Viewing (and sharing) Publisher files

I seem to have become a top search engine result for queries for a Microsoft Publisher Viewer. The bad news is that there is no Microsoft Publisher Viewer. The good news is that we have a better solution to this problem coming with Publisher 2007. Every time we look at doing a Publisher Viewer, we run into the problem of how to get enough distribution that people could reliably share Pub files and count on the viewer being available at the other end. We also think there is a limit to the number of single-application viewers that people want to download. Instead what customers have long been asking us for is a way to get Publisher content into application-independent viewable formats.

For Publisher 2007, we plan to make available free add-ins from Microsoft that enable the generation of both PDF and XPS files from Pub. PDF viewers are widely deployed today, and XPS viewers are starting to become available. As they do for earlier versions of Publisher, we also expect that third parties will offer their own solutions for capturing and sharing output from Publisher.

For current versions of Publisher, your best bets for sharing Pub content electronically are printing to the Microsoft Office Document Imaging format (a viewer is part of various versions of Microsoft Office) or saving or printing through one of the various third-party tools that generate PDF.

Somewhat off topic, I also want to call out the Publisher Connect web site, which is a great way to provide us feedback. We recently put up this site and don't have a lot of content there right now, but we do have a way to provide feedback to the product team that won't bottleneck through me. For Publisher support questions, please see the Microsoft Publisher 2003 Help and Support Center on Microsoft Office Online. I cannot provide product support through this blog.

Comments (73)
  1. biddy says:

    i need to open a publisher file but i seem to have the  wrong one as the file will not open can you help me

  2. Michael says:

    I don’t think MS can get around creating a viewer for Publisher. People are already attempting to distribute .pub files.

    For those with .pub files that they want to read, I have come across the following free service that converts .pub into a readable .pdf format:

  3. MikeM says:

    Well, it’s actually good news that there will be tools for Publisher in Office12 (2007) to convert to .pdf or .xps.

    I found a FREE converter that does a great job (offline, in the privacy of your home). It uses tricks from the open source guru’s and is completely GPL.

    If I accomplished the insane task of showing my wife how to convert, then ANYONE can do this.

  4. John says:

    Not really much news though? Nice to see you are still alive after a very non-responsive year. Apology accepted.

    I’m glad there are still plenty of third parties alive and kicking to solve all the problems that Microsoft creates.

  5. Jay says:

    "I seem to have become a top search engine result for queries for a Microsoft Publisher Viewer. "

    This indicates that your customers want a VIEWER.

    Instead you convert that into this:

    "Instead what customers have long been asking us for is a way to get Publisher content into application-independent viewable formats."

    Are you really listening to your customers? No!

    That same deaf, cowardly, disgusting Microsftian atittude.

    Your software already allows your users to convert to a number of diferent types of files, document (txt; rtf;doc;ps) and graphic (tiff). But they don’t.

    There are already a lot of free converters that allow your customers to convert to PDF. But they don’t.

    They distribute *.pub files and want a VIEWER.

    In what a planet do you all live? In monopoly planet. Where you can do all and whatever you want.

    Without competition you don’t have to satisfy your customers because Microsoft is all they have. They stuck, and you know it.

    You say: "Forget about it fools!" but disguise it as:

    "Instead what customers have long been asking us for is a way to get Publisher content into application-independent viewable formats."

    And they still will need to spend more money to buy this new version that will use this new plug-ins.

    It’s very, very, very sad.

    Thank you.

  6. Martyn says:

    Whole-heartedly support previous comment.  I’d be very happy if everyone published in application independant formats, but have an immediate problem with all the .PUB files around now.

    Why do you folks choose not to listen?

  7. CHRIS LEMKE says:


                                              THANK YOU,


  8. Jeff Bell says:

    Chris – I assume you are referring to betas of Publisher 2007, as the final product is not yet available.

    Information on both downloading the beta 2 and beta 2 technical refresh and on the browser-hosted test drive are at:

    As we are past the technical beta feedback window, one or both of these downloads may require payment of a nominal cost recovery fee.

    With business availability of Office 2007 coming later this month, I don’t know how long either of those downloads will remain available.

