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Can't Bring Guides to the Front in Publisher? Frustrated? Try This Workaround

written by: Bruce Tyson•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 5/14/2013

If you ever use Publisher, you may have experienced problems that occur when you place objects over the guides: the guide stay in place under the object, making setting the proper alignment on your page difficult. If you are trying to figure out how to get around this, read on.

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    About Guides in Microsoft Publisher

    Microsoft Publisher allows users to set guides as they design their documents to help with the alignment of objects. The problem is that users of Publisher 2007 and earlier have experienced difficulty using these guides because they stay behind objects once they are placed on the page, which renders them useless. Publisher 2010 has tried to improve this process, but it's still not a true solution.

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    Replicating the Problem

    Using Microsoft Publisher 2007, create a new document and then place some guides.

    guides23 Now, place some objects on your page. You will see that the objects cover up the guides. There is no option from within Publisher 2007 that will bring the guides to the front. With just one object, the problem may not be so bad, but as objects are added, the guides become harder and harder to use.


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    Solving the Problem

    The best way to compensate for the fact that guides in Publisher 2007 cannot be brought to the front is to draw lines to use as guides. This way, you can always bring your lines to the front to use as guides.

    When your layout is finished, delete the lines and you are done. This may not be pretty, but it's the only real way to compensate for the problem: unless you use Publisher 2010.

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    Publisher 2010 Solution to the Guide Problem

    Microsoft finally got around to doing something about the problem of guides that are permanently in the rear of the document. You will need to install Office 2010 on your system in order to follow along. You can download a free trial version from the Microsoft Web site. Let's see what happens when you use guides.

    Open Publisher 2010 and create a new document. Next, click the Page Design tab and then choose the Guides option. You will see a selection of guide styles to choose from. As with older versions, you could choose to drag guides out from the rulers on the top and to the left of your layout.

    guides01 Select a guide pattern and you will see the guides appear on your page.


    Now, insert an object such as a photo onto your page.

    guides03 Unlike previous versions, when an object crosses a guide, that guide automatically rises above that object and changes to a brighter color so it is easy to see on a crowded page.


    Although there is still no provision to manually bring guides to the front, Publisher 2010 greatly improves the way guides operate by addressing the limitation found in previous versions of the program.

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    The Only Workarounds

    If you want to know how to bring guides to front in Publisher, the only real solution is to upgrade to Publisher 2010 or later. For those who want to stay with their older version of Publisher, the use of separately drawn lines will have to suffice.

    Image Credits: Screen shots taken by Bruce Tyson