The Publisher Tip Sheet

Tip 1. If you just want a standard blank page to begin your document, press ESC at the Catalog screen. This will give you a default page using your default printer settings.

Tip 2. Getting the wrong default printer, page size or orientation? Publisher gets this information from your printer driver, so this is where you need to make changes. Firstly, exit Publisher, and all other applications. To change the printer settings, open the Printers Folder — Start: Settings: Printers. You may have more than one printer installed, so if you need to, change the default printer by selecting the printer, then File: Set As Default, or right-clicking and choosing Set As Default.

Now to change the printer settings, open Printer Properties. File: Properties or right-click and choose Properties. You may need to refer to your printer manual at this stage. When you have made the changes, exit the printer properties box. Now when you open Publisher, the new defaults should apply.

Tip 3. When you start with a blank page, there is no need to create a text box if all you want to do is type — just start typing and Publisher will automatically create a text box using the margins as the boundaries. This will work on any new page, but not if there is another object on the page.

Tip 4. If you never use the Catalog, you don’t need to have it appear when you start Publisher. Use Tools: Options and deselect Use Catalog at Startup.

Tip 5. If you want to create a new publication, you can do this using Explorer. Navigate to the folder where you keep your publications (or use the Desktop if you wish) and create a new Publisher document by using File: New: Microsoft Publisher Publication or right click in Explorer (or on the Desktop) to get to the New menu.

When the file is created, the name will be highlighted so that you can just type the new name, but don’t forget the .PUB extension! Now you can open the file by double-clicking and you will go straight to the new blank page.

This is particularly useful if you sometimes forget to save your document — it will already have a file name, so you just need to rely on Publisher’s ability to remind you to save.

Tip 6. You can personalize Publisher’s screen layout to some extent. If you have trouble hitting the right icons on the toolbar, you can make them bigger — use View: Toolbars: Options and select Large Icons. You can turn the toolbars on and off, or drag them around. It is possible to join two toolbars together, if your monitor is big enough. This gives you more space for your document.

Tip 7. The main screen display benefit you can give yourself is to increase the screen resolution. This is not a part of Publisher, so we won’t cover it here, but if in doubt refer to your Windows manual. A hint — right-click on the Desktop and look for Properties. Many people still use a screen resolution of 640×480, which is not all that suited to today’s applications. Changing the display properties is tricky, so you might need some help if you are not comfortable with these changes.

Plus, it is not always possible on older computers to increase the resolution, but if you can you will be surprised at the benefits, allowing you to see more onscreen. It also helps when browsing the web!

Tip 8. Maximize your Publisher window! There are very few reasons to run Publisher less than fully maximized. Remember that you can switch between open applications by using Alt-Tab.

Tip 9. Get to know how to change the view size of your publication. Quickly zooming in and out is a very useful tool, and can help you work a lot quicker. Press F9 on your keyboard to zoom to page.

Tip 10. Use the scratch area — the area outside the edges of your publication — to good purpose. You can store images, blocks of text, in fact anything here until you need it.

Tip 11. Remember that Content is King! Don’t worry about formatting, design, or fancy bits until you have entered all the text. Concentrate on what the words say before you start on how they look.

Tip 12. It might suit you better to use some other program to enter text. Publisher now integrates well with Word, so for some people this is a good place to start. That way you can fine-tune the text, using all of Word’s tools, such as the the grammar checker, and easy access to synonyms and the thesaurus.

Once you place the text into Publisher it is still possible — and easy — to re-edit it in Word.

Tip 13. Rather than retype already-printed material, it is now quick and easy to scan and optically character-read an existing document. If you have access to a late-model scanner you may have all the tools required. Check your scanner manual or computer system for ‘OCR’ software.

Saving as ‘RTF’ or Rich Text Format can help preserve the original formatting of the text, but sometimes it might be more useful to save as text only, and start from scratch with formatting. This way you won’t be limited by the previous layout and design.

Tip 14. Publisher is able to insert text created in a number of different formats, including the native files from most of the common Windows and Mac word processing packages.