  9. Pfftwhateverjerks says:

    You only respond to one comment, and that’s the one you think might be willing to "pay a nominal fee" ?  What the crap?  You’ve known for over two years now, that people want to be able to VIEW existing .pub files, I have on my desktop two .pub files, that I need to distribute to everyone in my office, from my IT department, the problem is no one in my department has an updated version of Publisher, and that includes myself! I cannot open the file to save it as an application independant document.  If I could, we probably wouldn’t have a half million people clamoring for the dang viewer!  Look, it’s simple, your end users, people stupid enough to buy your products, don’t even know what the save-as feature does.  The ones that do, don’t frustrate us with impossible to view files.  So either make a viewer, or continue to have negative feedback until someone else comes up with a fairly well supported OS by the gaming industry, and you will lose half of your current users.  Then when another OS comes along that is fairly well supported by the office space industry, you will lose another third of your users, the ones left?  Are never going to buy another update from you, they only log on to their "PC" the likes of which hasn’t seen the light of day in a production setting in the greater portion of a decade, once every week to check their emails.

    Rah, ranting aside.  Microsoft you’re a prime example of poor capitalistic intent.

  10. MS PUB non-user says:

    Jay’s point is well taken.  Are you authorized to respond?  Guess not….

    Is there a limit to the number of single-application viewers that people want to download. Sure, if you count the number currently available – which is zero.

    Another dissatisfied customer.

  11. Hey guys, no need to be abusive.

    Besides, I found a solution on this page:

    Worked fine for me.

  12. "The bad news is that there is no Microsoft Publisher Viewer"

    I’ve been searching over a year for a .pup viewer, thank you for clearing that up.

    And thanks to Michael and Mikkel for publishing a link to a solution: pdfonline. It works a treat, its not a viewer as such but converts the .pup to pdf WITHOUT the need of having publisher installed.

    regards /David

  13. hamish says:

    God lord.  Until someone sent me .pub file today I had no idea of this whole incredibly frustrating world of MS publisher.

    What kind of crazy document format is this? It’s impossible to open!  

    It’s impossible to open.  

    It’s impossible to open these files.

    Do you see the problem?

    I’ll say it again:


  14. Jeff Bell says:

    Using the Publisher Trial as a Viewer

    Chris Pratley has a new post over in his OneNote blog ( that is very relevant to the Publisher viewer question. Every time you read "OneNote" in that post, substitute "Publisher" and you will have both a pointer to a way to view Publisher files without buying Publisher and another explanation of our thinking on the viewer question.

  15. cary says:

    If you guys are that unhappy with Ms why not just buy a Mac. Once you go mac you’ll never go back.

  16. Dan says:

    Because people still send you .pub files, and thus you still need to be able to read them on Mac, Windows or whatever.

  17. Joe VanVoorhees says:

    Wrong! Let’s say I have 30 users at a client site and NONE of them use Publisher or want to use Publisher? We have viewers available for Word, PPT, Excel, etc. all of which we have on our computers but it ends up being the "fringe" products like Publisher, Visio, and other great but less popular products that always require viewers. I think the point is that we don’t want to have to go back to the client and have them redo their product in Publisher so that we can read it. They will end up ditching the product for something more universal. It was precisely the PPT viewer that helped launch PowerPoint into the mainstream in the 90s. Why don’t they just make one for Publisher?

  18. Dani says:

    PrimoPDF and PDFOnline are good shortcuts, but it does not solve the need for a MS Publisher viewer.  

    In my past life, I had a PC.  And on that PC I had MS Publisher.

    Now I’m on a different OS – one which MS Office is hardly supported.  It is impossible for me to access my files.  It is such a hassle to convert multiple files into PDF when all I want to do is view them.

    Just my 2 copper.

  19. Mary Oney says:

    Oh for crying out loud!  How stupid is this?  Who on earth would design a product that you can’t actually USE????  I am new to Publisher so imagine my surprise when several other people who also have Publisher send me documents that are impossible to read, break into, access, whatever.

      I have Publisher because I thought it would be an assett to my business.  Boy was I wrong. Do you know how annoyed clients get when you have to call them and tell them you cannot open their files?

