The Microsoft Office suite offers up a powerhouse of tools to users in all fields. Word is there for the casual letter writer or the professional novelist. Excel can track, and chart, data figures be you a home user planning a holiday budget, a large business keeping track of profits, or a kid who just loves to create pie charts. PowerPoint allows you to create interactive slideshows of family holiday snaps or a new business proposal. When most people think of Office, they think of these three packages. But there are other packages in Office such as Outlook for powerful email and appointment planning, OneNote for quick note taking, and Access for database handling.
I’ve been using Microsoft Office Professional since the release of Office 97. Over the years I moved up to Office 2003, I didn’t make the move up to Office 2007 but did use the demo of it and was delighted with the newly redesigned interface, the Ribbon. And only a couple of months ago I finally made the move up to Office Professional 2010. And I have to say I’ve very pleased with it indeed. But as a home user, you might ask yourself why I want to invest in the full Professional version of Office instead of opting for the cheaper Home & Student version which offers up the key Office packages of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. What is it about Microsoft Office Professional that always draws me attention?
The answer is Microsoft Publisher.
I was first introduced to Publisher when I got Microsoft Office Professional 2003 with a new PC I bought. When I first looked at Publisher, I remember saying to myself, “Why would anyone want this?” It looked like Microsoft’s answer of Page Maker which I had used on a computer course a few years previously and I never became a fan of that package. To me, once you have Microsoft Word, that was all you needed. I mean, it could do text boxes, pictures, drawing shapes, etc. I wrote Publisher off as a package used by industry professionals, probably in the magazine industry, and for a long time I stuck with Word.
Now let me tell you a bit about myself. I am a very creative guy. I LOVE to be creative! I write, I do 3D art and animation, and I do publication work. None of this is in a professional sense, this is all a hobby for me and is something I very much enjoy. When I said above I do publication work, what I mean is I do posters, guide booklets on topics of interest, and other such pursuits. For years I use to always work in Word when doing these things and never really had any complaints. Oh sure, lining up text and graphics could be tricky at times, and trying to insert new content without messing up preceding page layouts could be a pain, but overall I loved Word for stuff like this.
Then one day I decided to take a look at Publisher.
I was working on a story for a game I was making and trying to do all the alignment and editing in Word was a task and a half at times! Remembering Page Maker from my college days and how easy it was to work with stuff like this, I decide to see what Microsoft Publisher had to offer. I spent a week in front of it, the Help file open next to it, as I explored all the tools in Publisher and how to use them. After that one week was over, I was in love with Publisher.
I instantly moved my story over to Publisher and started to develop it, using it as my project for learning Publisher. The creative process was just a joy to work with! I could grab a graphic, resize it and position where I wanted it on my page, with perfect accuracy, without having to fiddling around with text boxes and resizing them and trying to make them line up. Text naturally avoided placed graphics (you can of course make your text type over graphic too), no more hitting the Enter key to get text in a sentence down onto the next line when working beside a graphic.
Placing a background graphic was utter joy in Publisher!! In Word, I would place this background graphic in a text box to fit the screen. Then I would layer another text box on top of that for the text itself. But if you accidently grabbed the text box with the graphic in it when you really wanted to graph the text box with the text in, you could seriously mess up your layout. In Publish I can just bring in my background graphic, fill the page with it, and place my text box over it for the text, no worries.
Publisher’s accurate use of measurements means I also use it for create my own cards. At Christmas, birthdays, or whatever the occasion, I can create a layout in Publisher for the size of the printing card I’m using and onto that I can add my own graphics, text, etc., making the card uniquely mine, which then prints perfectly. Trying to achieve this in Word use to see a few of my printed cards misaligned, ruined!
My most recent project in Publisher is my very own guidebook to Orlando Florida. I love Orlando Florida, with Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, the shopping! I love it so much that folks use to always ask me for tips about visiting the place. So I created my very own guidebook to Orlando Florida which is updated whenever need be and is freely available for download from my website here: http://www.iol.ie/~pkb/OF.htm
I have truly fallen in love with Microsoft Publisher. It allows my creativity to flow freely from my mind to the screen to print. As a matter of fact, I have become such a huge fan of Microsoft Publisher that when I go to write a letter to family and friends, I use Publisher for it instead of word which allows me to control the flow of the text and any graphical elements I want to toss in. Publisher may not be a took many home users use, but I am a huge fan of it and fair play to Microsoft on development such an amazingly powerful development tool.
Hey thanks for sharing your experience.
Although I do have licenses for QuarkXPress and InDesign and do know my way around those applications, whenever I can decide myself I use MS Publisher (now version 2013) for designing and page layout. I can't exactly say what it is – it puts the fun back into computing. You get your task done, yes, and you have fun in the process. And I like the uncluttered interface