Robb's Not Real Impressed With Micorosft Publisher
Updated July 21, 2022

Robb's Not Real Impressed With Micorosft Publisher

Robb Auspitz | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Publisher

I use it for business cards, flyers, newsletters, and other lightweight desktop publishing projects. Microsoft Publisher is OK for quick and easy desktop publishing projects. It's useful because we have a lot of Microsoft Publisher boilerplate built up over the years so we can just take a previous project and repurpose it. When used that way it's time-efficient and cost-effective. It is not our first choice for new projects that demands detail and real creative energy.
  • Business cards
  • Internal memos that use a logo or a little bit of design.
  • Quick and simple flyers for internal events.
  • Formatting in general. It's a pain to refine a layout in Publisher in my opinion.
  • Microsoft is so invested in their approach to software and making it look and feel like an Office 365 application that they inadvertantly cripple applications like Publisher.
  • Earlier versions of Publisher gave you a lot more latitude and creative freedom. They were also much easier to work with. Not everything has to look like it's part of Office 365. They did the same ... thing to Access.
  • It's very cheap since it is part of Office 365.
  • Since we have years of experience with Publisher and a lot of boilerplate, we can turn some documents over quickly.
  • Because it is part of Office 365 we have familiarity with the interface.
  • It's a sunk cost so on easy projects there's a positive ROI.
  • Because it's not very good at creating long and/or complex documents we needed to obtain other applications to create long and/or complex documents.
  • It's just so not essential to what we do that the positive or negative ROI is negligible.
At the time I was not impressed with Quark Xpress. I always disliked PageMaker. I always considered it over-rated. I like InDesign and have always liked InDesign, if I have a need for more complex documents I'll go with InDesign over Publisher or Quark Xpress in a heartbeat. InDesign is just a better platform for longer, more complex documents.

Do you think Microsoft Publisher delivers good value for the price?

Not sure

Are you happy with Microsoft Publisher's feature set?


Did Microsoft Publisher live up to sales and marketing promises?


Did implementation of Microsoft Publisher go as expected?


Would you buy Microsoft Publisher again?


Microsoft Publisher is only suited for very simple stuff. Anything brand new that requires nuance and detail is beyond Microsoft Publishers' capabilities. As an example: I would never use it for creating an application user manual, an employee manual, or an infographic. Trying to do any of the above would certainly make you wonder what you were thinking.

Evaluating Microsoft Publisher and Competitors

Yes - Adobe InDesign. At the time it was cheaper and easier to work with. It was easier to train people on simple jobs including; one-page flyers, banners, and short documents that needed styling, and graphics. Microsoft Publisher had a smaller footprint and worked faster. The only other option was Quark Xpress which was a very good app on the Mac but performed like a total slug on a PC.
  • Price
  • Product Usability
  • Prior Experience with the Product
Price, price, price. There was no good reason to spend a few hundred additional dollars on InDesign when it was only going to be used for small jobs. Clients would flinch when they saw the price for Adobe InDesign but had absolutely no problem paying for Microsoft Publisher. It was also cheaper for a client to pay me to train their staff since it took a lot less time.
Since there were only three viable options in the late '90s I wouldn't change anything at all. What software developers don't quite understand is that small businesses look at price first and total usability last. InDesign was/is an excellent desktop publishing platform but most small businesses and/or small departments did not need most of its capabilities.