     And now I find out there is no viewer. Of course reading the above I find I can go to another site and PAY for something to translate a program that I already PAID for. It would be easy to say this program is a worthless pieceof junk but I think a whole bunch of people started using it without knowing that their version would be obsolete in a nanosecond.

      Could we please have a little common sense?

    Thank you, have a nice day.

  20. Jeff Bell says:

    Mary – It looks like there are a couple of different issues in your comment: file compatibility and a viewer. I am sorry you are disappointed with Publisher, but this feels like a misunderstanding.

    If you have a recent copy of Publisher – Publisher 2002/XP, Publisher 2003 or Publisher 2007 – you should be able to open all Microsoft Publisher files that come your way. If you collaborate with someone using an older version of Publisher, such as Publisher 2000 or Publisher 98, then you will want to Save As the appropriate older format for their system. If you have received Publisher files that should open according to this description and do not, please email me through the contact info on this blog. We are interested in understanding why.

    There has never been a separate viewer program for Publisher. The most common ways that Publisher content is shared are in print, in rich email or as a web site. None of these require any version of Publisher on the recipients’ end. If you are co-editing a Publisher document with someone else, then you will both need copies of Publisher. We recognize that there are times when you want to share an electronic version of, for example, a brochure or a catalog. To support this, Publisher 2007, plus a free add-in from Microsoft, enable saving to PDF, a format for which viewers are free and already widely deployed.

  21. Andy Glass says:

    Again, the fundamental problem has NOT been addressed ie. users who wish to view documents in the .pub format are out of luck unless they PURCHASE very expensive software.  In the end, this will prove to be self defeating.  At my business when we recieve a .pub document we are forced to ask the sender to reformat and resend.  So far we’ve only had to ask each sender ONCE to reformat and all susequent correspondence is in a more universal format.  Users are "wising up" quickly to what MS is trying to do and reverting to previous methods.  As word spreads, managers are seeing the folly of purchasing a program that is so restrictive and does nothing that a combination of other applications can’t already accomplish.  Publisher is a loser and, unfortunately, the R&D costs will probably be passed on to MS loyal customers.

    Just an opinion from a IT manager that will NEVER use Publisher.

  22. Bob says:

    Jeff Bell, if I were not looking to solve an actual, immediate problem, your replies to users’ comments would be almost amusing to read. You selectively answer only portions of comments that are secondary to the main issue (everyone is in need of a viewer – for the twentieth time), so that you can try to avoid looking like a complete idiot, and making the company you work for look as though it is run by myopic idiots. While you repeatedly avoid directly addressing every poster’s primary concern (that a viewer is needed for Publisher).

    You are a worthless corporate shill.

    And I would like to extend a grateful "thank you" to those end users who suggested workable solutions.

  23. JE says:

    Even though I caught on rather early that MS Publisher was purposefully designed so as not to be compatible with *anything* else, including other MS products; I’ve been a little bit sheepish about my inability to VIEW the files. The best thing would be for everyone to stop being diplomatic, tell people who use Publisher that they’ve naively bought into MS’s never ending attempts at monopolization, and INSIST that the senders of Publisher files send them something else. And to stop being diplomatic about it. Time to stop trying to accommodate dumb peoples’ purchases of a dumb product, get on with it, and insist that they never ever receive another Publisher file ever.

    If clients can’t figure that out, then it’s time to leave those clients and get on with spending more time on clients who do not insist on crippling people with stupid software.

    Life is too short. MS is buIIsh1t.

  24. Jeff Bell says:

    Let me try a different approach here.

    I am pleased to announce that there is a downloadable viewer available for MS Publisher files. It is the Publisher 2007 trial, available here:

    For the first 60 days, it will even allow you to create and edit Publisher files. After that it becomes view-only unless it is activated into the fill product. For more details, read Chris Pratley’s post here(, substituting Publisher everywhere he says OneNote.

    And of course, for everyone creating content in Publisher that they want to share, and don’t want to require recipients to download a unique viewer for, there are the many ways of converting to other formats such as PDF that have been discussed here and in the Publisher 2007 newsgroup.

