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.

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