Microsoft Publisher 2010 review
Arguably the most improved application in Office 2010, with the Ribbon plus numerous new tools making it much simpler to create attractive publications
Review Date: 4 Jun 2010
Price when reviewed: £79 (£93 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Ease of Use
With each version of Office, Publisher appears to have a tougher job on its hands. Why use a desktop publisher when you can just load up a newsletter template in Word?
That argument is blown out of the water if you're using a professional printer. Tucked away in the Backstage view sits the "Save for a Commercial Printer" command, which quickly creates high-resolution PDFs and controls the colour-printing mode: CMYK, Pantone PMS and Pantone GOE profiles are all supplied so you can be sure your publication will look right.
Full Office 2010 reviewsMicrosoft Word 2010
Even if you're using an inkjet, Publisher will help you create more attractive documents than Word. When you're dragging a photo around the workspace, for example, pink lines appear to show what it could align with - a margin, say, or another photo.
Publisher has always allowed objects to be dragged off the page to the "scratch area" to be grabbed later, but now you can instantly hide the scratch area away to make the bleed's impact more obvious.
Publisher's photo-editing tools are the same as Word now, addressing one of its traditional weak points compared to the likes of Serif PagePlus.
Support for ligatures and OpenType fonts, meanwhile, are again huge pluses, with these stylistic flourishes lending publications a professional feel.
But the biggest improvements stem from the introduction of the Ribbon. This wasn't implemented in Publisher 2007, which made hunting for a particular tool rather tricky.
Now, you only need to hit the Mailings tab to see Mail Merge commands or the Page Design tab to take control of colour schemes.
Publisher 2007 listed options such as colour schemes down the left-hand side of the window, but that space is now put to much better use with the new Page Navigation pane. This makes it easy to rearrange the order of pages, and gives you a thumbnail view of the publication as you go along.
Our only disappointment with Publisher 2010 is that it isn't included with more of the suites: businesses that choose the Volume Licence scheme get it bundled with both Standard and Professional Plus, but humble consumers must either buy Office Professional or stump up £79 exc VAT.
I have used Publisher for several years now to publish our 40-page Parish Magazine. Publisher 2010 is indeed a huge improvement in many ways, most notably in the introduction of the Ribbon and backstage View. However there are some nonsensical omissions that have made it far harder to use:
The always-open pane which could be used to display Styles has gone. This is infuriating. I use Styles all the time. In Pub-2007 I only had to glance to the left to see what style highlighted text was in. Now I have to go up to the ribbon and click on a drop-down list that disappears again as soon as I select a style. Terrible - just terrible.
If that were not bad enough the all-important 'remove formatting' button has gone. Did they not test this in the real world?
The new page map down the left-hand side is useful in some ways. but even on my 24" screen I cannot display all 40 of my pages. To move from page 1 to page 40 I now have to scroll down mid-operation. The horizontal list was far better in this respect. What is needed is the choice from both.
A very limited success.
By MedMan2005 on 13 Jul 2010
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