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January 4, 2023updated 17 Mar 2023 9:07am

What is Microsoft Publisher?

Find out about the publishing program, Microsoft Publisher, and all of its functions.

By Tech Monitor Staff

Microsoft Publisher is a graphic design desktop application. It is part of the Office 365 subscription, alongside other Office apps like Word and PowerPoint.

In particular, while Microsoft Word is more focused on the wording and text composition, Microsoft Publisher revolves more around the layout and design of each page.

Laptop computer displaying logo of Microsoft Publisher, a desktop publishing application, part of the Office family software and services developed by Microsoft

Microsoft Publisher is a simplified graphic design tool included in the Office 365 family. Image: monticello/Shutterstock

What can Microsoft Publisher do?

Publisher, available in higher-end versions of Microsoft Office, can be used to create a wide variety of publications, from business cards and calendars to newsletters and greeting cards.

The app contains many colour schemes which can be added to any project, and it even has a publisher drawing toolbar. This helps the user to design images and graphics, but with the ease and simplicity of the other MS Office tools.

Some of the features that Microsoft Publisher offers are technical-level effects for texts and images, high-quality image backgrounds, mail merge tools, attention to detail in image editing and placing, and even a detailed ruler.

Publisher is seen as an easy-to-use, entry-level desktop publisher and is targeted at individuals or small businesses who may not have design professionals at hand.

What is the most current version of Microsoft Publisher?

First released in 1991, there have been 14 versions of Microsoft Publisher at the time of writing. The most current version is Microsoft Publisher 2021, which was released in October 2021.

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Publisher’s file format is .pub and can comprise various formats, from graphics and images, to formatted text.

The Publisher software is classed as trialware, which means that a user can trial the software, for free, for a limited time. Once the trial period is up, Publisher then reverts to reduced functionality until the license fee is paid, which usually is part of the whole Microsoft 365 pack.

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