  25. JM says:

    How can I convert a Pub to Doc ? I’m in need of help

  26. Jeff Bell says:

    JM – First off, probably the best place to ask this question is in the Publisher newsgroup where you will get a broader set of answers:

    There is no full-fidelity way to turn a Pub into a Word document. This is because there are many features in Publisher that do not have direct counterparts in Word. Publisher does have a feature to Save As a Word document, but this will only save the formatted text and not the layout of your publication. Depending on what you are starting with, this may or may not meet your needs.

    Beyond this, you are into the realm of clever workarounds, which is a place where the newsgroups excel. One such workaround which may yield better results would be to Save As HTML from Publisher and then to import that into Word. Another would be good old copy and paste.

  27. Mitchell Gene says:

    I am another frustrated, former MS user, who attempted to open a .pub file.  After following the lengthy registration requirements at I was presented with the message:

    "We are sorry, but we are unable to complete your request.  The following problem(s) exist:  One or more required fields is blank. Please answer all required questions."  

    Repeated attempts to comply with the requirements to fill in all fields in BOLD were met with the same silly message.  This further frustrates me to the point that I will make it my mission ito convince everyone I know to avoid MS products.

  28. Andy Glass says:

    Offering a MASSIVE cippleware download to accomplish ONE task (view .PUB) files seems like overkill unless that is supposed to lead to my PURCHASING the product; something I know going in I am NOT going to do….

    WE NEED A STAND ALONE VIEWER…if this is to become a product in wide use or, as I said before, it will remain a loser…..

    An IT manager who will NEVER use Publisher (except the stand alone viewer I KNOW must come)

  29. Max says:

    Could that be possible, that the new .pub specification is based on OpenXML standard?

  30. Robert says: – worked for me – thanks for tip guys.

  31. Maiden Belgium says:

    YES!! it works great! Thanks for the link!

  32. nuno says:

    yes!!!it works great!thank you

  33. Wichita says:

    "Let me try a different approach here.

    I am pleased to announce that there is a downloadable viewer available for MS Publisher files. It is the Publisher 2007 trial, available here:"

    Haha. Really funny.

    Mr Bell ! You don’t want to understand any request, doesn’t it ? So, why this blog still exists ?

    You just have to write :

    " I’m Jeff Bell, a microsoft program manager, it doesn’t mind what you think, and request, because I do what I want, and I’m paid for that !"

  34. cjl says:

    Ridiculous, to say the least.  I refuse to download a trial version of the humongous Publisher trial to open one stinkin file —  as I will never use this piece of junk after I have opened this one file.

    And even if I didn’t care that this product quoted that it would require 800+ megs of space on my machine, I still wouldn’t do it just because it seems like very very poor workaround.  

    It would be similar to me borrowing a car (towing across town and taking up the space in my driveway) because I need the jack that comes with it, to change a flat tire on a car I already have.  

    In this analogy you can clearly see I do not need another car, I just need a jack, therefore, why would I go across town to tow a car back to my house and have it take up space in my driveway?  

    I do not with to purchase, download, store, bla bla bla an entire program I will never use to open one file.

    Anyway, this is blessing in disguise — it is the straw that broke the camels back.. no more MS for this IT guy.

    And finally – Jeff — if you are not going to show the respect of replying to all of the posts, do not reply to any of them.  Its very insulting to the people that took the time out of their lives (after wasting plenty of it searching for a simple viewer) to help confirm the need for a viewer — I think its very ironic that these people took the time to give advise that might actually help Microsoft and most of them are not very fond of MS and are not even customers.   I think that makes it disrespectful x2.

    See ya later Microsoft

  35. M says:

    There are many ways to accomplish the viewer task.

    Many people here seem to only accept one solution: "a lightweight standalone viewer"

    Sorry, but it’s not possible.

    Perhaps you’d like to try one of the many workarounds?

    Or perhaps you’d just rather cry.

    Also to the previous poster:

    It is impossible to reply to every post. Not every post deserves a response.

  36. jensbrown says:

    I have 93 ancient Publisher 2.0 files that I would like to migrate to either Word or Publisher 2007. I am not expecting any answers from Microsoft, but it would be terrific if any one had experience in this area. I am willing to pay for an adequate conversion.


