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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Microsoft Publisher 2010

When Microsoft introduced its redesigned Office 2007, the desktop-publishing program Publisher was not included in the package, but the balance has now been restored with Publisher 2010.

The ribbon toolbar introduced in Office 2007 is included here and incorporates not only the menu options of the earlier program, but all the tools in the vertical toolbox that used to sit down the left-hand side of the editing screen. The new positioning takes a bit of getting used to, but once we spent a little time with the 2010 version it became easy enough to use.

As in newer editions of Word, some ribbon tabs only appear in context, so the Drawing, Picture and Word Art ribbons only appear when a relevant object is selected. This is supposed to keep the screen uncluttered, as is the new method of showing frame borders and guidelines only when you move the mouse pointer close to them. More seasoned page designers, who like to see all objects on their pages, may find this annoying.

There are other changes to the way Publisher works. It has improved photo handling and can now crop images to shapes other than rectangles, insert them into a page through drag-and-drop and swap any two photos in one operation.

Multi-page documents used to show a little row of page icons at the bottom of the editing screen so you could switch quickly to any page and move pages and spreads around by dragging. Publisher 2010 has replaced these icons with a column of thumbnails down the left-hand side of the page. These show the contents of the pages, so are easier to recognise, but there is now more scrolling involved when moving around a document.

The ‘file’ functions such as saving and printing have been gathered together into a separate screen called Backstage View, which automatically shows users a print preview. This is useful, though again is a bit odd at first glance.

As well as supporting desktop printers, Publisher 2010 can prepare documents to print at a bureau or a commercial printer.

Print-on-demand services are becoming more common and more people are now interested in producing their own pamphlets and books. So, this support for professional colour formats and the program's 'pre-flight' checks, which flag up any problems with your design, can save a lot of angst.

Publisher 2010's main competitor in the home is Serif's pageplus X4 , which has better features and is slightly cheaper, but the Microsoft program feels the more able of the two.

If you are used to the way Office programs work, it also fits in better with the rest of the suite.

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