The Publisher Technical Beta is Released!


Starting today, people who are part of the Office 2010 Technical Beta and Office 2010 Technical Preview programs start getting access to our first public bits for Publisher 2010. This is good news for you as a reader of this blog, whether or not you are getting the bits, because it means we can start talking about the work we’ve done and the big improvements you will see in Pub 2010.


Today, I’ll give a quick overview of what is really a pretty major release. I’m sure it will prompt as many questions as it answers. Let us know in the comments what you think and help us decide what details to fill in next.


So what’s in Publisher 2010?The new look for Publisher 2010 


Some of the things we are really excited about are:


        The Office ribbon (Did you notice it above?)


        Lots of enhancements to the core document workspace


        Some great picture enhancements


        Cool new typography features


        An integrated Print and Print Preview experience


I’ll introduce each of these areas in this post, and I expect that we’ll get into more details on these and other areas with new stuff to share in coming weeks.


The Office ribbon


One of the questions we have been asked a ton since the release of Office 2007 was when Publisher would get the ribbon that some of the Office apps introduced that release. Now we are able to say that we totally agree with all of you who have been telling us that the ribbon is a natural for Pub. Not only are we now able to deliver core experience consistency with other Office apps, but we can give you live previews of formatting changes, visual galleries of effects, contextual controls for your selected objects and a rethought organization of the commands that accumulate over many versions of ribbons and toolbars.


Renovating the core workspace


Overhauling the Publisher experience goes much farther than just the ribbon. We took it also as an opportunity to modernize the interactions of objects on pages. You will see a new page navigation experience (showing page previews like PowerPoint, and page spreads in a Publisher-specific twist) and you won’t see a lot of on-page helper UI until you need it. Now outlines on objects only appear on hover or when an object is selected. Page margin guides can appear as you drag the edge of an object near them and disappear when they would just be a distraction. Aligning objects with each other is made easier by automatic alignment guides that appear only when relevant. Worth special mention are the improvements made to picture manipulation and text formatting.


Document-friendly picture manipulation


The guiding principles in our pictures area were to make working with pictures more direct and more document-friendly. The improvements are very visible with picture insertion, with picture pan and crop and with pictures on shapes. It is hard to explain all of this without a bunch of visuals, so we’ll get an expanded post on picture enhancements up here soon.


Typography


Shapes, pictures and text are the basic building blocks of the materials we all create in Publisher. So in addition to making it easier to align shapes on a page and to insert and manipulate pictures, we also gave text some love this version. The techy umbrella for these features is that they all relate to taking advantage of cool features in modern (“OpenType”) fonts. If you start with a font like Calibri, Cambria, Candara or Corbel, you’ll see that text just looks subtly better than in previous versions because common letter pairs are replaced with standard ligatures, the letter shapes drawn by the type designer for the specific case of the letter combination. See, for example, the automatic replacement of f, f and i with ffi in the second ‘Office’ here:No ligature vs ligature in text


Some of the other new text features are off by default but lend themselves well to exploration with the new galleries and live preview. Stylistic sets with the new font, Gabriola, give effects like the one I showed in the first picture in this post.


Print


Print and Print Preview have joined forces. With Publisher 2010, there is no more separate Print Preview command. (I guess we always had mixed feelings about Print Preview, since it seems like Pub was one of the last Office apps to add it, back in 2002.) Instead, you now get all the richness of Print Preview as part of the Print experience. This means that when you change the way your document is set up to print (such as the way postcards are laid out on sheets of paper) you get a big, rich preview of your result. We’ve even added a feature to simulate holding your two-sided document up to the light to see the front and back at the same time, as they will print.


Beta Administrivia


This is a beta. All the usual disclaimers apply. There will definitely be things that change between the beta and release. So don’t take anything that you see here or in any beta as the final word. Do take it all, however, as an indication of the direction we are headed in and let us know what you think.


No, I can’t get you on this beta. All of our slots for this beta are allocated. Unless something changes Office-wide to open up a bunch of new slots, you either have an invitation to the beta coming soon to you in email or you will have to wait until the next beta to get your hands on the bits. When we have information we can share on access to the next beta, we’ll post it on this blog.


More to come


I hope you’ve found something interesting to watch for in the coming release of Publisher. We’ll have more details on all of these things as the beta progresses. If you are on the beta, give the product a try and give us feedback. We’ll also be conducting a conversation here that’s open to everyone.