    Jens Brown

  37. Jeff Bell says:

    Jens –

    As you may be aware, a security update to Publisher last year removed the ability for Pub 2000, 2002 and 2003 to open Publisher 2 files. Publisher 2007 also does not open these. (There are more details in this KB article: Only support for Publisher 2 files was removed; all newer versions of Pub files are still supported.

    You should be able to open these files and resave them in the current (>= 2002) Publisher format if you have access to a copy of Publisher without the above security update. (If you do temporarily uninstall the update, prudence dictates that you not open Pub files from unknown sources until you have reinstalled it.)

    If you want to find someone who will convert these files for you, your odds are pretty good on the Publisher newsgroup:

  38. ... says:

    Du musst ein Fachmann sein – wirklich guter Aufstellungsort, den du hast!

  39. paul smith says:

    Like loads of others I am crying after wasting about four hours. I ignored others sensible advice about not downloading the so-called "trial" version. It is NOT a trial version AT ALL. It merely allows you to view files.

    My task? To get the layout and graphics for a community newsletter from the previous "editor" . I would have been better off spending that time creating a new document from scratch.

    Microsoft – grow up. Realise that sharing is the way of the world and stop pretending that a trial version is anything but a scam to rob us of yet more money.

  40. Jeff Bell says:

    Paul –

    I don’t understand your comment. The trial version is a full-featured version of the application for a limited time (60 days, I think.) After that, core functionality does get disabled making it a read-only experience. Until then, you do get the full experience of the application.

  41. Andy Homeless says:

    I too can understand everyone’s frustration. Just received a .pub file from someone who doesn’t know better. A viewer would probably be as big a download as the trial even if they did make one. For all the comments that recommend Adobe Acrobat .pdf file format, just remember that Acrobat is proprietary software also, Adobe is no more friendly than Microsoft (ever try to open a Photoshop file) and the reader is becoming more and more cumbersome – even if it is free. Last time I checked, their updates are running around 110MB and the automatic update software tries to hijack your browser with a useless and buggy toolbar add-on. And there is not 100% backwards compatibility with all .pdf files depending on the version that created it.

    The solution – don’t use proprietary software at all. Open Source is the only way to go to avoid frustrations with files like .pub from MS Publisher. The best free office suite is v2.1 available at  Not a "trial" – open & free. Yes it opens your word docs and powerpoints, excel etc and can save and convert to those formats as well as dozens of others.

    Want to create better DTP documents, like newsletters, even press ready books? Not with MS Publisher. Think open source again. Scribus is free, open source and a powerful page layout DTP app. It rivals all commercial (proprietary) solutions. It’s at

    As for the poor .pub file? Yes the link works great!

    cheers <>< andy

  42. R Spring says:

    I too have been searching for a Publisher viewer.  

    Based on Jeff’s comment on Friday, March 23, 2007 1:35 PM, "  …The trial version is a full-featured version of the application for a limited time (60 days, I think.) After that, core functionality does get disabled making it a read-only experience. …".  

    Am I to understand that the "trial version" can be used as a viewer after the expiration of the trail period??  

  43. Jeff Bell says:

    R Spring –

    You are correct. The Publisher 2007 trial will function as a viewer after the trial period expires.

  44. Allyson says:

    So far, what I have done is copy (one page a time) publisher pages as html into powerpoint.

    It is extremely time consuming but it works (most of the time).

  45. Angela says:

    Maybe you keep getting requests for information you do not have is because it says here that you do:


  46. Ann Taylor says:

    Good comments. Nice to know you can only open .pub in Publisher. Work at weekly newspaper and get .pub files all the time. Never used the program. Question: Does the user have options to save in any format that Word or Quark or even Text Edit can read?


  47. Chris says:

    I’ve been sent a microsoft pulisher file and cannot open it in publisher 2000…any ideas how I can view this file?

  48. chris says:

    Ignore last blog – Just tried:

    And worked fine for me!!!

