoft Publisher. Although some commercial printing services will accept native .PUB files for printing, it is still not a widely-accepted format. Creating PostScript, or preferrably, PDF files of Publisher documents is the best way to deliver them to commercial or quick printers. Check with your printing service to be sure.
Common page layout file extensions for other desktop publishing software include IND (Adobe InDesign), PPP (Serif PagePlus), and QXP (QuarkXPress). Unfortunately, these and other common desktop publishing software will not import .PUB files.
Microsoft Publisher & .PUB File Resources
- Microsoft Publisher overview describes current versions, alternatives or other software that is comparable to Publisher, and offers a little bit of history.
- Microsoft Publisher 2010 profile focuses on the new features of the most current (as of August 2011) version.
- Microsoft Publisher User Reviews are short reviews of various versions of Publisher by readers of this site.
- Microsoft Publisher Tutorials cover several different versions of the software. These are primarily tutorials for getting started and performing basic tasks with Publisher.
- MicrosoftPublisher Templates links to several .PUB templates on this site and elsewhere on the Web.
Other .PUB ExtensionsThe PUB extension was also used for two very early desktop publishing software programs:
- Ventura Publisher (predecessor to Corel Ventura); also created GEM files.
- PFS 1st Publisher
PUB is also a PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) cryptography public key ring file extension.