Tip 15. Publisher uses the clipboard in a very intelligent way, and offers options when copying and pasting from other applications. For example, if you start with no text box selected, you can paste text as a new text frame or a new table. If you have a text box selected you also have the option of pasting as unformatted text. The secret is in the Edit: Paste Special command.

Tip 16. On older machines, if you have a lot of pictures, redrawing the page when you scroll or change the zoom percentage can be a slow process. View: Picture Display: Fast Resize and Zoom can really speed things up, but if you need to see the pictures to fine-tune placements, you can turn Detailed Display back on.

Tip 17. Choose a view that fits the current working area comfortably on your screen. There’s no need to squint into the screen, just zoom in — either use the View: Zoom or use the right-click menu. In Publisher 2000 you are no longer restricted to discrete zoom steps — you can type any percentage between 10 and 400 into the Zoom box on the toolbar, so if 297% gives you the best view, use it. Publisher 2002/2003 allow you to zoom up to 800%, or 1000% in print preview.

Tip 18. The What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) layout of Publisher is great, but sometimes you need to be able to see exactly where the spaces, paragraph ends and other normally hidden characters are. View:Show Special Characters gives a visual representation of these bits and pieces. Great to track down extra spaces, carriage returns etc.

Tip 19. The margins and layout guides are among the most useful features of Publisher, but sometimes they can get in the way. To ‘proof’ a page onscreen without the non-printing guides, or to check that borders appear as they should, you need to turn the guides off sometimes. View: Hide Boundaries and Guides will do this.

Tip 20. Hovering the mouse over buttons, objects, even rulers, shows a Tool Tip. To really get some benefit from these, it is possible to increase their display size so that you can’t miss them! This isn’t part of Publisher, but can be found in Display Properties. Look for the Appearance tab, then Item: Tooltip. Increase the size of the font (18 is good) Check out the other options you can play with here — fine-tune your display exactly the way you want it.

Tip 21. If you just want to write a letter, simply choose a Blank Publication, or press ESC when presented with the Catalog. You can just start typing – Publisher will automatically create a text frame when you start typing onto a blank page.

Tip 22. If you find that you continually enter the same information into your publications – such as your address, or a logo – consider creating your own template. This will save you time, allowing you to create the basic framework of your document, save it as a template so that when you open the template you begin with a partially completed new publication. Try it, you’ll like it! Just save as a Publisher Type – Publisher Template. Letters are easy using a template – just type your address, insert a date placeholder (Insert: Date & Time: choose a format, then select Update Automatically), and format the text the way you want it. If you’re lucky thats the last time you need to type your address and the date.

Tip 23. Don’t settle for the default font, style and size. It may be Times Roman – not always that readible unless you have a very high resolution printer. I normally use Garamond for letters — just my personal choice, but I find it more attractive and easier to read when printed on my inkjet printer.

Tip 24. On the other hand, don’t go overboard with a type style – remember, its just a letter! Ornate fonts aren’t very easy to read at small sizes, so keep it simple. Some people like to use a simple non-serif font such as Arial, but too much on a page can make it look a bit boring.

Tip 25. Spacing is an important part of the layout of a letter. Remember that the rules you learnt on that old typewriter don’t apply here — double-spaces at the end of a sentence are not necessary with Publisher, or any computer application for that matter.
Spacing between paragraphs is a matter of taste – use additional spacing, but don’t go overboard. I find that double-spacing is too much so I adjust the line spacing after paragraphs to about 6/10 of the current point size — for example, using 10 point text I make the spacing 6 points. Set this up under Format: Line Spacing…: After Paragraphs.

Tip 26. Get to know the choices you have under the Format: Font dialog box. Anything you select here applies to the current text selection, or if you haven’t selected any text, to any text which follows the selection.