  49. Hooch says:

    i hear a lot of comments of dumb users that must stop using the program, unfortunately some of the users that we deal with here have got corel, adobe, etc. problem is some of those users just cant seem to get the hang of working with any other product that can be viewed or opened in other programs

    it just becomes frustrating to find that a microsoft program is so badly designed that it becomes incompatible with others. even if you consider that the new publisher can import and export to formats like .pdf. Why is it that it still needs a plugin where every other program on the market can do this standard. Unfortunately MS has become standard to use and it is and looks like it will remain below standard for the people that need to use its products for their profession.

    every product has got its perks but it seems that with every new release MS just consists out of perks and not operability

  50. hooch says:

    btw, nice viewer, 222mb, even on adsl its going to take hours to download…..

  51. dbqp says:

    It’s also rather telling that there is a "Compatibility Pack" for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to allow users of the ‘viewer’ to exchange files between previous versions, but no "Compatibility Pack" for Publisher.  I’ve long thought of Publisher as the red-headed step child in the Office household, despite an instant affection for the program when I first used Publisher 97.  Once a new version came out and found myself forced into a cycle of planned obsolesence, I gave up on Publisher.  I routinely try to direct others from using it; I explain that there is nothing in Publisher which can’t be accomplished in other programs.  It’s clear that Publisher fits right where Microsoft wants it to…it’s an emoticon "user friendly" simplified application for those who are afraid to or are limited by time from using other apps.  It’s solely a revenue stream because there is no way Microsoft would break any of the workhorses of the Office suite.  That’s why Jeff is giving out lugheaded answers and avoiding the issue of inoperability between versions.  It’s his job to keep the scrapbooking money coming in; if Publisher were truley designed to be a professional publishing program Microsoft would have long ago gotten the orange haired kid out of the shed.  For the record, after years of avoiding Publisher and proclaiming the futility of using it, I’ve spent hours trying to open one emailed Publisher file, I’ve downloaded the viewer, and have seen nothing to convince me that Publisher is anything more than a toy.  But hey, nice sinecure position there Jeff.  

  52. Jonathan says:

    Don’t upgrade to the next version of publisher …

    Use PDF online to view files already created.

    Get an opensource version of all your applications … openoffice etc.

    Next time you change your PC get Linux as an operating system !

    Stop sending MS the money since they obviously don’t appreciate it !

  53. M. Smith says:

    Thanks to the person who posted the pdf online solution. I do graphic design and can open all kinds of files in all kinds of programs — everything but Publisher files. They won’t open anywhere!

    But PDF Online solved the problem, because now I can open the pdf in photroshop, indesign, quark, word, etc. etc. etc.


  54. Pdfonline worked for me says:

    Thanks to those who posted  It solved my problem.  Thanks also to Jeff Bell for leaving this blog entry online even though he has been insulted in it many times.  I’m not kidding.  It would be easy enough for him to delete.  The comments here are the best resource around for people like me who receive a .pub file and have no idea what to do with it.  

  55. Guy Gyselaers says:

    PDFONLINE works just fine!

    Thanks for the tip guys!

    A disgruntled receiver of .pub files.

  56. vesta says:

    I am just so dissapointed in MS. I only want to open a .pub… And they simply don’t have any kind of vieuwer? I thought of buying me a new mac..

  57. Natalie says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for a link to something that does SOMETHING with publisher files. I am on a mac so it has always been so frustrating continuously having to go back to clients and asking them for something else so I could at least see what they did. It will be nice in future versions if you offer a pdf option do you think maybe you could look into your hearts and add the plug-ins to the versions you already have out so people do not have to upgrade? On a more personal note how about just sticking with office products and leaving document creation to Adobe and Quark (you know where they do give you easy ways to convert and send your files so people can actually read them) just a thought, but if you do someday in the distant future add the ability to create pdf’s PLEASE make it user friendly trying to get people to save them as jpg’s always seems to be so difficult, I have never used publisher so I do not know how much is user error, but for how many clients have had problems with it, it can’t be that easy.


  58. Todd says:

    I also thank Jeff Bell for keeping this blog up after being repeated insulted.  The link to was an important find for me.  The only issue is the 2MB limit on uploaded files.

    Everything else has been said.


