Broken links in Publisher webs – some common causes

As of version 2002 you’ll get these issues if the sub-folder is not published (or is published in the wrong location). I recommend that Publisher be used for uploading instead of a 3rd party upload client, because doing so will ensure that the site files are correctly published. Optionally you can opt to not use the sub-folder feature, toggle the option off in Tools, Options, and then save and publish again.


Double-check your file names versus the link url, possibly you aren’t entering it literally the same. This is a common mistake because most web servers are running Unix and Unix is a case-sensitive operating system, while you the Publisher customer is running Windows, which is not case-sensitive. So when you name a web page to a file name of “ThisIsMeInAlaska.htm” and your host is Unix then you will not find that page if you browse to “thisismeinalaska.htm”. Another common mistake is using spaces in the file name. The standard file naming convention for web page is all lower-case characters with no spaces and no special characters, use only dash and under-scores. For example – “myphotos_grp1.htm” is correct naming convention, while “My Photos group 1.htm” is incorrect.


Are you forwarding/framing the true physical location of your site? For example publishing to “” but using the domain name of ““. Publisher writes relative links, if you visit the url of the physical pages you’ll find the site works fine. You want to talk to the help desk of whomever you ordered the forwarding/framing from, and tell them that your page links are all relative and the framing breaks the page navigation, and can they support the relative linking. The only other thing you can do is to not use the nav bar wizard, opting to do the linkages manually yourself and using absolute links.


In a sub-folder with the same name you named the file when you saved it as a web. Version 2002 introduced an optional sub-folder that gets used by default. As of version 2002 the sub-folder contains all files EXCEPT for the home page (page 1 of the publication). Optionally you can opt to not use the sub-folder feature, toggle the option off in Tools, Options, and then save and publish again.


Possibly the result of having built more then one version of the Navigation Bar wizard on the site. Making what pages are accessed dependent on what version of the nav bar you use. Look at the nav bar on each page very carefully and determine which page has the correct nav bar. Once you know that then go thru the remaining pages and delete the nav bar from them. Then go back to the correct page, copy the nav bar, and then paste that nav bar on the remaining pages.

Typical questions from the typical Publisher web design Newbie

How do I paste a code snippet into the HTML Code Fragment dialog? By using the keyboard – Ctrl key + V key

How do I view and/or modify the HTML source code? No. Publisher is not an html editor nor is it a web design tool. More importantly there is no code for you to see nor edit. It simply doesn’t exist. The html source is not created until Publisher writes it, which is when it generates the web site when you save the web publication as a web site.

How do I password protect my page(s)? This is a server side function outside the scope of Publisher. Speak to your web host about what options they support for permission based access. More advanced functionality such as an actual login/logout page requires web programming (not to be confused with web design) and typically a server side database with user data. That is beyond the scope of Publisher, take a look at instead.

How come I only got the first page when I saved the web publication as a web site? Publisher generated web pages for all the pages of your publication. You are just not being observant. Look again and you’ll find a folder that has the same name as the home page file name. Look inside that folder. The home page web file and the matching folder are what compose the web site.

How do I use frames. You don’t. Not with Publisher.

How do I make a drop down or fly out menu? This is a dynamic effect created by scripting. Publisher has zero scripting support and provides for zero dynamic effects. It is designed for static web pages and static text. You can however acquire a 3rd party menu and use Publishers HTML Code Fragment dialog to implement it.

How do I get a hit counter? See answer in previous sentence.

How come my text on the web page is not a accurate reproduction of the text box in the web publication? This is most typically due to the use of any type of Paragraph formatting to the text in the text box. Such formatting is for a print publication, and not a web publication where the results will be unpredictable. So do not apply things like – tabs, indents, line-spacing. Font face and font size are to be the only formatting applied to text in a web publication.

How come when I wrap text to an image the web page displays the text over the image? As of Publisher version 2002, wrapping text to an image in a web publication is not supported.

How do I get my Publisher web pages to display correctly in all browsers? Basically you don’t. Publisher is designed to exploit the technologies of the Internet Explorer browser. Support in a non Windows IE browser is limited at best. It is a limitation of using Publisher for a web site.

Publisher web publication forms 101

A Publisher web publication form is comprised of form controls (fields, checkboxes) and a submit control.

A form requires server side processing. Your web host is the server. The web site visitors PC is the client. When a submit control on a form is clicked that tells the client browser to send the form control data to the server, the server then processes the data it received and responds back to the client. Publisher uses FrontPage technology (webbots) on the server to perform this (that’s why you can’t “preview” a form). A functional form requires – A) FrontPage Server Extensions (FPSE) installed on the web server (order from your web host) and B) your site must be published in the HTTP protocol, and C) the form properties must be properly configured on the Submit button control.