Jeff Bell, for all of us on the Publisher team


About the contributor:  Jeff Bell is the Group Program Manager for the Publisher & Text Services team in Office.


 

Comments (25)

  1. Jan Kučera says:

    Typography? Great, absolutely amazing improvement for me! No longer I need WPF to create headings and text. 🙂

    Ribbon? Though I do love ribbon I was not a fan of it for Publisher, but I understand it had to happen.

    But I really hope there is still the possibility to have a floating (or otherwise always visible) measurement panel (actually I hoped it would get some improvements, too). Together with CMYK support, these were the top features of Publisher for me.

  2. Jeff Bell says:

    Jan – Pub does have a measurement toolbar that should behave just as you describe. In Publisher 2007, try View/Toolbars/Measurement. This gives you a dockable floating toolbar. Basic location and dimension information for selected objects is also shown in the bottom right of the Pub window, next to the page navigation control.

    In the Pub 2010 beta, location and dimension information now appears at the left of the status bar at the bottom of the Publisher window. Clicking on that information brings up the same floating, dockable toolbar.

    And Publisher does support both CMYK and Pantone colors, in addition to RGB. It is the only Office app with support for more than RGB colors.

    I’d love to hear more about the ways in which the Office ribbon works better for you in other apps than in Publisher.

  3. gauravkale@vista.aero says:

    Please support real small caps and give us a Publisher Viewer please please this time around.

  4. RickyF says:

    How do I get Publisher 2010? It was not installed as part of the initial technical preview.

  5. Jeff Bell says:

    RickyF –

    Publisher should install as part of the Tech Preview bits, but there are multiple Office 2010 beta and preview programs running in parallel so the best way to resolve this is probably for you to post to the Setup and Install newsgroup for your beta program on Connect.

  6. Jeff Bell says:

    Ricky – to clarify my comment above, there are beta/preview programs for Office 2010 that do not include Publisher, so what you are seeing may be expected based on the program you are in.

  7. Jeff Bell says:

    sevenflavor –

    Good news. True small caps are supported in Publisher 2010. For the rest of you out there who may not know what true small caps are, we’ll explain in more detail (with pictures) in an upcoming post on our new typography features.

  8. Jeff Bell says:

    sevenflavor –

    Ahh, the viewer question again. (See more on this topic on the blog linked from my name above.) For Publisher 2010 as with Pub 2007, there are two good options. If you are sending Pub-created content to someone for viewing, and don’t know if they have Publisher, then you can send as a PDF or XPS document. (No separate download is required to write these formats in Pub 2010.) If you receive a Publisher file and don’t have Publisher, the downloadable Publisher 2007 trial is full-featured until it times out, after which it acts as a read-only viewer.

  9. Jan Kučera says:

    Are there any technical reasons why we don’t have math support in the Publisher when other applications received it? This version would be a good opportunity to catch up with other suite applications…

  10. GTRoberts says:

    @Jeff – can you confirm that EPS file format is still fully supported?

    Pub2007 imports the EPS files I have perfectly and straight away but I cannot import exactly the same EPS files into Pub2010?

    I choose insert picture, select the .eps file and then Pub2010 "does nothing", if I click within the window, it says its not responding but it eventually (about 20 seconds later) returns asking me what format the file I’m trying to insert listing off the various formats… I select EPS but then Pub2010 reports "An error occured while importing my-file-name".

  11. Jan Kučera says:

    Jeff – thanks for replies. I was just asking to make sure without seeing the applications. 🙂 Now I’m running the beta and I’ve succesfully found what I was hoping.

    As for the ribbon – well I think Publisher requires a bit different style of work than Word, Excel and so on. The ribbon is great when you need to concentrate on specific tasks or have a context, but in Publisher there are tons of quite unrelated features which I was used to access very often, using single click. That’s it I would say. 🙂

  12. Gurny says:

    I’m a past Publisher user who loved the simplicity, but had to move on to InDesign because of the lack of import PDF capabilities.  

    Let’s face: PDF, for now, is the de-facto standard.  It’s mind boggling that a DTP should be able to read it!

    It would also be very nice to support for layers.

