Organize your Publisher Templates Pane

What we have here is a little known secret which we are now exposing to everyone! This tutorial will walk you through organizing your templates into a folder hierarchy. Doing so will help you find your custom templates within Publisher’s Task Pane much easier. If you already have existing templates, you will need to follow this tutorial and apply these changes to each one individually.

 Figure 01

By default, if you don’t have any templates, you will not see a “My Templates” section in the New Publication Task Pane (See Fig. 01)

Step 1: Open your existing template (or create a new template) in Publisher.

 Figure 02

Step 2: Go to File > Save As
and be sure that you save your Publisher file as a template. Change the “Save as type” to Publisher Template. This will make sure we are also working on the template and not a new publication from your template. 

Step 3: If you close out of Publisher then reopen Publisher and access the New Publication Task Pane (File > New) , you will now see the new Section labeled Templates > My Templates.

 Figure 03

In this tutorial I used an Avery label template that I created as a sample.

Step 4: Open the template again. Now go to File > Properties and access the Summary tab. Look for the section under the Summary tab called Category. This is where you will want to enter a friendly name that you want to appear in your New Publication Task Pane for this category of templates that you want stored. I have a bunch of custom Avery Label templates that I want to have separated from my other templates, so I choose Avery Templates as my friendly name.


Step 5: This step is entirely optional, but I recommend it. While still in your File > Properties dialog you will notice under the Summary tab there is another section called Title

 Figure 04

If your template doesn’t have a very friendly file name, this would be an excellent way to give the file a secondary name which appears in your new Templates Section. For example, the file I am working with shows up with the name of Avery 8066 Template (see template preview thumbnail in Fig. 03 on the right side with the blue border). But by changing the title, I can have the Template appear with a more friendly name, 8066 – File Folders

 Figure 05

Because the template appears under the new Avery Template section in the task pane, I felt it was redundant to have Avery in the title. It also shows File Folders in the name, which at a quick glance will tell you what you normally use this template for. As a note, this will NOT change the actual file name.

Step 6: In order for these changes to be saved you will need to be sure to go to File > Save.

Step 7: Now go to File > Exit. Then reopen Publisher and go to File > New.

Step 8: You should now see that your templates are appearing in their own category, with friendly titled thumbnails to the right (unless you have moved your task pane to the right of your screen.

 Figure 06

Step 9: As you can see you will see thumbnail previews separated by category.

The secret is out! Share it with everyone.

Customize your Design Gallery

And here we have yet another hidden secret that has been in Publisher for many…many years. “My Objects” in the Design Gallery. Don’t confuse this with your Clip Art/Design Gallery. This is a whole different beast. This is Publisher 2003 that we are talking about. Publisher has its own little own Design Gallery, and it’s really starting to show its age. Nevermind the fact that they updated the interface a smidgen here and there, and popped in a couple new themes. Overall, the Design Gallery remains largely unchanged and unused.

Believe it or not, this can and should be used in your daily creation of newsletters, brochures templates and business publications. But I am talking about “My Objects”, which is one of the tabs in the Design Gallery. Just as it infers, this is a location to store your personalized objects for your publications.

For those unfamiliar with the Design Gallery, you can access the Design Gallery in two different ways. The common (and easiest) way is to click on the Design Gallery button which is located on the Object Toolbar. Otherwise, you can use the standard toolbar and go to Insert > Design Gallery Object. Note that we have 3 tabs listed here. Objects by Category, Objects by Design and My Objects. In this article, we will focus entirely on the “My Objects” tab. You will note that the “My Objects” section is empty. That’s ok…we can fill that up.


Today we will pretend we are running a newspaper that is flourishing with high paying advertisers. We will create “The Newspaper” by using an existing Microsoft Publisher template. Newspapers will normally have advertisers that pay for ads. These ads can be images, images with text or just text. Some advertisers will supply you with their desired “ad” or “special”, and they may ask you to display the ads on alternate days, weeks or even months.


With the Design Gallery you can add these “ads” or “specials” to the My Objects section. When you save your “Newspaper” template, these objects will always be made available to you for insertion. You can insert ANY object you create in Publisher into your Design Gallery. Even items such as images that you have copied from the web and pasted into Publisher.

There is only one way to add objects to your Design Gallery. Select the object that you want to insert (be sure to group an ad that is both an image and text) and then click on the Design Gallery button on the object toolbar. Select the My Objects tab, then in the lower left corner click on Options > Add Selection to Design Gallery.

You should be prompted to create a name for your object. In the sample newspaper shown, I have an ad that I called: Ad – Double Dogs. In addition, you will see that you are also prompted for a Category. With a newspaper, you could have different categories for better organization. Some examples would be Classifieds, Ads, Profiles, Records, Birth Announcements and more. If you are adding an new object, but you already have a category that you created, then you only need to name the object. Then in the category drop down box, you can choose your existing category to insert your object in.


Any objects that you insert will always be there, even if you delete them from the actual page. The important thing to keep in mind is that you must be working off of a template. So anytime you add new objects to your Design Gallery, you must go to File > Save As and change the Save As type to template and override your existing newspaper template. All new objects will be retained. You could also save it as a template with a new name if you choose to not override your existing template and have more than one template. However, only the newer template will have the new objects added. As a side note, these are not “smart” objects (which are the type of objects you find in the Objects by Category and Objects by Design tabs).

I have found that this is a great way to centrally store frequently used objects, such as text boxes that contain frequently used formatted text, images and any other objects (single or grouped).