Microsoft Publisher is used for creating publications, primarily for print. It has many useful features for designing publications, and although it may seem complicated at first, once you know your way around it, you’ll find it’s simple to create professional looking documents relatively easily.
In our previous article “A checklist for Designing with Publisher” we identified the importance of thinking carefully about how your design will look before you start. The page size and layout is an important part of this and is much easier to alter these before you start than when you are halfway through the design process. Publisher is clever and comes with a range of preset layouts for page sizes and folded documents. If you are designing a document for printing, you may need to include trim lines and bleed lines in the file. You should ideally check the specifications needed by your print company before you start designing and set your page up accordingly.
Choosing a preset template
In Microsoft Publisher you can create a new publication or change a current document to any page size you wish. If you are planning to create a folded document, such as a three-fold brochure, or a folded newsletter, the preset templates will save you a lot of time and effort in fiddling around with trying to get measurements correct.
To select a template, open a blank document and go to Page design > Template group > Change template
You’ll then be presented with options from the ‘quick publications’ screen to choose from a wide range of different template styles with various colours designs. Select any design and click ‘ok‘.
To change to a different publication layout, from this ‘quick publications’ screen go up a level by clicking on ‘home‘ and this will give you many options to choose from, such as flyers, business cards, brochures and much more, select the option you require and click ‘ok’. These templates have placeholder text and images that you can change and edit as appropriate allowing you to create your design whilst keeping the accurate dimensions and alignment needed for your publication to print correctly.
Setting your page size
As well as selecting a preset template, you can also set a page size. This is most useful where you are going for a single page print and not a folded document. To do this, with your document open go to Page Design > Page Setup group > Size.
Here you can choose from a range of preset sizes (click ‘more preset page sizes‘ to see the full range) or if you have a specific size that you need to suit your paper or printers requirements then you can select ‘create new page size‘ to set your own page measurements. Note: if you do this after you have started the design process, the page dimensions will change, but it won’t affect the design on your page so this may mean that you have then readjust your design layout after changing the size
In the same place under Page Design > Page Setup group you also have option to adjust orientation of your document. Select orientation > ‘portrait’ or ‘landscape’ to switch from one orientation to the other. Note: if you do this after you have started the design process, the page dimensions will change, but it won’t affect the design on your page so this may mean that you have then readjust your design layout after switching the orientation.
Adding bleed and crop marks
If you intend to send your publication to a commercial printer, you will probably need to add bleed and crop marks to your design. Essentially the bleed area is an additional border area outside the borders of your publication where your background colour is extended in order for colours on your page to be printed right to the edge of your printed publication and avoid a white border around the edge of your file.
In a later article we’ll look at how to set bleed lines and crop marks in Microsoft Publisher before sending your document to print.