Tip 27. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you have to. This applies to my pet hate, underlining. In the old days when we only had typewriters, underlining was one of the very few ways of ‘highlighting’ text, but really is just makes it more difficult to read. Underlining works sometimes (it’s great for hyperlinks on web pages!) but if in doubt, don’t do it. Publisher 2000 offers about 20 different ways of underlining, but that doesn’t make it right!

Tip 28. Some of the choices under the Font dialog box are useful, some are not. For example, Outline, Engrave and Emboss are mostly useless. On the other hand, using Small Caps can add elegance to a headline.

Tip 29. All Caps using the Font dialog box is a better choice than just typing everything in capitals — if you change your mind you don’t need to retype it, you can just turn All Caps off!

Tip 30. Many font styles can be accessed using keyboard shortcuts. Get to know these, because since you are typing anyway, your hands will be on the keyboard. Leaving the keyboard to grab the mouse takes time. The most useful are Bold – control-b, and Italic – control-i.

Tip 31. Installing any Office component, including Publisher, is normally as easy as inserting the CD and following the prompts. Please read each screen though, as it is easy to miss an option if we just click Next or OK all the time!

Tip 32. If you install Publisher 2000 as part of Office, although the manual states that installation is easy, it doesn’t cover any of the steps required. A common problem is that Publisher is installed separately from the second CD — there are no prompts or reminders while you install Office from the first CD. (The same goes for Photodraw which comes on the third CD in the Premium version.)

Tip 33. If you have plenty of disk space, and are unlikely to run out of space in the future, it may be a good idea to install the clipart on your hard drive. This means that you can put the CD away in a safe place and don’t need to get it out all the time to use clipart
You may strike some compatibility issues with the Clip Gallery when installing Publisher over any other application which installs clipart to the Gallery. Be aware that you may lose previously installed clipart from the Gallery, even though it is still on your CD. Any issues such as this can normally be solved by posting a query in the Publisher newsgroup.

Tip 34. You can choose to install Publisher 2000 in addition to any version, but unless you regularly receive or prepare Publisher files for others, there is very little advantage in this. Publisher 2003/2002 can open all previous version files, and can save as Publisher 98, 2000 if the need arises. (Both these features have certain provisos, and cannot be assumed to be 100% reliable!)

Tip 35. If installing Publisher as part of Office, use the Office installation CD key — using a separate Publisher CD key can stop Publisher from running.

Tip 36. An application which relies on a lot of keyboard entry — such as Publisher — can work quicker using keyboard shortcuts. That way you don’t need to remove your hands from the keyboard as often. So don’t forget, ctrl-c to copy, ctrl-v to paste, and ctrl-x to cut.

Tip 37. A really quick way to copy a Publisher object is to ctrl-drag it with the mouse. Hold down the ctrl key, click and drag the object to copy it, release then mouse then release ctrl!

Tip 38. If you want to use ctrl-drag to duplicate an object down or across the page, you can constrain the direction by also holding down the shift key.

Tip 39. Publisher uses a very intelligent clipboard manager, so it is possible to paste objects or text in different ways using the Paste As… command.

Tip 40. To make a graphic representation of the whole Publisher page, you can select everything, copy, and Paste As… Picture, or paste into an imaging program like PhotoShop.

Tip 41. Format Painting is an often overlooked feature of Publisher, because it is not immediately apparent what it does, or how it can benefit you. Look for the Format Painting button on the toolbar: Format Painter works best when changing more than one feature, for example just applying Bold attributes is better done by just pressing the Bold button, but if you want to change the colour, font etc as well, then Format Painter is the quickest way.

Tip 42. To use the Format Painter, place the cursor inside the word whose format you want to copy, press the Format Painter button, then highlight the word or words which you wish to format.

Tip 43. Once you have format painted the first time, just press the button again to format the next section. The formatted section will already be selected.

Tip 44. To format just a single word, double-click it to quick-format.

Tip 45. Formatting large sections of text should ideally be done using Styles. Format Painter works best on single words or short passages.

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.

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.


bkIMG-dg2_400x300.gif


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.


bkIMG-dg1_400x300.gif


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.


bkIMG-dg3_400x300.gif


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).