Microsoft Publisher 2003 Tutorial

Posted by on Friday 6 May 2005

Add text

In Microsoft Publisher, text is contained in text boxes, which you arrange on the pages of your publication. When you use one of Publisher’s built-in designs, Publisher adds placeholder textboxes, with content that you can change or delete.

If you’re working with a blank page, you can add your own text by adding a text box of the general dimensions you need:

  1. On the Objects toolbar at the left side of the Publisher window, click the Text Box button.

The mouse icon changes to a cross hair:

  1. Position your mouse where you want the upper left-hand corner of the text box to appear, and then click and drag the mouse to draw a box the size you want:

Release the mouse button when the text box is the size you want. Don’t worry about locating or sizing the box precisely; you can always change it.

A new text box appears:

  1. Type inside the text box to add the text you want.

Using text boxes, you can precisely control the size, location, and appearance of all the individual text elements in your publications.

Import text

If your publication will contain long blocks of text, such as articles, you can compose the text for your publication in Microsoft® Word, and then import it into a new publication:

  1. Make sure your Word document is saved.
  2. In the Publisher task pane, click the Other Task Panes arrow button and, from the menu that appears, select New Publication.

  1. In the New Publication task pane, select Publications for Print and then Import Word Documents:

  1. Select a design from the Import Word Documents preview gallery to the right:

The Import Word Document dialog opens.

  1. Navigate to the document you want to import, and then select it and click OK.

The document is converted to Publisher:

  1. You can now use the Word Import Options task pane to define the formatting options you want to use for the publication:

Select text boxes

Text boxes, as well as other types of object frames (such as picture boxes), are displayed with dashed borders. You can select a text box to format it, move it, resize it, or delete it.

In the example newsletter, select page 2 and then zoom in, if necessary, so you can read the text. Scroll to the bottom of the page so you can see the last two articles:

Select the text box containing the last headline by moving your mouse over the boundary of the text box until the mouse icon changes to vertical and horizontal arrows:

Then click to select the text box:

Delete text boxes

To delete a text box, select it and press the Delete key on your keyboard.

For the example newsletter, delete the text box containing the third story headline on Page 2:

Now select and delete the three text boxes containing the article text.

Note that the third text box is hidden behind the picture. Because the text is flowing from the first text box into the second and then the third, when you delete the first two text boxes, the text will appear in the third behind the picture. Select the third text box at the bottom border and delete it:

Now select and delete the text box above the picture, where Publisher has included placeholder text for a quote:

We’ve now made room to extend the length of the second article:

Resize text boxes

When you select a text box, white circles, called handles, appear along the boundary. You use handles to resize a text box (or any selected object) by clicking and dragging the handles until the object has the dimensions you want.

Middle handles on an object resize the height and width of the object, while corner handles let you resize both simultaneously. For example, if you wanted to increase both the height and width of a text box, you could click the handle in the bottom right-hand corner and drag outward:

When you release the mouse button, the box is resized:

To decrease both dimensions, you could click the same handle, but drag inward to shrink the box:

For our example newsletter, we’ll resize the length of the text boxes containing the second article on Page 2 so they fill the blank space we’ve created.

First, select the text box containing the first column of the article:

Now, click the middle handle on the bottom horizontal boundary and drag it toward the bottom of the page:

When you release the mouse, the text box is resized:

Resize the text box for the second column to match the first:

Moving objects

You can move objects simply by dragging and dropping them to new locations. For most objects, you can click anywhere inside the object. For example, select the picture at the bottom of Page 2 in our example newsletter:

Now drag the picture up on top of the third text box in the article, so the picture is in line with the top of the article:

When moving text boxes, however, you must select the border, since clicking inside the text box will select the text inside the box, rather than the box itself. Click on the edge of the text box containing the picture’s caption and drag it to just below the picture:

Now move the article’s third text box from behind the picture to just below the picture:


Select the right boundary of the text box to keep from inadvertently selecting the picture or caption.

We only need adjust the size of the text box slightly to complete the new layout:


You can “nudge” a selected object in small increments using your arrow keys.

Connecting text boxes

It’s common to have more text than you can fit into one text box, or to resize a text box so all the text no longer fits. When this happens, the extra text, called overflow, is hidden and a small icon appears below the text box that says Text in Overflow:

You can connect multiple text boxes so that text flows from one box to another in what’s called a story. If you resize or delete one of the connected text boxes, the overflow text is moved to adjacent boxes, preserving the text and flow of the story.

To connect a series of text boxes:

  1. Lay out the design you want by adding and arranging the text boxes you want to link.

For this example, we deleted the second and third columns of the bottom article on Page 2 of our example newsletter, and then resized the first column so the text no longer fit. We then moved the text box to the bottom of the page and added two new text boxes next to it. (See the illustration for Step 2 below.)

  1. Select the text box containing your overflow text. The box doesn’t have to contain text yet; if you’re laying out a design, you can select the first in a series of empty text boxes that you want to link.

  1. On the Connect Text Boxes toolbar, click the Create Text Box Link button.

The mouse icon changes to a pitcher.

  1. Click the text box that should be second in the link:

The overflow text now appears in the box you clicked:

To connect additional text boxes, repeat the above steps.

For example, to connect the third text box in the example, click the Create Text Box Link button again, and then click the third text box:

Because the text of the story actually ended in the second text box, the third box remains empty:

However, the small Go to button above the text box tells us the box is connected.

If you now delete the middle text box, the text that appeared in that box will move to the third text box:

Creating text columns

You can quickly lay out columns on a page by formatting a single text box as multiple columns:

  1. Create a text box wide enough to accommodate all the columns you want:

  1. Right-click the text box and select Format Text Box from the shortcut menu.

The Format Text Box dialog opens.

  1. Select the Text Box tab and click the Columns button.

The Columns dialog opens.

  1. Enter the number of columns you want, and the spacing that should appear between the columns.
  2. Click OK.
  3. Click OK to close the Format Text Box dialog.

The text box is now split into columns of equal width.

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