Microsoft Publisher Basics: Adding Content

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.


Although most of the pre-designed publications that can be selected in Publisher have text boxes, there will be times that you will need to create your own.  This is usually to fill space in a publication or to delete an existing text box(because of unusual formatting attached to the box) and replace it with a new one.  You can add a text box by clicking on the Text Box tool located on the Home or Insert Ribbons.  This will convert your cursor into a crosshairs type symbol which will then allow you to draw the shape of a box anywhere on the publication.  Once drawn, the text box becomes an object and can then be reshaped to fit anywhere in the design.  The font, size, color, etc., are controlled by the Ribbons at the top of the workspace which function the same as in any MS Office program.

If there is too much text in a text box you will see a white rectangle with "A---" in it.  This is Publisher's way of telling you that there is too much text to fit in the box.  If you see that the text is overflowing, you can solve this in a variety of ways.  The first and most obvious is to change the size of the box.  If that is not possible, then you can change the text size or font as that may solve the overflow problem.  The last option is to "chain" the text to another box, either by selecting an empty box in the publication or by creating a new one.  First, click in the existing text box, then select the Create Link icon(the chain symbol) in the Text Box Tools Ribbon.  The cursor will change into a pitcher icon and then you "pour" the extra text into the new text box.  You can also just click on the rectangle with the A--- symbol and it will change to the pitcher icon, then you can select any open text box and "pour" the overflow into that text box.

Pre-Made Objects

Every pre-designed publication in Publisher will have a series of text boxes, sample images, captions, and other graphics that are part of the publication.  All of these can be treated like normal objects, meaning that they can be deleted, changed, or replaced by using the various Ribbon options.  There are a few however, such as the information boxes and logos that can be modified, which then become part of your personal information.  Whenever you start a new publication Publisher will automatically fill in your personal information and add your chosen logo to the new publication.  You can modify your personal information by going to File-Info and then editing the information on that screen.  You can modify the logo by clicking on the logo graphic, then clicking the small icon with an "i" in it that appears next to the logo object. 


Images can be added to your publication in similar manner to text boxes.  As with any of the pre-designed Publisher publications there will usually be images already in place.  You can change the image by right clicking on the image, then selecting the Change Picture option.  The first time that you try to change a picture or use the Insert Ribbon tools to insert an image, Publisher will ask you where your images are located on the system.  Once you successfully select an image Publisher will automatically go to this location whenever you try to insert or change an image in the future.  As with the pre-designed text boxes it is sometimes easier to delete objects in the publication, then insert a new image into the workspace.  Once placed, an image functions the same as any other object and it can be manipulated to work with your design.

You can do simple edits in place with any image in Publisher.  Either right click on the image, then choose Format Picture from the options or you can select the image object, then use the Pitcture Tools Ribbon to make any changes.  You can change the size, crop the image, control the text wrap, and more with the available options.  It is important to note that Publisher retains the original file size of the image, even if you change it to far less than its original size.  If file size is an issue(for email or printing) then use an image editing program to reduce the size of the image before placing it in the publication.

Additional Objects

Besides the text and picture boxes, there are a wide variety of other objects that can be added to a publication.  The Page Parts tool on the Insert Ribbon contains every type of object that is used in the pre-designed Pulbisher templates.  Thes objects can be repurposed for allmost any publication by changing their size, color, shape, etc.  The Insert and Drawing Tools Ribbons also contain additional objects that can be inserted by using the WordArt, Shapes, Header/Footer, Calendars, and more tools which can all be used to place those objects in the publication.  Once placed, they perform like any other object in Publisher in that you can manipulate their size, color, and position.  

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