To use a Publisher form you must do two things:

use a FPSE enabled web host account
publish the Publisher web using HTTP

You can confirm that FPSE was successfully installed and are functional by browsing to the page “_vti_inf.html” at the root of your domain. For example – . If the FrontPage configuration page loads then that is your confirmation page. A “page cannot be found” or other such server error would indicate that FPSE needs to be installed or reinstalled by the host.

The extensions require HTTP file uploads to be functional, therefore if you need support for forms your site must be published via HTTP. Do not use FTP for publishing if you have FrontPage Server Extensions installed on your domain. See the HTTP publishing article.

After the form is submitted the page is redirected to a confirmation page. You cannot change that function nor change the confirmation page. That is not available in Publisher. FPSE processes the form submission and then dynamically generates a confirmation page listing the form controls it received. You can opt to not use FPSE for your form processing in which case your program may provide for a level of customization not available with Publisher and FPSE. If your host provides and supports a form program and you have the technical know how to program it (or your host assists you). In the form properties dialog for your form simply select the option to use “an ISP Program” and then input the server path and name of the form program.

The form controls have no validation functionality (you cannot require a field).

By default Publisher sets the tab order of the form controls (fields) in the order in which the controls are added to the page. The Arrange (front/back) feature can be used to set an explicit tab order in a form. This is done by selecting each control in the order you want the tab order to follow, and setting it to “bring to front”. In v2003 you can right click the control and select Order, Bring to front. In v2002 you can use Alt + F6. Or just use the Arrange menu.

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.


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).

Common Sense Computing 101 aka "Why in the world would you lose your publisher file?"

As an MVP for Publisher over some 5 years, it has never ceased to surprise me how many times I’ve read this question – “I lost my pub file (insert long story here), how do I get my web site back from the html files on the server?”

It’s obvious that a lesson in common sense (computing) is needed. So I’ll get on my soapbox before I delve into answering the particular question.

First, the maxim. “If the file is important to you, have more than one copy.”

Simple, seems common sense to me. After all, think of all the various things that are important to you. I bet you have some sort of protection for them.

Me personally, in all my years of computing I’ve lost 3 hard drives. Where they just go kaput. I’ve misplaced, deleted, or otherwise lost, a file I was working on more times then I know. Yet I’ve never “lost” a file. The worst case scenario is redoing some recent work in an older version of the file in question.

“If the file is important to you, have more than one copy.”

My computing workflow goes like this…

If the file is very important, I make a copy of it before I begin modifications to it. You can do this in various ways. What I do is open Windows Explorer and right click the file and select copy, then in the folder I want the copy of the file I right click and select paste. Sometimes I leave the file name as is, other times I may append the filename. For example – . Where that would be the date I saved the file off before making a change to the original copy. Other times I may describe the change I’m going to make to the original copy – mycustomerfile_before I whacked half of it But that’s how I do it, like I said there are different ways, like opening the file and then going to File, Save as, and simply saving off a copy that way. Though the difference in that is you’ll open up the copy version of the file, ready for editing. Where I prefer to use the copy version of the file as a “snapshot” of the file as of that moment and then go edit the original version of the file.

Doing this copying methodology serves three purposes, it provides an easy fallback if the changes I make turn out to be a big mistake (it’s usually easier to go back to the copy and start over then to back out significant changes to an original), it provides fallbacks if the original should become corrupted, it provides fallback files that I can burn off to CD and/or copy to a secondary hard disk. I use both additional hard drives and CD’s to archive files. I routinely copy them to another hard drive and then I occasionally do a larger backup to CD or DVD media. That way in a hard drive failure scenario my most recent files are recoverable from the separate hard drive, and older files are available on media.

If you need to, write “If the file is important to you, have more than one copy” on a post-it and affix it to your monitor.

As for implementing common sense computing in managing your Publisher web publication file I recommend the following…

First, decide what “minor change” and “significant change” mean to you.

Before making a significant modification to your web publication file make a copy of it as I covered above.

At the very least make a copy at random times. You’ll want to guard against file corruption of the web publication file.

Make your changes, publish the site, test it. Repeat if necessary.

