Introducing the New Publisher

Two weeks ago we announced the Office Customer Preview and introduced the new Office to the public. Since then, we’ve all been excited to finally talk about the work we did over the last couple of years on all the applications, servers, and services that make up the Office product family.

My name is Scott, and I’m a lead program manager on the team in Office that is responsible for both Word and Publisher. Last week, those who have been following our posts know, Tristan gave a great overview of the new Word, and this week I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to provide a high level look at what we did with Publisher in this release.

In the weeks to come, more folks from the team will follow up with more details about specific features, how they work, and our thinking behind them.

Vision for the new Publisher

In every product cycle, the planning phase ends with a sense of where each application product team wants to invest, as well as how that work aligns with the goals and vision of Office as a whole. It is a great balance that lets us both deliver on big bets across the organization, and leverage the expertise each team has about what their customers need.

This release is no exception. Starting from the already incredible breadth of functionality in Publisher, we chose to invest in targeted ways in a number of specific places – either in support of shared functionality across the suite, or in improving the core scenarios at the heart of Publisher.

Part of the new Office

There is so much that I believe is great about the new Office, and I hope you’re following our blogs, trying it out, and providing us feedback. If you are, you no doubt experienced a lot of what makes this release special, from the fresh, clean design with unrelenting focus on quality of experience, to the simplicity of saving to the cloud, and having your recent documents list roam with you whenever you’re connected and signed in.

Publisher 2013

As you explore the new Publisher, you’ll find a lot that is familiar from the other applications – the new Start screen, the updated template experience, cleaner UI that is familiar, but with fewer lines and distractions, and the various redesigned tabs in the Backstage.

Better Looking Publications

Going beyond the visual updates, and integrating all that great new shared functionality, we really wanted to move the ball forward in terms of allowing customers to quickly and easily create better looking publications, from business collateral to personal projects and greeting cards.

Towards that end, we worked to enhance our graphics and effects capabilities, in many ways catching up with Word and PowerPoint, and enabling Publisher to create more visually stunning output. We added popular effects such as softer shadows, glows, and reflection, which you can apply to pictures, shapes, or text, along with new presets in the Styles galleries, offering great looking combinations of effects that can be applied with a single click. Net, you should no longer have to go to PowerPoint to apply a particular effect to an image that you want in your publication!

In addition to improving the tools we’re putting in your hands to allow you to make your own publications better looking, we also put those tools in the hands of our template designers. Publisher already offers incredibly powerful templates for a wide variety of publication types, but with the new Publisher we expanded the set offered online, creating new, modern looking templates that make it easier than ever to get started and quickly create a gorgeous, professional quality publication.

We’ll continue to add to the set of templates available, so you always have fresh choices for both business and personal uses.

Working with Pictures

Another core aspect of authoring publications, whether a business card, a flyer, or a greeting card, is more often than not working with images. This is especially true when it comes to photo albums, or other picture heavy publications, which are an important and growing document type as people have more and more digital images they want to share.

In the vein of trying to make everyday tasks easier, we streamlined a number of things related to dealing with pictures and other graphical elements:

  • Inserting many pictures at once no longer results in a stack of images piled up at the center of your page. Instead, when you insert multiple images, they automatically come in as thumbnails, conveniently tiled in the scratch area next to the page. Similarly, if you already have pictures on your page and you want them out of the way, you can send them out to the scratch area arranged as thumbnails.
  • Live picture swap allows you to more easily swap one photo for another, or try an image out in different picture placeholders on the page, by simply dragging the swap icon in the center of the image. While dragging, you can live preview the result, and drop it in place, or keep going to find a better spot.
  • Finally, as in other applications in the new Office, inserting online pictures is only a few clicks away, whether from your own SkyDrive or Flickr, or images or clipart from or Bing Image Search.

In addition, when you’re all done with your photo layout, the new Publisher makes it easy to export all the pages in your album as high quality images files, so you can easily print them at your favorite photo printing store or online service.

Try It Out

That’s it for now. In the coming days and weeks we’ll expand on this, going into more details about the things I introduced above. In the meantime, try it out for yourself at the Office Customer Preview, and let us know what you think.