Microsoft Publisher Turns Small-Business Owner’s Desperation Into Delight

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 22, 2001 — After his in-house graphic designer quit, Tim Schultz, vice president of Sarahs Attic, a small business in Chesaning, Mich. that offers gifts, collectibles and home d

Schultz found Microsoft Publisher extremely versatile.
“Its the word processor of choice for us because it allows you to integrate pictures, text and numbers,”
Schultz said.
“If you use Microsoft Word, youre somewhat confined to words; if you use Microsoft Excel, youre somewhat confined to numbers; but, if you use Microsoft Publisher, you can combine the best of all worlds.”

A business desktop publishing program, Microsoft Publisher 2000 is designed for people at companies like Sarahs Attic who choose to create their own marketing materials without the help of a professional designer. Its also intended for larger companies that prefer to keep the design of their marketing materials in-house. Publisher 2000 offers everything from step-by-step wizards that help users set up their publications to IntelliSense-based features, such as smart objects that recognize the users needs and automatically provide the desired result. As a component of the Microsoft Office suite of products, Publisher employs a familiar user interface that adds to its ease-of-use.

“Publisher 2000 helps business owners project a professional image for their businesses by simplifying the way they create their marketing materials,”
said Katie Jordan, product manager for Microsoft Publisher.
“By providing them with intuitive, automated design expertise, design guidance and easy-to-use page layout tools, Publisher 2000 allows businesspeople to focus their energy on their customers rather than on preparing marketing materials.”

Schultz especially appreciated the way Publisher 2000 allowed him and his staff to easily integrate items such as graphs, pictures and text from other Microsoft programs within the Microsoft Office suite of products.
“I didnt like the complexities of the PageMaker program,”
Schultz said,
“but I thought we had to use it. Then, I found out through researching Publisher 2000 on my own that commercial printers would be able to print from Publisher 2000 files because of the features Microsoft had put into the program.”

With the additional features to support commercial printing, including 4-color separation and spot color printing, as well as tools to help a prepress professional output files, Microsoft has added commercial printing functionality to Publisher 2000. Microsoft also created the Publisher Service Provider Program, which provides users with a way to easily locate and make use of printers and copy shops accepting customer files created in Microsoft Publisher. According to Jordan, more than 5,000 printers in the United States and Canada are part of this program, and users can locate them from the Publisher Web site.

Schultz printer, Nathan Brady, vice president of information technology with TBF Graphics, admits that he was skeptical of Microsoft Publisher at first and that Schultz had to talk him into trying the latest version. He was pleasantly surprised with Publisher 2000, and ran into only one small problem in printing the 88-page full-color catalog for Sarahs Attic.
“The staff at Sarahs Attic forgot to send us one font that we needed,”
Brady said.
“That was the only problem we encountered, which is extraordinary for an 88-page full-color catalog.”

As a commercial printer, Bradys favorite feature introduced in Publisher 2000 is the Pack and Go Wizard. This wizard is designed to package the Publisher file, TrueType fonts and graphics — all essential to successfully printing a customer file — across multiple disks for efficient transfer to a local copy shop or commercial printer. It is designed to correct errors such as forgetting to bring in a necessary font. In fact, Brady added, had Schultz and the staff at Sarahs Attic used the Pack and Go Wizard when they submitted their catalog, the omission of a font would have been corrected automatically.

“One of our greatest challenges is educating our clients who are submitting documents as to what needs to come with the electronic file,”
Brady said.
“The Pack and Go feature helps wrap it up for them without us having to get involved as much.”

Since 1991, Microsoft Publisher has been available for small-business owners and home-based business users who want to design their own sales and marketing materials. Today, more than 6 million customers worldwide use Publisher.

“A lot of companies are standardizing on Microsoft Office, and with Publisher 2000 available in several of the Office suites I think that the market is going to expand quite a bit,”
Brady predicted.
“Well be seeing more and more of this type of work created with Microsoft Publisher.”

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