I called the client and asked if she could save the file in any other format. She had the 2003 version of Publisher and couldn’t save a PDF, and couldn’t tell if she actually even had any other file type options.
Remember that part.
As designers and printers, our job is to either create good files, or to make good files out of what our clients give us. That’s what they pay us to do, and we’re happy to do it. I love prepping files and making them perfect. Part of what we do is education. If you, as my client or as a designer, know how to set up your margins or how to lay out a folder or how to best save a file, then the chance for mistakes lowers greatly as your project moves through the production process.
With pre-2007 Publisher, any education was utterly impossible. On top of that, Publisher users are often pushed into the job of design as an addition to their regular office job, and can be completely unfamiliar with the printing process. Imagine the difficulty of explaining to your client, who sent in a Publisher 2010 PDF saved in X-1a (i.e., doing everything “right" so far) that all of their images are low res and won’t print properly. This can be done, and we’re experienced enough to do it so gently that you don’t feel embarrassed about not knowing, but much of the time the client is so new to everything that they simply can’t process the new information in a timely manner.
Oh, and you know the most important, absolutely inviolate rule of printing? You get that on press on schedule. If you don’t, thousands of dollars are lost.
Publisher’s not made for real printing jobs. It’s made to print composite files for in-house style inkjet and laser printers. Microsoft has had to add basic features like crops and PDF output in the latest versions because it likes to push idiocy like this handy chart for deciding when to use Publisher. Graphically-rich catalogs? Publications to be commercially printed?
If someone sent me an entire catalog done in Publisher, I’d get out the special knife from my bottom drawer and commit hara-kiri. Seriously. That’s like drinking and driving folks. Don’t do it.