  59. Todd says:

    I tried the free trial at  Works great.  222MB; but high speed DSL, 150 GB free space on my hard drive and no cash outlay, I’m happy.

    I opened the 8MB .PUB file in Publisher then printed to a PDF file from there, using PrimoPDF —  — which I had previously downloaded.

    My trial expires after June 30; after then, I hope I can still print from the viewer.  

    By the way, "paul smith" above expressed frustration that the free trial was only a viewer. I found that too, at first, then realized there was a "convert now" button, which enables the full features, during set up that I did not click.  I was only able to view, but needed to edit as some formatting was messed up.  I then exited Publisher, reopened, and it gave me the same option to "convert now."  I did so, re-entered the product key, then was able to edit.


  60. sabrina says:

    i am trying to download microsoft publisher….you know the one that you can make booklets on??? I need your help please

  61. sabrina says:

    i am trying to download microsoft publisher….you know the one that you can make booklets on??? I need your help please

  62. unhappy says:

    I don’t want to use PDFonline! I don’t trust some website to convert my documents online.

    I want a tool I can use completely offline, so that my data remains private!

    I don’t want to have to call some admin to install some PDF conversion software on my PC! Give me a simple .exe that does the job without requiring administrative privileges!

    And being able to view publisher files should even be possible BY DEFAULT on any windows installation!

    Just put .doc, .pub, .xls, etc viewers in every windows installation!

    If you don’t, well I don’t care, I’m already under GNU/Linux.

    It’s your problem if people switch.

  63. HNLGAL says:

    I have searched and searched the web and cannot find another problem like


    I downloaded the MS Office 2007 Trial but am only having this problem with

    Publisher …. Word Excel etc seem fine

    I created some documents in Publisher 2007 that now, after the trial has

    expired, I can only open and work on if I first right click, then "Open in

    Publisher 2003".  When I go to save the file (which it says is in 2003

    version), it still saves it as a 2007 version which I again have to right

    click and ask it to Open in Publisher 2003.  This is tedious and very


    THEN to boot, I opened another folder with a bunch of Publisher 2003 files

    that I had not worked on doing the trial (therefore were created in Pub.2003)

    but ALL of them are now Read Only Publisher 2007 files!


    And if I did uninstall the 2007 MS Office, will I lose all my files that:

    a: I created in 2007

    b: have somehow been converted to 2007

    HELP PLEASE!!!  

    Thank you!


  64. jrhwhipp says:

    I am in the UK.  Forgive me if there’s a UK trial site I failed to find, but the MS Office Trial appears to be available only to US customers.  On the signup screen, US is the only country in the "Select Country" pulldown, and I cannot get past the signup screen without entering a valid country, state and zipcode…  I guess I could invent myself a US address but I’m fairly sure that would be fraudulent, so I’m not going to.

    Somebody has sent me a 4Mb .pub file, created using Publisher 2003 I’m told.  Do I have any other option but to go back to this person and tell them to send me the file in a different format?  That’s assuming this person would know how to, as the persons computer-literacy is I suspect fairly limited.

    Microsoft is a corporate giant, not some little startup company struggling to make ends meet.  MS Publisher these days is part of the MS Office Suite, which is amongst Microsoft’s most mainstream of products.  I totally appreciate that Jeff is just the messenger here, and my comments are not aimed at Jeff, but the reasons cited for not developing a viewer sound incredibly lame in that context.  Am I really to understand that the Microsoft Corporation is unable to put together a small team of developers to spend a few months deriving a standalone viewer from the sourcecode of an existing product in order to boost the reputation of one of its core products?  I can only assume that Publisher is not highly valued by Microsoft, which is very sad because there’s a sizable community out there who seem to like and use Publisher quite a lot.

    Meanwhile I would have loved to have been able to open this 4Mb .pub file…

  65. sjtmbg says:

    Microsoft has long preyed on users who know nothing

    about computers, that’s the way it’s been, that’s the way

    it will continue to be.

    Many of these users are typing simple text documents but

    do it in Word or Publisher because they don’t know better.

