Opening PUB Files Without Microsoft Publisher

Explore a variety of ways to share, view, or open PUB files

What to Know

  • A .pub file is a Microsoft Publisher file format that's easiest to open with Microsoft Publisher.
  • If you don't have Publisher, you can use LibraOffice Draw, CorelDraw, or other programs that support the .pub format.
  • It may also be possible to use Zamzar to convert the .pub file you want to open to another, more user-friendly file format.

The easiest way to open a .pub file is with Microsoft Publisher, the program it was created in. If you don't have MS Publisher, there are a few others ways you can open a .pub file.

Ways to View PUB Files Without Microsoft Publisher

When you have a Microsoft Publisher document but don't have access to Publisher, there are tools, viewers, and shortcuts that open .pub files created by Microsoft Publisher. LibreOffice Draw, part of the open-source LibreOffice suite, is a good tool that can open Publisher files.

LibreOffice Draw

Most of the time, it's better to convert a Publisher file to another more universal format. There are several methods you can use to create a shareable Publisher file. PDF is always a great choice but prior to Publisher 2010, there is no built-in PDF export feature n Microsoft Publisher.

When the content, rather than the layout, is of primary importance (and no graphics are needed), the best way to exchange information is as plain ASCII text. But when you want to include graphics and wish to preserve your layout, plain text won't do.

Use Microsoft Publisher to Create a File to Share

To share Publisher 2000 (or above) files with users of Publisher 98, save the file in Pub 98 format.

Microsoft Publisher

Create Printable Files From Publisher Documents

Send the recipient a file that they can print to their desktop printer. They won't be able to view it onscreen but they can get a fairly accurate printout. Several methods are available although each method may have drawbacks.

Save the File in PostScript Format

To create a .ps file, go to the File menu, select Save As, then select the Save as type drop-down arrow and choose PostScript. This method is usually used to prepare files for commercial printing. If the recipient has a PostScript capable printer, they can print the file.

Save the Publisher Document as an EPS File

Normally used for commercial printing, an EPS file can be opened in many graphics programs. An EPS file must be opened in another program (such as PageMaker or QuarkXPress) to be printed. A separate EPS file is made for each page in the publication.

To create an EPS file in Publisher, go to File > Print, then, in the Print dialog box, select Print Setup > Properties. Choose Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) as the PostScript output format. To print each page, one at a time, select Print to file.

Print a Publisher Document to a PRN File

When printing the publication, select the Print to file check box. Instead of printing to the printer, Publisher creates a PRN file. The recipient uses the DOS Copy command to send the file to their desktop printer (from the DOS PROMPT type copy filename.prn lpt1 or lpt2, depending on where the printer is located).

If your printer doesn't match that of the recipient, the PRN file may not print exactly as you envisioned. If you exchange files regularly with a recipient, obtain a copy of the print driver for their printer and use it to create the PRN file from Publisher.

Create HTML Files (Web Pages) From Publisher Files

Convert your Publisher document to an HTML file, then either post the file on the web and send recipients the address to view the files or send the HTML file to the recipient for them to view offline in a web browser.

If you send the files, include all the graphics as well and set up the file so that all HTML and graphics reside in the same directory. This way, the recipient can place the files anywhere on their hard drive.


Or, take the HTML code that Publisher creates and send an HTML-format email. The procedure to send an HTML email depends on your email client. How the HTML email is received by the recipient depends on what email client they use (and if they accept HTML-formatted email).

Create PDF Files From Publisher Documents

Convert your Publisher document to the Adobe PDF format. Publisher versions before Publisher 2007 don't have a PDF export option. Instead, use a program, such as Adobe Acrobat Distiller.

To create the PDF file, create a PostScript file then use Adobe Acrobat to create the PDF file. The recipient will be able to view the document on-screen or print it. However, the recipient must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader (it's free) installed. There are also some printer drivers and software available that create PDF files from most Windows applications.

Convert PUB to PDF

In Publisher 2007 and 2010, save the Publisher file as a PDF from the program to send it to anyone who has software (including the free Acrobat Reader) that can open or view PDF files.

How to Use a PUB File If You Don't Have Publisher

When you have a file in the natural Publisher format (.pub) but don't have access to Microsoft Publisher, you have a couple of options.

Get a Trial Version of Publisher

You'll get the entire Office Suite along with a free trial version of the latest Publisher. Use it to open and view your file.

Convert Publisher Files to Other Software Formats

It may be possible to convert a PUB file into the natural format of another desktop publishing software. Check the import options in the software of your choice to see if it accepts PUB files (and which version of PUB file). PDF2DTP is a plugin that converts Publisher files to InDesign.

When using an application such as PDF2DTP, some elements of the file may not convert as expected.

Another option is to use an online conversion site such as Zamzar to convert PUB files to PDF and other formats. Currently, Zamzar converts PUB files to these formats:

  • DOC: Microsoft Word document
  • HTML: Hypertext Markup Language
  • MP3: Compressed audio file
  • ODT: OpenDocument spreadsheet
  • PCX: Paintbrush bitmap image
  • PDF: Portable document format
  • PNG: Portable network graphic
  • PS: PostScript
  • RTF: Rich text format
  • TXT: Text document

Another online PDF conversion tool, Office/Word to PDF also converts PUB files. Upload up to a 5 MB file for conversion.

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