While it’s perfectly possible to create reasonably eye-catching newsletters and other design-led documents using your word processor, if you want to produce really professional results you need a desktop publishing package. You can spend a small fortune on the likes of Adobe InDesign or Quark Xpress, you could try your luck with a freebie like Scribus, but if you want ease of use combined with a decent end product, Publisher is one of a raft of titles priced accordingly.
One of the most disappointing omissions from Publisher 2007 was the ribbon interface that appeared in most other Office 2007 suites – that’s now been rectified in Publisher 2010. There are also a number of new tools to aid in the design process: you can now edit pictures directly in Publisher itself, plus take advantage of new object alignment technology to keep your page elements in order.
Publisher 2010 also supports the insertion of dynamic pre-built content blocks from a variety of sources, such as sidebars, stories and calendars, all of which are easy to update. New typographic tools now include support for ligatures and stylistic text – all with real-time previews.
When it comes to publishing your finished documents, there’s an integrated full-page preview shown when you come to print your document – all part of the new Office Backstage technology for managing your content from a single central point. There’s even a Design Checker for verifying your publication doesn’t contain any basic errors.
Although suitable for a home audience, there’s no Home and Student version of Microsoft Publisher available, and it’s not part of Office Home and Student 2010, so this is the only way you can get it without paying for a more fully featured version of Office.
The improvements help make Publisher a useful desktop publishing tool for those who need professional looking designs without shelling out for a high-end program.