Microsoft Publisher Basics: Getting Started

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.

Choosing a Design

To open Microsoft Publisher, go to the Start menu and then in Programs choose Microsoft Office-Microsoft Publisher.  If this is the first time that you have used the program you will be prompted by a dialog box that will ask for your personal or company information.  Once this is filled out, Publisher will place this in any publication that you create.  The information can be edited at a later time, so if you hit Cancel it will place an info box with generic information as a placeholder.

You will then see the publication design screen where you can choose the type of design you need for your project.  By clicking on the various entries such as brochures, newsletters, etc., the right hand side will change to show you pre-designed templates for that type of publication.  There are two options under the search bar labeled "Featured" and Built In".  The Built In designs are the most commonly used templates in Publisher and will fit most needs, while the Featured section will highlight templates that are currently popular from the MS Office web site.  It is important to note that you can adjust the colors of the publication in the Customize section immediately below the design preview. If you choose the design in the preview window on the right side and click on "Create", the design will launch in the standard MS Publisher layout view.  If you wish to build a publication from scratch you can choose any of the blank design templates and then you will need to add all of the content to that publication.  You can then customize them using the toolbar options or the Design Gallery Object tool.

Workspace Layout

Publisher has a common layout with other MS Office programs in that the main toolbar (called a Ribbon) is on top of the workspace screen.  The main difference from other MS Office programs is that there is a large dialog box on the left hand side called Pages.  The Pages box allows you to quickly move between the various pages in your publication.  When you select a page or pages in this dialog box they are dispayed in the main layout section on your screen.  One of the most popular Ribbons in the menu bar at the top of the program is called Page Design. From here you can quickly transition to different color schemes, change the design template, fonts, etc., and see the immediate result from the selected change. The other major difference from other MS Office programs is that when objects are selected on the layout screen, i.e., a text box for example, two additional tabs labeled Drawing and Text Box Tools will sometimes appear at the top of the menu bar.  When clicked on, these two tabs open up new Ribbons that specifically deal with art/graphics and text respectively.

At the bottom of the workspace are several features that control various viewing options when doing your presentation.  By clicking on the page numbers in the lower left corner the Pages pane will disappear.  As your arrow icon moves around the layout you will see grid coordinates appear next to the page numbers and you can also get the measurement of an object by clicking on it, then selecting the Object Size icon at the bottom of the screen.  Depending upon the type of publication in the layout view, there will be icons to show a one r two page spread.  FInally there is a slider that will allow the user to zoom in or out on the current publication.

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