Craft high-quality publications
Microsoft Publisher 2019 is the newest iteration of Microsofts own publisher design software. Users can use Publisher to fulfill a range of design needs, from simple greeting cards to full-scale bespoke document design. By providing a wide range of editing tools, Publisher focuses on delivering easy use to novice users.
Despite its functionality, users with access to Adobe's Creative Cloud will find Photoshop and XD to offer much more flexibility, on the other hand, users who are looking for a free solution can benefit from Canva and its toolset.
Where does Publisher shine?
Publisher offers a wide range of features that allow users to create a detailed or straightforward document. Each project starts with a blank canvas where you can upload images, add shapes and designs, or experiment with their pre-built templates to find something that fits the design you need.
Features like image overlapping allow you to drag an image over the top of another and immediately replace it. Icons and highlights give you a clear indication of when this is happening to avoid unwanted replacements. Changing backgrounds is made simple with the application to background feature that allows you to select an image and then apply it to the background. This automatically fills the background with the selected image.
Publisher truly shines with its catalog of templates at your disposal. Even the most novice user can craft something professional by editing over the top of one of these templates. It also provides the tools and color pallets to customize these templates to fit your brand, giving you a shortcut to professional-looking documents that will wow at your next meeting.
Jumping right in
Microsoft has always ensured that each new piece of software is on brand, and Publisher is no different. While Publisher doesn't look as clean or well designed as other apps, it does retain a similar feel to that of Word or Powerpoint.
Fortunately for users, the interface is easy to use, and it won't take long to get to grips with the various tabs and functionality on offer. If you use other Microsoft 365 apps, it'll take even less time to understand where everything is and to use Publisher at its full potential.
The top bar hosts most functionality options, including different color pallets, while drag and drop boxes make creating new documents a breeze. Minimal design knowledge is needed, with the drag and drop functionality doing most of the leg work.
Microsoft Publisher limitations
Unfortunately, many users will find themselves excluded from Publisher's target market. While Publisher is part of the 365 package, it can only be used on Windows 10 and 11. An odd decision from Microsoft, but when looking at their update schedule compared to their more used apps, we may be able to see why this is.
Publisher isn't updated as often as other applications and seems to be largely forgotten by Microsoft. The app is purchasable as a standalone product or as part of Microsoft 365. However, finding Publisher on Microsoft's website can take some time as it's not generally part of their core marketing, making it seem like Microsoft simply isn't pushing it to newer audiences.
Another consideration to take into account is if you don't currently own a Microsoft 365 license. As a standalone product, it is relatively expensive, especially when considering the range of functionality on offer compared with some of the more prominent apps on the market.
Where can you find support?
Microsoft apps often have decent support in-app, and Publisher follows suit with their help section. If you're struggling with a particular function or are curious about doing something within the app, you can search directly. However, this is often laggy and, in our case, simply didn't work sometimes. Instead, we'd suggest visiting their site for direct support.
Should Publisher be your next design tool?
While Microsoft Publisher does a great job at providing a simple-to-use app for the budding designer, it's difficult to overlook the high price tag associated with the tool. Similarly, with limited access to licensing to solely one PC and only through Windows 10 or 11, many will be excluded from using the tool.
While Adobe's Creative Suite may be pricier, the functionality there will allow you to do much more than Publisher. Even Canva has more functionality and support than Publisher. If you have Microsoft 365, you can try Publisher within your current license; if not, we recommend trying a different alternative.