Why Microsoft Publisher is NOT Printer Friendly, No Matter What Anyone Might Think

There’s been a huge amount of excitement floating around out there with regard to Microsoft Publisher. It’s been described as a cheaper, easier to use alternative to Photoshop, Illustrator and other design software that typically requires more experience and design savvy than the average person without experience in graphic design or tons of time to play with the program is going to have. Unfortunately, Microsoft Publisher isn’t always as commercially printer friendly as they would like you to think.

What It Does

Note, we’re not saying there’s anything wrong with Microsoft Publisher. When you get right down to the bottom line, all layout and design programs are designed to do the exact same thing: Position text, photos, clip art and other elements into a document that will be used to transfer the image onto another medium, such as paper. (I specify that because these same types of files are used to put images on cardboard boxes, cloth bags, sweatshirts, stickers, wood and a huge assortment of other media.) Microsoft Publisher fills this function just fine.

What It Doesn’t Do

This paragraph is poorly named. A better title here would be, “What you need to know before you send your Microsoft Publisher file to your local commercial printer,” but hey, that’s not nearly as catchy.  

That said, here’s what you need to know before you send your Microsoft Publisher file to your local commercial printer!

  • Microsoft Publisher works in RGB (red, green, blue) rather than CYMK (cyan, yellow, magenta, key black); before you send out your Publisher file, be sure you’ve gone under the file settings and changed your color processes accordingly.
  • Publisher files don’t output properly unless you meet certain requirements, some of which are automatically done when working with a software like Photoshop. Check and be sure your layout file is in the appropriate color space, be sure to set your bleeds if anything on the page is intended to stretch over the edge of the sheet, and supply the fonts and images used in your design. Without this, there’s no guarantee your project is going to turn out the way you want it to, and you may lose time and money going back to correct those mistakes.
  • Before you ship out your file, change it from the native Microsoft Publisher (.PUB) file format to a PDF file by saving a PostScript file and process it using Adobe Acrobat Distiller or using another Adobe file converter.