Now once you have the site files, those html and image files, remember that those files are not important. Not at all. Why? Because the site is fully contained in the Publisher file. At any time you can publish again and replace those files. It is the .pub file, that web publication, that is important. Vital even. The irony is that your web host is backing up your site files every single day. Something you probably assume and take for granted because – it’s only common sense. Am I right 😉

So take advantage of that. When you are done with your pub file, copy it to your web host account. These days the standard web host provider offers more disk space on their account offerings then you could ever fill up. (if you’re using some freebie then perhaps not) So take advantage of that. Most web host have a file manager tool that you can quickly upload the file. Or you can use an http web folder or an ftp tool. Whatever works for you. Start by creating a new folder on your account, call it what you like, perhaps “bkup”. That host file manager is perfect for creating a new folder. Then use that folder to copy the pub file to for its safe keeping. 

Of course once you do that the file is accessible by simply browsing to its URL, for example –

The likelihood of anybody ever knowing that address without you telling them is pretty much zero, and even if someone downloaded it, what purpose would it serve. But, if this is of concern to you then just simply restrict access to that folder. Most web hosts have a control panel that allows you to set and modify access permissions to the files and folders on the server for your account. Speak to your host support if you need assistance in removing anonymous access to your folder. Once done the result is that when addressing that folder you are required to explicitly enter login credentials.

Hopefully by this point you have been energized with common sense computing skills and you know you will never lose your Publisher wed publication and your web site, due to hard disk failure, file corruption, or other disaster. But, what if this common sense hits you to late. What if you’re the dude going “can I get my pub file back from the html files on the server?”

First, kick yourself repeatedly.

Next, accept the answer. Which is, No. But sorta Yes. Well No is the short answer. Yes is the long answer. Which do you prefer?

I thought so.

No, you can’t download all the site files, not just html files mind you, you need the image files too, and have them magically morph into a Publisher web publication .pub file.

But, if you have version 2002 or version 2003, and you are willing to suck it up and apply yourself, then you can recreate the web publication file. So ask yourself, how important to you is it? 😉

As of version 2002, Publisher will open a htm/html file. Which actually, technically, isn’t very useful since Publisher is not an html editor, nor a web design tool (i.e. FrontPage). However it’s handy in this situation. The kicker is, it’s only going to open one at a time.

Now is when your skills with the Ctrl + C (copy) and Ctrl + V (paste) keys comes into play.

How this works is that you open the index.htm (home page) file in Publisher (2002 or later) and then go to File, Save as, and save it as a .pub file. That gives you the new web publication file.

Insert new blank pages into the publication for how ever many web pages you have. Then there next to your publication you use a second instance of Publisher to open the next htm file. You copy everything on the page (either group, copy, or select all, or lasso, copy – whatever method you prefer) and you go over to the appropriate page in the new publication file and you do a paste. There you go. You repeat for each web page.

When you finally finish and have that recreated .pub file, then you will fully appreciate the time I took to write all this. At least I hope so 😉

Building a web site with multiple Publisher web publication files

applies to all versions, however, URL’s must be modified to suit your versions file naming convention.

Traditionally with Publisher you create a site with multiple web pages all within a single Publisher (.pub) file, known as the web publication file. If you want to keep your site all neat and tidy in one place this can be a benefit. But it has some disadvantages. For example, every time you modify the file and resave to html, all the pages and images of your pub file are recreated. Once they are recreated you need to re-upload * all these files to your web space.

If you have a pub file with ten pages in it, and you make a change on page 4, save to the pub file, then click Save As Web Page ** to have Publisher generate the web site files, you’ll get all new site files that are all re-coded due to that one simple change.

Always uploading ten pages after a change may not be problematic, but what about 30, or 50? At some point it will become to much to manage. The best way to manage a larger site is to use multiple pub files. Probably the easiest way is one web page to a pub file, but that many pub files could be difficult to manage. You could also do sections per pub file, for example you might have a section about dogs and that section has five web pages, you could create those 5 pages in one pub file. Another section about cats might be 8 pages and that is the cats pub file. Only one pub file will have the home page, this might be it’s one pub file for just this one page or you can have a pub file you consider the main section.

You’ll need to decide on the structure you want before you get started. You also need to decide on a site wide naming convention and with that you need to decide if you want to use the option to have supporting files in a sub-folder ***.

For a site that is using the multiple pub file methodology I highly recommend using the sub-folder option. As such this article will be based on using it, if you elect to not use it you will have to develop your own structure to avoid pages of the same file name trying to occupy the same directory.

The sub-folder is created by Publisher and named by Publisher according to the file name you enter during the conversion to web pages. Your home page needs to be named “index.htm” so from the pub file that contains your Home page you’ll get the index.htm file AND a sub-folder named “index_files”. If you do another pub file, say it’s a section for pages on dogs, then you would name the file “dog” and then the sub-folder will be named “dog_files”.

