Print Your Publications Professionally

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Amir Mehrabian, the program manager responsible for our printing features, delves into the improvements we made for commercial printing in the new Publisher.

Publisher is a powerful program that enables you to create a wide variety of publication types, without having to be a graphic designer. You can create publications as big as a fifteen-foot banner or as small as a business card. More often than not, your publication is ultimately destined for the printer, but sometimes your trusty little desktop printer just isn’t sufficient. For example, imagine you want to print a very large banner, or invitation cards on special paper. Most desktop printers are incapable of printing huge posters and are not efficient or economical for printing a large number of invitations. In those cases, you may want to take your publication to a print shop with more advanced and specialized printers, inks, and paper. Publisher makes that easy as well.

Preparing your publication for a print shop

As part of our planning for the new Publisher, we did a thorough study of the different commercial print options available to our customers today. Our findings showed that commercial printing has come a long way in recent years, and that modern printers are much more sophisticated than they were when some of our older printing features were designed.

Today’s print shops universally accept (or even prefer) PDF files for documents to be printed. They often have powerful tools for analyzing and preparing PDF documents for printing that they don’t have for other formats. As a format that represents a fixed presentation of the document, and that can also include many advanced settings that can be important for professional printing, such as specific named PANTONE colors, PDF has become a popular standard for taking your publication to a print shop.

In the new Publisher, we’ve embraced the role that PDF plays in commercial printing, and invested in enhancing our PDF output, while at the same time simplifying the experience for you.

Color model and registration settings

In the new Publisher, you no longer have to choose a color model for your publication. In prior versions of Publisher, several different color modes were supported, with RGB mode for screen and desktop printers, and single, process, and spot color modes for more specialized, commercial printing cases. We have simplified this in the new version, and now use RGB mode for all cases, enhanced to export additional color information when saving the publication.

In particular, since you are likely taking a PDF version of your publication to the printer, we added the ability for Publisher to save any process color values (CMYK) and named (PANTONE) colors you have used in formatting text or objects in your publication to the PDF when you export your file. Printers today have very sophisticated registration and conversion tools for PDFs, obviating the need for you to worry about color models, trapping, or overprinting settings before sending jobs to the printer. This simplifies things for you, and the printer, and increases the likelihood you’ll get the best results from your print job. Just create the publication you want, using any combination of RGB, process or spot colors, export as a PDF and head to the printer!

Impact on existing publications

If you have publications that you created with older versions of Publisher and saved in a color model other than RGB, they will be converted to RGB when you open them in the new Publisher. In it important to note that while the publication is now in RGB mode, any named PANTONE colors, and colors specified in CMYK values, are preserved. When you save or export your publication, Publisher will save all available color information, making it easy for your printer to do the right thing.

Exporting your publication

Save for a commercial printer

As mentioned above, if you’re taking your publication to a print shop, you’ll likely want to export the pub as a PDF file. In addition to the ability to simply “Save As…” a PDF, Publisher also has the Pack and Go wizard to make it easy to export your document with the settings you want.

To export your publication, first save your file, and then go to the “File” tab, select “Export” and then “Save for Commercial Printer”.

Choose the desired quality and type of output you want, and then click on “Pack and Go Wizard”. In the dialog that opens, choose where you want your final output to be saved. You can then take the output files to your print shop of choice.

Save for photo printing

While you’re on the Export tab, you might notice a new option under Pack and Go, “Save for a Photo Printer”. This option is handy for some types of publications, such as photo books or albums, where printing at a photo center can be a low cost alternative to commercial printing.

For several version now, Publisher has had the ability to save a single page of your publication as a file in an image format, such as JPEG or TIFF. The resulting file is essentially a big picture of your page, like the files generated by your digital camera. In the new version, we’ve added an option to the Export tab that makes it easy to save not just one, but all the pages of your publication as images.

When you use the Pack and Go Wizard to export for photo printer, you simply select the desired output format, and then choose a location. You can choose between JPEG, which generally results in much smaller files, or TIFF, which can sometimes result in higher quality images. All of the pages will be exported to a folder, named after the name of your publication, at the location you specified in the wizard.

