Microsoft Publisher Basics: Working With Objects

This guide will show you how to use Microsoft Publisher to help create a wide variety of desktop publishing projects. The guide discusses the layout, tools, and how to add content which can be used to make newsletters, brochures, and more.


The secret to being successful in MS Publisher is understanding how to manipulate objects.  Each text box, line, graphic, header, etc,. is an object in Publisher.  All objects have several characteristics that enable them to be changed in regards to position, size, stacking arrangement, and to sometimes change the contents inside the object.  When you click on any object you will immediately notice several things.  First, a border forms around the object with four white circles and four white squares.  When you click on any of the circles you are able to pull or push the object to change size, with the image keeping its original aspect ratio.  If you push or pull on the white squares it will chnge the size of the object, but it will not keep the original aspect ratio.  The white circle at the top enables the user to rotate the object to any angle.

Objects may be grouped together by clicking on one object, then holding down the CTRL key and selecting additional objects. When the group symbol is clicked on the Ribbon then all of the objects are transformed into a single object. This can be extremely useful if a large number of objects need to be repositioned throughout the publication. Likewise, if you click on the symbol when the objects are grouped together, you can ungroup them. Once the ungrouping symbol has been clicked, you can then click on the individual objects and change them. Most of the pre-designed templates in Publisher contain many grouped objects, such as pictures and captions, so knowing how to use this feature is essential.

You can also right click on any object and a dialog box with various options will open up, which can sometimes be faster than searching for the right option in the menus at the top of the workspace.  From these options you can change the graphic, delete the object, group objects, copy, paste, change the stacking order, and more.

More With Objects

The other important thing to note when working with objects is to use the Ribbons effectively.  When you click on an object it is critical to know that you are not confined just to that Ribbon.  For example, when you click on a text box for example, you can also then click on the purple Text Box Tools tab at the top of the Ribbon.  The Ribbon will then change to show you a wide range of tools that can be used to configure the text iin that box.  There are optins for fonts, fint size, alignment, WordArt, and more.  Also, you can select the orange Drawing Tools tab which will then allow you to add shapes, borders, and effects to your text box.

When working with an image object the same principals apply in that you are not confined to the Ribbon that is showing when the object is clicked on.  You can click on the light purple Picture Tools tab located at the top of the Ribbon.  This will open up a range of tools ver similar to the Drawing and Text Box Tools Ribbons.  By clicking on the various options you can do basic image editing and formatting, add effects, captions, and wrap text.

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