MS Publisher Guide

Planning Your Print Project

Before you lay out your publication, plan ahead for printing. Will you want copying or printing? Do you want black and white, spot color (Pantone colors), or process color (cmyk)? Your answers to these questions affect the way you create color in your Publisher file, the size and margins of your page, number of pages, the folds, and more. Discuss your plan with an Econoprint Sales Representative early in the design process. If you have a $500 budget to print and distribute a newsletter, you don’t want to find out at the last moment that you’ve created a $5,000 design. Your Sales Representative at Econoprint can suggest ways to keep the design you like and reduce printing costs. Each printing option is not always clear. You may have to make a series of trade-offs before you can reach a decision on how you want to produce your publication.

Understanding Color – CMYK or PMS

Process-color offset printing is also called CMYK or four-color printing because it uses four semitransparent process inks–cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (abbreviated as K), to reproduce a full range of colors on a printed page. Process color printing is typically used when your document includes full-color photographs or multicolor graphics. Process color printing is typically more expensive than spot-color printing.

In spot-color offset printing, one or two colors (or tints of colors) are produced using premixed inks, typically chosen from standard color-matching guides, like the Pantone Matching System® or PMS. The Pantone color-matching guide is a set of colors that you can choose from in Publisher when creating a spot-color document. Choosing colors from a color-matching library helps ensure high-quality results because print professionals who license the libraries agree to maintain the quality requirements of the manufacturer.

Unlike process colors that reproduce color photographs and art, spot colors are typically used to emphasize headings, borders, and graphics, and to match colors in graphics, such as logos. You can create screen tints of spot colors to get color variation without increasing the number of color separations, and thus without increasing printing costs. Before you decide on printing or copying, consider the following factors:

Why won’t my Publisher file work with a Commercial Printer?

Here is a list of the 10 most common reasons why a Publisher file doesn’t make it through preflight, the prepress process.

The Preflight Process

Before your job is printed, it typically goes through prepress production or preflight. During this prepress process, your files are checked for:

Once the prepress process is complete, your publication is sent to a high resolution printing device, like an imagesetter, DI Press (Direct Imaging), or CTP (computer-to-plate) that creates color separations of your file on film, paper, or plates. These devices translate the contents of your Publisher pages into a series of “dots” on a page. Each color is separated onto its own unique plate, for example your red and black document would yield two plates. One red plate and one black plate.

Resources and References:


Tips for Creating a Print-Ready File from Microsoft Publisher

General Publisher File Set Up:

Photos and Graphics:


Publisher Tips

As with any page layout program, there are certain things that need to be done with Publisher Files to make them printable in a Commercial Printing environment. Following these tips will help your file go as smoothly as possible, ensuring a quality final product.