    If that’s the case, the text from a pub file can be easily

    extracted with this command (on linux):

    strings -e l > filename.txt

  66. TBall says:


    Everyone go there!  I launched an email newsletter last week.  I have speant hours upon hours creating about 40 of these newsletters in Publisher in hopes of getting well ahead of myself for future emailings.  Emagine my pain when I had nearly 240 responses immediately after sending my first one out from people who were dissapointed that they could not open it!  I saw flashes of my hard work being dragged into the "Trash Can" on desktops all over the US.

    After much searching I came accross  They offer an unlimmited useage trial version and one you can buy for around 30 bucks.  The only difference being that in the trail version, there is a footer on each page advertising  No big deal for me.

    It works much like the imagewriter option does.  In your project you click print, then under the option to select printer, you select the NOVA option.  This saves your project to your hard drive in a *.PDF version rather than *.pub.  You can then attatch the PDF document in an email and send it worldwide.     —–WONDERFUL!!!—–

  67. The May 15, 2008 edition of Redmond Developer News magazine arrived at my door today. I had to immediately

  68. The May 15, 2008 edition of Redmond Developer News magazine arrived at my door today. I had to immediately

  69. maristuff says:

    Well, I am absolutely thrilled!  I found that after the free trial version of Publisher expires you can still use it as a .pub VIEWER!    If one doesn’t intend to create .pub files, there is no need to buy the full program.  Here’s what I found:

    Receiving a publication

    "If you receive a Publisher (.pub) file in e-mail and you are unable to open it, you can download a trial version of Publisher."

    "After the trial expires, you can still use the trial version as a viewer for Publisher files, even though you can no longer create or change publications."

  70. Neil says:

    I couldn't use the site mentioned earlier as it was 'down for maintenance', but I did find which converts the file online and emails you it in a matter of minutes.

    I hope I don't have to deal with another .pub file, it seems a ridiculously closed-format intended just to drive more people to install Publisher…

  71. Kevin Smith says:

    I've had a computer on my desk for twenty years now and I received my first .pub file today from the financial aid office at my son's college.  It was a fairly important doc and having no other solution I had to scramble out to the web to find out how to open it.  Fortunately after looking around for a while I found these posts and used the online pdf solution most folks were pointing towards.  Worked great.  Took about fifteen minutes to receive the pdf file back in my email.  Thanks!

    While I was waiting for the doc to arrive and out of sheer curiosity (I really don't have any other excuse) I read through all five pages of these baffling blog postings.  I even followed Jeff's link and read Chris's OneNote article about why there is no viewer for OneNote.  I could sum up the argument as: It’s just too hard.  I get this kind of think a lot from newer vendors.  If they keep it up, they don't last very long.

    Now I have to say that I've never used Publisher and have never had it on a machine anywhere that I've worked.  I'm completely unfamiliar with what it is, what it does, and why I would even want one.  The same goes for OneNote, which is, I suppose, is the main point I’m putting forward.

    Here I see potential customer after potential customer asking for an obvious solution over four years and two new iterations of the software (2007 and 2010) with still no simple viewer solution on the horizon. It's clear to this observer that Microsoft doesn't value this property very highly and has no corporate level strategic plan to crack this issue.  (And with all due respect to Jeff, downloading two hundred megabytes of program to view a 68k document is like being asked to walk five miles to a grocery store to fetch an apple.  More annoying than helpful.)

    Here’s the one argument I have and then I’m going back home.  Ubiquity breeds adoption.  I have literally turned hundreds of documents into pdf’s because everyone has the viewer.  I believe I’ve received exactly one .pub doc in twenty years because Microsoft doesn’t have a viewer for its program.  Make a viewer, make the program more ubiquitous, and sell more programs.  I think it’s that simple.  If Microsoft Publisher had a viewer, I’d already have it.  In closing I get to point out the irony of being sent to an Adobe solution from a Microsoft website.  

  72. Matt says:

    No, think you'll find once i buy a MAC i will be heavily out of pocket for something that should have cost a fraction of the price, will break quicker (have worked in a number of offices where they only use MACs, internal hardware always needed replacing), not be able to do half the things i want and like to do on computers and own something that wasn't as good or as efficient as the item i could have bought cheaper.

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