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Microsoft Publisher 2007 - More Than Just a Simple Desktop Publishing Program

written by: •edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 2/24/2009
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Microsoft Publisher 2007, a newer version of an old standby, steps it up a notch, providing a more encompassing tool for creating professional-looking business materials for minimal cost. Non-business users will appreciate the simplicity in creating greeting cards, calendars, and party invitations.

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    Introduction

    From installation to creating and distributing publications, Microsoft Publisher 2007 is a very straightforward product to use for either a business person or a personal user. After inserting the product disk, entering a product code, and restarting your computer, you are off and running in the creation of professional and personalized documents.  

    Publisher makes getting started with new publications very straightforward.
    [See Image 1]
    The user simply selects the type of publication they desire to create from a list of possible choices.  Once a selection is made, the user has the ability to begin customizing their publication.
    [See Image 2] 
    One of the great things about using Publisher is that the user can view the document through each stage of development.
    [See Image 3]

    As one can imagine, MS Publisher 2007 syncs with other MS Office products such as Word. And the user can leverage Outlook to distribute their final product to the intended audience. MS Publisher 2007 is available as a standalone product or as a component in both the Microsoft Office Small Business 2007 and Microsoft Office Professional 2007 product suites.
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    Installation & Setup

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    Installation takes a matter of minutes and merely involves inserting the disk, entering the product key when prompted, and restarting the computer once installation is complete. The application will also automatically detect any earlier versions of Publisher and perform an upgrade as appropriate.

    What's Not: 
    As Publisher is single-user-licensed software, small business owners need to be sure that they consider who, and how many people, will be using the software. Give consideration to multiple licensed options before settling on Publisher 2007. 
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    User Interface

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    Users familiar with the MS Office suite of products will already feel a sense of comfort using Publisher because of the familiar terminology, help options, and drop-down menus.

    What's Not: 
    There is nothing sexy about the look and feel of Publisher. True, the application provides the user with a preview of a selected template, but the overall look and feel is pretty basic.

    Those unfamiliar with the MS Office suite of products may find the tool difficult to use at first. While it is laid out in a friendly format, it may be challenging for a novice to navigate through all of the drop-down menus to find the tool they want to use. 
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    Product Features

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    This newer version offers more robust Mail Merge, Catalog Merge, and Email Merge features. The user is guided through the merge process to select personalization options for the publication.

    The Content Library allows users to create a set of key information one time to be reused time and time again. The Research feature provides the user with the ability to search for specific words in a number of integrated sources such as Encarta Library (in English, French, and Spanish), HighBeam Research, and Factiva iWorks.

    Improved integration with MS Outlook allows the user to more easily distribute documents in email and track marketing campaigns.

    What's Not: 
    If the intent of using the software to develop simple business materials, Publisher 2007 is a safe choice. However, if the you want to be more creative and use extras like digital photos, this may not be the tool for you.  There are better photo editing software packages out there, like Adobe Photoshop Elements, that are pretty cost-effective and provide many more editing options.
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    Price to Value

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    If you are a small business owner who wants to portray a big-business professional image, Microsoft Publisher 2007 is well worth the $150 investment.  It isn't the most robust tool out there, but it certainly enables small marketers to develop materials to promote and support their business.

    Even as a personal tool to be used for home or school projects, the $150 you will spend will be well worth it. 

    What's Not: 
    If your medium-size business is on the cusp of becoming larger, you may want to consider a larger investment in either a more robust tool or in the services of a professional publisher. Publisher 2007 can help the little guys, but probably won't do much for the big guys.
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    Images

    Getting Started ScreenNew Publication Screen
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    Suggested Features

    I would like to see the inclusion of photo editing or other more creative features.
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    Conclusion

    MS Publisher 2007 packs quite a punch for its $150 price tag. The intuitive features are encompassing and very simple to use. The developers of this version have really given some thought to key, internal business processes and have provided end-to-end processing in the critical area of marketing. From the development of new marketing materials and business support materials to the initiation and tracking of marketing campaigns, Publisher provides much more than simple desktop publishing. 

    If you are just getting started in your business or you have a small firm that is beginning to grow, Publisher is a very cost-effective way to create professional-looking documents at a fraction of the cost of outsourcing. And, given the prevalence of MS Office in the marketplace, the learning curve should be minimal. If you are a Mac user, you will appreciate the intuitive nature of the application and should have no problem getting up to speed quickly. 
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    Related Products

    MS Outlook, MS Office Small Business 2007, MS Office Professional 2007