Once you have your images, you can print them just as you would any other digital picture or image file!

  1. Jan Kučera

    Although preserving the colors in specified models is a good enough to drop the publication color model settings, how do I control in which color model the output will be?

    Also, I strongly believe XPS output should be available at least just as the PDF one, how do I get a XPS CMYK file of my publication? It even does not have any problems with transparency!

  2. Amir[MSFT]

    Hi Jan,

    The output will always be in RGB mode and the user can’t change that. However, as it was mentioned in the blog post you can add your CMYK and spot colors and take your publication to the print shop.
    You can also ask them to convert the RGB to any other color mode that you desire. The PDF file has all the information that they would need to the conversion.

    You can always save your document in XPS format using save as menu in the backstage.

    Amir MSFT

  3. Jan Kučera

    Hi Amir,

    okay, but all commercial printers in my country I ever worked with required me to send a publication in composite CMYK format, so am I screwed now?
    If anyone offeres to do the required pre-printing conversions, they charge a considerable fee.

    Second, such conversion at the printer site usually resulted in undesired results. To prevent this, I want to use CMYK colors directly. You say I can do this manually and they will be preserved. However, if I include a clipart it will be automatically in RGB I guess and the only possibility would be break it, go through all the shapes and manually changing the color model to CMYK… correct?

    Third, how do I convert all the colors to grayscale or the spot color(s)?

    Third, there is no reason with removing the publication color model to remove the color settings dialog. How can I check now which colors are in use, and more importantly, to globally change one color to a different one?


    • Amir[MSFT]

      Hi Jan,

      Unfortunately it is not possible to save your publication in CMYK color mode however, as we mentioned in the post you can specify your desired colors and we will save this information in the publication.

      There is no tool for forcing all the colors in the publication to be in a specific color model automatically and you have to change colors to a specific color mode manually.

      Amir MSFT

  4. haywardpw

    I would like to add my dissatisfaction with this change to Jan’s. I produce professional DM and sometimes use MS publisher to do this. The print houses I work with in the UK all require the final files to be sent over in CMYK with all the relevant colour data.

    It’s all well and good dismissing the requirement with "Printers today have very sophisticated registration and conversion tools for PDFs, obviating the need for you to worry about color models…" but when a printer specifies a colour mode they require to a content creator, but I can no longer support it what should I do? Tell them they need to become more sophisticated?

    The printer will simply charge extra to process the job as it will have to go through their graphic design department. You are severely damaging a perfectly good product by removing something that worked well to begin with. If this feature is removed I simply cannot purchase Publisher 13 as the work I create on it will not be accepted by the printers I work with.

  5. Amir,

    I will add my vote that this was a bad decision by MSFT. No matter how you try to spin it removing features and functionality is not a good thing. I can see no rational reason or any advantage to any user for removing the ability to create a publication in composite CMYK format and removing the optional color modes from Publisher 2013.

    The user had the ability to create a PDF file with Pub 2007 and 2010 and if they were not interested in single, process or spot color modes, they just ignored that functionality. Removing the optional color mode only diminishes the functionality of Publisher for the more serious user by taking away the control they need over their final publication.

    As both Jan and Paul have suggested at best it will increase their costs of production and at worse the printers will reject the project entirely. Without being able to control the color mode of their work the serious user will be alienated and perhaps forced to abandon Publisher and move to a different desktop publishing program, or at best refuse to ‘downgrade’ to Publisher 2013.

    MSFT did not improve Publisher by removing the optional color modes; they diminished it. In my view this is simply a ‘downgrade’ to Publisher 2013. It seems to me that MSFT has abandoned the serious DTP user. What a shame…


  6. Guys…. what’s wrong with you, removing essential CMYK support. Do you even have real DTP designers in your team? People that ever worked with a typography? Ever performed pre-press?

    I don’t know why I bother. it’s clearly that instead of trying to make Publisher a contender with Indesign, you "simplify" it to a toy level. Lucky me I have the Adobe application to work with, if I would have to earn my living with Publisher 2013, I’d starve.

    Next time, please hire serious DTP people to guide your development.

    Take care.

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