Got a quick desktop publishing project you need to get done…Consider using Microsoft Word.
Yes, I said Microsoft Word. I know, I know…Microsoft Word is not really a desktop publishing program. However Microsoft Word can be a good solution if you don’t own or have access to any other desktop publishing programs (such as Microsoft Publisher, or Adobe InDesign). It can also be the best solution if you are not comfortable with desktop publishing or graphics software and don’t have the time to learn a desktop publishing application, or if you don’t want to spend money on a desktop publishing software.
If you have good general knowledge of Microsoft Word, you can produce quality desktop publishing products. If you are a beginner, then consider choosing one of the thousands of templates available through the Microsoft Website. Microsoft’s template gallery has an extensive collection of business cards, brochures, flyers, thank you cards and greeting cards templates to help you get started on your project. You can use these templates “as-is” or as a starting point to help you create the design that you really want. There are also many Internet sites that sell professionally formatted Microsoft Word Templates to help you create you perfect document.
Microsoft Word (various versions) has a lot of desktop publishing functionality. Here are a few of my favorite desktop publishing features. Also See our video on using Microsoft Word as a Desktop Publisher.
1. Text Box objects — Text boxes allow you to quickly add text snippets to your documents, graphics or publishing projects. They give you more flexibility and control when inserting text. Simply insert a text box object where ever you need text and format the size, color, font and spacing just as you would any other text. The text box object can also be formatted with borders, and color fills, and can be grouped with other objects.
2. The Drawing Canvas — The drawing canvas is a container that can contain many other drawing and text objects. If you are creating projects or graphics with multiple objects, grouping them on the canvas can make moving and resizing them quicker and easier. It also allows objects to be free-moving and not in-line, which increases your flexibility with them.
3. AutoShapes –AutoShapes are a fun and easy way to insert graphics into your documents and desktop publishing projects. There are a wide variety of AutoShapes including geometric shapes, banners, arrows and callouts. You can also format these autoShapes with colors, borders, color fills and even drop shadows. The shapes are easily scalable and re-sizable for easy manipulation.
4. WordArt – WordArt is also a fun way to spruce up your documents and publishing projects. WordArt allows you to create decorative text quickly and easily. WordArt and can be formatted just like AutoShapes, and are also scalable and re-sizable.
5. Lines and Borders — Almost all Microsoft Word Objects can be formatted with lines and borders. The style and thickness of lines and borders can be changes giving graphic flare to Text Boxes, AutoShapes photos, clipart and WordArt objects.
6. Colorfill options — The color fill options located within the properties of drawing objects are a great way to jazz up your canvas, Text Box, AutoShape or WordArt objects. You can fill your objects with color, preformatted or custom gradients, textures and my favorite, photos.
So, if you have Microsoft Word and you don’t want to spend money or devote time to learning a traditional desktop publishing package, take a few minutes to explore these formatting graphical features. Be creative and experiment with these functions of and begin creating great looking documents and projects. If you decide that you will need a more robust desktop publishing program, see our article on Selecting Desktop Publishing Software.