  13. Jeff Bell says:

    @GTRoberts –

    No changes to EPS support: should still work as a format for embedding graphics (such as logos) into Publisher. Because Publisher is not a PostScript interpreter (and EPS files are basically a bunch of PostScript instructions) you will get best results when you print to a PostScript printer. In other scenarios, such as display on-screen and printing to other printers, what you are seeing is not the PostScript, but instead the preview image embedded in the EPS. This preview image will be only as good as was created by the non-Publisher source of the EPS.

    If you are on the beta and see things working other than I describe here, please log a bug.

  14. GTRoberts says:

    Thanks Jeff.  Yes, I’m definitely seeing something else 🙂  I cannot import any EPS files at all.

    I have raised a bug/sad face about this and I have also posted a message in the beta forum with an example file that does not import into 2010 but works perfectly with 2007.

    To some degree, hopefully I’m the only one experiencing this problem 🙂

  15. Jeff Bell says:

    @Jan (re: math)

    It is actually the Text Services part of my team (Publisher & Text Services) that is at the core of the work to get math into other Office applications this release. (The functionality is new for 2010 in OneNote, PowerPoint, SmartArt and shapes in Excel.) This was a prioritization decision for Publisher rather than an oversight. There were both cost/difficulty and scenario reasons for focusing the new math support where we did. For PowerPoint, the scenario of presenting the results you are publishing in Word is very compelling. For OneNote, the academic note-taking scenarios and the ability to take advantage of the new Win7 Math Input Panel were compelling. There are some good scenarios for math in SmartArt and Excel as well, but these also benefit from shared code with PowerPoint in the text area.

    Publisher has less of a focus on higher-academia and the math feature would not have been cheap to add this version. It is something that I expect we will consider again next version. Until then, copy and paste of math (as a picture) from Word or Powerpoint is going to be the best option in Publisher.

  16. Jeff Bell says:

    @GTRoberts –

    I see your EPS sample file in the newsgroup. We’ll investigate. Thanks for reporting this.

  17. GTRoberts says:

    Thanks Jeff! Greatly appreciated.

  18. Jeff Bell says:

    @Jan (re: ribbon)

    Thanks for the ribbon feedback. This is a big topic that we’ll address here in its own post in the next few weeks.

  19. Meemee says:

    Does Publisher 2010 able to align text within shapes, such as circle, ellips, freeform, so that paragraps within a shape is aligned to the edge of the shape?, since what i know is that in previous version it is only able to align text within (square) box.

  20. pubteam says:

    Meemee –

    The Publisher 2010 Technical Preview behaves like other versions of Publisher when wrapping text inside a shape. As you note, this means that text is within a rectangle inside the shape rather than following the contours. Since Publisher will tight-wrap text _outside_ a shape, there is a (moderately complicated) workaround for this that Mary Sauer, a Publisher MVP, has written up on her website: http://msauer.mvps.org/more_graphics.htm, scroll down to Text Inside a Circle.

    I recognize that we could make this a lot easier and more obvious. Perhaps in a future version.

    Jeff Bell

  21. Quintin says:

    How do I get an invite ID…? Publisher is something i use everyday and i’d love to be able to contribute!

  22. Eric says:

    I hope you will fix some of the long standing bugs in the next version – one of the most obvious and irritating being that text boxes containing only one line of text never flag an overflow if too small and brutally chop the text off.

    Also, what’s happening on the web page generation front? Can you dispense with the vml code and make the html code standards compliant please? (Or alternatively, maybe just ditch the web export feature entirely, which would probably make everyone’s life much easier!)

  23. Dr Lubna Almenoar says:

    How do I post my research articles in Publishers Technical Beta?

  24. GTRoberts says:

    @Eric – I agree about the text boxes… but I disagree about the "html code standards". Just which of the many hundreds of html code standards do you recommend they support? The last officially sanctioned ‘standards’ were something like 8 years ago!

  25. gardens34 says:

    Are you going to address the MS Publisher’s incompatibility with IE8?

    Look at my web pages. It makes no sense. I purchased the MSP 2007 last week as the MSP2003 was missing the navigations bars. That was returned on the 2007 but now the pages are messed up. The HTML banners are out of place, The HTML paypal buttons are moved to wherever. Even on the pages with NO HTML codes… MS should stop selling 2007 fo provide a fix now. I’m out $169.00 at Best Buy…

    What is the answer? First address these issues with IE8 in 2003 and 2007 editions and then come out with the 2010, please.