Microsoft Publisher Basics: Publisher Ribbons

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.

Basic Publisher Ribbons

The current MS Office suite programs, which include Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, etc., use what are termed "Ribbons".  These Ribbons take the place of what used to be called menus in the previous iterations of the various MS Office programs.  Each Ribbon has a range of functions, which again are similar to the menus used in many different software applications.  To use MS Publisher successfully you need to understand the various Ribbons and what their functions are.

Home-This is the default ribbon in Publisher and the one that you will use most of the time.  You can see that most of the basic text editing tools such as Bold, Italics, alignment, indenting, fonts, etc., are displayed here.  You alos have limited control over objects that you can click on in the publication layout.  This Ribbon is very similar to the one used in Microsoft Word.

Insert-Any time that you would like to add content to your publication then the Insert Ribbon is the one most likey to be used.  There are features here for adding pictures, shapes, calendars, borders, hyperlinks, and more.  The first time that you insert an image Publisher will ask you for the location of the images on your system and from that point forward it will display the available images when function is used subsequently.

Page Design-This Ribbon allows users to change the color of their publication, template, fonts, etc.,, without having to go back to the start and creating a new publication.  It is strongly advised that you save your publication before using the features in this Ribbon and then only save again once you are satisfied with the changes.

Mailings-Probably the least used of the Publisher Ribbons.  There are tools here to enable users to mail merge their publication and send it out, usually through MS Outlook or other email programs.

Review-Another lesser used Ribbon that as its name suggests, allows the user to review the publication, including spelling errors, language translation, and the use of a thesaurus for words/phrases.

View-This Ribbon allows the user to view the publication while working on it in a variety of ways.  There are functions here for single or two page spreads, adding guides and rulers, cascading windows, and more.  It is a good idea to experiment with these functions to determine the easiest view for working on your publication.

Essential Publisher Ribbons

Microsoft Publisher has several unique ribbons, which includes the Drawing and Text Box Tools.  There is also the Picture Tools Ribbon which adds image editing features to the MS Publisher program.  To be successful with MS Publisher you will need to use these Ribbons to edit a wide variety of what are termed objects in Publisher.

Picture Tools-Every time an image is clicked on in the publication layout this Ribbon will open, even though it is not usually displayed with the standard Ribbons. With this Ribbon you can add borders to an image, various effects, and even captions.  This Ribbon also contains some basic image editing tools such as re-coloring, corrections, and cropping.  Anything beyond basic editing should be done in an actual image editing program such as Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop or GImp 2, then use the Publisher tools for any final touch up or size issues.  It is also important to note the Bring Forward, Send Backward, and Align tools that are used with images.  Publisher can "stack" objects, such as image on top of a colored shape which itself is on top of a text box.  In this case the position of each obkject is very important and these tools can control their position in the stack.

Drawing Tools-Another Ribbon that only appears when certain objects are selected.  This Ribbon allows the user to select from a wide variety of shapes, borders, text wrapping, alignment, and rotation tools.  Users can add borders to text boxes, effects, color fills for shapes, and much more.  It is highly recommeded that users experiement with the various tools in this Ribbon by creating shapes, effects, changing colors, and using the Arrange tools.

Text Box Tools-After the Home Ribbon, this is the next most popular Ribbon in Publisher.  From this Ribbon you can control the appearance of any text in your publication.  The features include font, font size, alignment, WordArt, text fills, effects, and more.  Like the Drawing Tools Ribbon users should feel free to experimet with this Ribbon before starting an actual publication to see how text works and what is possible by using these tools.

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