When to Use Word?And When 'Not' To

Should you use Word as a desktop publishing program, or should you use a different piece of software designed specifically for publishing? For example, it's one thing to create a monthly newsletter (or e-newsletter) for your sales force?a task for which Word is well suited. It's another to create a full-color brochure that depends on high-quality photography?which Word simply isn't designed to handle.

In general, consider using Word if

  • You're creating a fairly simple publication, especially one that can be built from one of Word's built-in templates or wizards.

  • You expect to customize your documents and need access to Word features such as mail merge to do so.

  • Your desktop-published document links to other documents stored on your computer, such as Excel worksheets.

  • You want to do it yourself and you already know how to use Word.

  • You don't have access to desktop publishing software.

Consider using a dedicated desktop publishing program if

  • Your publication will require the use of full-color photography and will be printed professionally?in other words, not on a desktop printer (Word does not support four-color separations, a requirement for high-fidelity color reproduction).

  • Your layouts will be especially complex or precise.

  • You will be delegating your project to a professional designer, or you already have and know how to use a desktop publishing package well.


Even if you export your Word documents to a desktop publishing program, include styles as you work; these can easily be imported into most leading desktop publishing programs.


If you need a professional desktop publishing program, but you're worried about the complexity or are reluctant to invest a sizable amount of money, consider Microsoft Publisher.

This is an easy-to-learn program with all the bells and whistles necessary to produce a wide range of publications. Publisher comes with various templates and wizards that make it easy to produce everything from a newsletter to a business form, change color schemes quickly, and even repurpose printed materials for the Web. Publisher also supports four-color separations for professional color printing.

Just as Word uses text boxes, Publisher makes extensive use of text frames (and, for graphics, picture frames). As a result, much of what you learn in this chapter is applicable in Publisher.

Not only does Publisher import Word files, but it also enables you to set Word as your primary editor?so that you can do all your extensive editing in the familiar Word environment, while you benefit from Publisher's more sophisticated layout capabilities.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word