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How to View Microsoft Publisher Documents

written by: •edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 10/13/2009

Microsoft don't supply a viewer for Publisher documents and as yet no third party has stepped into the breach. There are other ways around this, however...

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    Why Can't I View .PUB Files?

    It’s one of the great mysteries of the world – why don’t Microsoft provide a free viewer for Microsoft Publisher (.pub) files?

    As yet, it hasn’t been explained and there doesn’t seem to be anyone presenting a third party alternative. The result of this of course is that anyone wishing to view a Microsoft Publisher document must do so on a PC with the application installed on it, or else view a printed copy of the document!

    This situation is of course far from ideal. Usefully, there are a couple of alternatives that you can use to allow your audience to view the contents of a Publisher file without owning a copy of Microsoft Publisher.

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    Finding an Alternative

    Unfortunately there is almost no way by which the recipient of a Microsoft Publisher file can open it without the application, either to view or convert.

    There are several things that the sender of the file can do however to enable the recipient to view the document.

    First of all, the sender can avoid saving documents as .pub files. This is the default option for Microsoft Publisher, but of course prevents anyone not using Publisher from opening the saved document.

    Save as a different file type in Microsoft Publisher By using the Save As... option and choosing an alternative option on the Save as type drop down will enable the sender to select a popular save option.

    Alternative file types to save a Publisher .pub file include:

    • TIF
    • DOC
    • JPG
    • HTML

    These 4 options will retain (or provide an accurate representation of) the original formatting of your Publisher document.

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    Converting the Publisher File

    Use to convert files As I said above, if you’re the recipient of a Publisher document and don’t own the application, there is almost no way that a Publisher file can be viewed or converted without opening it. Thanks to one popular website however, this is one way.

    Using the file conversion service available at you can convert your Publisher document into a Microsoft Word (.doc), a JPG image or even a PDF document.

    Simply upload the document, choose your preferred file type and enter your email address for the converted file to be sent to – in a matter of minutes you can download a converted document that bears a very close resemblance to the original Publisher document!