Plan this in advance and it’s best to keep it simple and have it make sense. For example if you have a page about Madonna, then name the file madonna.htm and the pub file that contains it would be named If you have a section on music that is made of 6 pages then call the pub file and the six pages in the pub file would be saved as music.htm and result in a sub-folder called music_files.

With this web site creation methodology you only have to re-upload the section (smaller pub file) that you made a change too rather than a whole site (larger pub file).

For links that cross pub files, such as the home page in your main pub file linking to the dogs page in your dogs pub file, you need to use the URL of the page and the “existing file or web page” option in the hyperlink dialog. This is where the importance of site and naming convention planning comes in.

When you are linking pages that are within the same pub file you can use the “place in this document” option when hyperlinking. Because the links are to pages within the publisher file. When the page is not in that publisher file however then your hyperlink needs to know to jump out of that sub-folder and what sub-folder to go to and what page in the sub-folder once it gets there.

For example lets say you created a pub file called and that pub file has 6 pages. When saved as web pages you’ll have music.htm, the sub-folder music_files, and in the sub-folder – page001.htm thru page005.htm ****. If you uploaded those to you’ll have the following 6 URL’s:

If you then create a home page (index.htm) in another pub file and you want links on the home page to those music section pages you need to link to the URL of the page.

For example you might put the text “MUSIC” on the home page and then in the hyperlink dialog you select the option “existing file or web page” and in the Address box you input the URL, which in this example is

If it where to link to page 3 you would input the URL –

If you wanted a link on that 5th page of the music section to go to your home page than you would use the URL

This web site creation methodology can allow you to achieve a sizable site with less time and effort in the long run however it requires adequate planning upfront as well as careful attention to detail.

* version 2003 has an optional incremental feature to minimize this.
** menu option wording varies by version, but is always under File menu.
*** versions 2002 and later.
**** or your own naming implementation.

Using JavaScript Pop Up windows in a Publisher web

 Sometimes it can be useful to display information in a small pre-configured pop-up window. For example if you had a hyperlink that said “more details” and that link opened a small pop-up with details related to the primary windows content.

This should not be confused with the intrusive advertising technique of “pop-up’s”, that pop-over or pop-under without the visitor’s consent or prior knowledge.

To launch our window we need to use a small snippet of JavaScript. Publisher has no built-in support for scripting so you use the HTML Code Fragment dialog to insert the script.

The HTML Code Fragment dialog is located in the Insert menu, and the dialog is drawn on the page where it is needed like you do with a text box or picture frame.

Our snippet of code contains the hyperlink so you will insert the code fragment on your page where you are wanting the hyperlink to be located. Simply copy and paste the following code:

<a href=”’pagename.htm’,’windowname_window’,’toolbar=0,location=0,directories=0,status=0,menubar=1,scrollbars=1,resizable=0,width=400, height=400′);windowname_window.focus()”>Link Text Display</a>

Obviously you need a web page that this link is opening, that web page is what is specified in place of “pagename.htm”. Replace the link text display string with your desired hyperlink text.

You will set the width and height numbers to the pixel sizes you want the web page to be sized to in the pop-up. If you want the visitor to be able to resize the window change the resizable variable to 1. If you want scroll bars to not display set the variable for that to 0. Other common settings you may want to set are – display toolbar, status bar, menubar – yes is 1, no is 0.

If you use this snippet more than once on a page you will need to change the “windowname” in each snippet to enable them to differentiate themselves on the page.

You can see an example of this pop-up technique by visiting and clicking the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page.

Create a "send to friend" email link

Do you want your page visitor to be able to send the URL of your page to a friend recommending it? A “Send to a friend” email link. This is known as a “mailto” link. Such a link will cause the browser to open the registered default email client. With a little bit of code added to the link you can auto-fill the message subject and body.

You can only use this in Publisher with a HTML code fragment. Open the fragment dialog and paste the following code snippet:

<A HREF=”mailto:?subject=Recommended&body=I recommend visiting this page.” TITLE=”Send to a friend”>Send to a friend</A>

After ‘subject=’ and before ‘&body’ you can modify the text you want in the message subject line. Obviously after ‘&body=’ you can customize the body section of the message.

Then close the dialog having positioned the fragment on the page where you want the link to appear.

If you prefer an image rather then the “send to a friend” text you simply swap that text with the code for an image.

Which looks like  <IMG SRC=”/>