Microsoft Office Publisher (previously and commonly Microsoft Publisher) is a desktop publishing application from Microsoft. It is often considered to be an entry-level desktop publishing application, differing from Microsoft Word in that the emphasis is placed on page layout and design rather than text composition and proofing.
The publisher has historically been less well-liked among high-end commercial print shops, compared with other desktop publishing applications. Publisher’s position as an entry-level application aggravates lots of issues (particularly in older versions) such as fonts unavailable and embedded objects not being available on service providers’ machines (however, Publisher does come with tools to pack related files into a self-expanding application).
Many higher-end features like transparency, object shadowing, slugs, text on paths, built-in PDF output, etc. are either not fully-functional or simply unavailable (especially in previous versions). However, recent versions have greater capabilities concerning color separations and proper process coloring output. Publisher 2007 also includes the capability to output commercial press quality PDF with embedded fonts as an optional download from the Microsoft website.
The publisher is included in high-end editions of Microsoft Office. This reflects Microsoft’s emphasis on Publisher as an easy to use and less expensive alternative to the “heavyweights” and also its focus on the small business market where firms do not have dedicated design professionals available to make marketing materials and other documents.
Publisher’s proprietary file format is, with the exception of Adobe PageMaker, unsupported by most other applications. However, Publisher supports numerous other file formats, including the EMF (Enhanced Metafile) format, which is standard and supported across many applications and platforms. Publisher 2007 can also export in the industry-standard PDF format.