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Workaround for Opening PUB Files in OpenOffice

written by: C.D. Crowder•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 1/30/2011

Files created in Microsoft Publisher contain graphics and text, but if you don't have Publisher, viewing .PUB files can be difficult. Learn how to open PUB files with OpenOffice so you no longer have to be tied to Publisher.

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    What You Need

    The process to open PUB files with OpenOffice requires you to have Microsoft Publisher as OpenOffice does not have a compatible program at this time. However, Microsoft Publisher is available as a free trial. You can download Microsoft Publisher 2010 and use if free for 60 days, which should be plenty of time to open any PUB files you have on your computer. You will be able to open Publisher files in OpenOffice only during your trial period. You can re-download Publisher at anytime for more time.

    Once your trial period is over, you can only view Publisher files within Microsoft Publisher. You will not be able to copy them to OpenOffice for viewing or sharing.

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    Copy and Paste Method

    With Microsoft Publisher still in trial mode, open your Publisher file. Open a blank OpenOffice Impress presentation or OpenOffice Writer document. Copy the entire contents of your Publisher file. If you have multiple pages, copy the contents one page at a time. Go back to your blank presentation or document and paste the contents. This will paste images and text. When copying from Publisher to Writer, you may notice some discrepancies in placement of graphics and loss of some formatting.

    To make copying quicker, press Ctrl + A to select all elements of your Publisher file. Press Ctrl + C to copy all selected elements. In OpenOffice, press Ctrl + V to paste the elements.

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    Zamzar

    If you don't want to download Microsoft Publisher or can't, there is another alternative. Zamzar is a free converter that will allow you to open PUB files with OpenOffice Writer. You do not have to create an account, but you do need a valid email address. Zamzar only supports files 100 MB or less in size.

    Once on Zamzar's site, make sure the Convert Files tab is selected. Press Choose File and browse to the location of the Publisher file on your computer. Press Open to choose the file. Under Step 2, use the drop down box to select odt as the file type. Enter your email address under Step 3 and press Convert. Wait for the confirmation screen to appear. Once it appears, check your email for a download link. You will be asked to create an account, but the link to download the converted file without creating an account is below the ad.

    Choose your download location. Once downloaded, open the file in OpenOffice Writer. Depending on the complexity of the original file, some formatting, colors and graphics may be lost. Typically, the conversion is identical or extremely close to the original. See the comparison below. The first is the original Publisher file. The second is the converted OpenOffice Writer file.

    Publisher OpenOffice 

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    Things to Remember

    Once you've learned how to open PUB files with OpenOffice, you'll realize you can't edit individual elements. The only way to edit elements is by copying each one individually using the copy and paste method mentioned earlier. However, this does allow you to print, use and share the files without needing Microsoft Publisher.