How to Use Microsoft Publisher

A beginner's tutorial to MS Publisher

Microsoft Publisher beginners tutorial

PicJumbo / Unsplash

Microsoft Publisher is one of the lesser known programs in the Microsoft Office suite, but that doesn’t make it any less useful.

Publisher is a simple yet versatile desktop publishing program for creating all sorts of things, from simple objects like labels and greeting cards to more complex items like newsletters and brochures.

This Microsoft Publisher tutorial for beginners covers how to create a simple publication such as a birthday card.

The instructions in this article apply to Publisher 2019, Publisher2016, Publisher 2013, and Publisher for Office 365.

How to Create a New Document in Publisher

When you open Publisher, you’ll see a selection of design templates to jump-start your publication as well as a blank template if you want to start from scratch.

  1. Start Publisher and select the Built-In tab above the templates shown.

    Publisher built-in templates
  2. Scroll down a bit and select Greeting Cards.

    Greeting Cards templates option in Publisher
  3. Select a Publisher template from the Birthday section at the top.

    Birthday card templates in Publisher
  4. Choose Create in the right pane.

How to Edit Existing Text in Publisher

The pages of the birthday card display as thumbnails on the left side of Publisher, with the first page ready for you to customize.

To change the text that's already in the template, select a text box to highlight the text, and then start typing to replace it.

Text selected in a Publisher birthday template

How to Add New Text in Publisher

You can also add new text boxes to your publication.

  1. From the page you want to add text to, go to Insert > Draw Text Box. The cursor will change to a cross/plus sign.

    Draw Text Box option in Publisher
  2. Select and drag anywhere on the page to draw a text box.

  3. After releasing the mouse button, the text box will become editable so that you can type into it.

    The Format tab also becomes available from the menu, which you can use to change the font, alignment, and other formatting options.

    Format menu in Publisher

    You can edit the text box in Publisher if it's too big/small or in the wrong place. To resize the text box, select and drag one of the handles on the corner or edge of the box. Select a non-boxed edge to drag the text box elsewhere.

  4. When you’re done customizing your text, select an area outside the text box to exit it.

How to Add Pictures to a Publisher Document

Adding photos to a publication makes it your own, which is especially important for personalized documents like anniversary cards and birthday cards.

  1. Select the Home tab if it’s not already active.

  2. Choose Pictures from the menu.

    Pictures menu option in Publisher
  3. Select one of the options for where you want to import an image from. We'll use Bing in this example, so we'll choose the Search Bing text box.

  4. Type a relevant keyword to search Bing for the image you want. Balloon is a good one for our example.

    Insert Pictures prompt in Publisher
  5. Select one or more images that you want to use, and then choose Insert.

    Online Pictures prompt in Publisher
  6. Select and drag the inserted image to move it where you want, and use the handles on the sides and corners to resize it as desired.

How to Print Your Publication

Printing in Publisher is really easy. Since we're dealing with a birthday card, Publisher will arrange the pages appropriately so that we can fold them onto each other to make a birthday card.

  1. Go to File > Print, or use the Ctrl-P keyboard shortcut.

    Publisher print menu
  2. Select a printer from the Printer menu.

    Printer list in Publisher
  3. Adjust the options if you wish, like the folding method or paper size, and then use the Print button to print from Publisher.

How to Save in MS Publisher

Save your publication to your computer or your OneDrive account to always have a backup should you need to edit the document or reuse it after it's been closed down.

  1. Go to File > Save As.

    Info menu in Publisher
  2. Select This PC or OneDrive. Choose Browse to manually locate the folder you want to save it to.

    Publisher Save As screen
  3. Locate the folder you want to save the Publisher document to.

  4. Make a memorable name for the document, and then select Save.