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I just came across a workflow stumbling block while working on letterheads with Publisher and delivering them as MS Word templates.

There were multiple variations of the letterheads for different departments, which were created as different pages in Publisher in a single document based on common Master Pages

My workflow was as following:

  • Design everything in Publisher
  • Create slices of header and footer for export to PDF
  • Iterate on the design in Publisher until approved by client
  • Place PDF graphics of header and footer in Word, recreate text that needs to be editable and text styles in Word, make color Palettes via PowerPoint (due to Microsoft logic)
  • Last minute fixes: Make changes in Publisher, re-export the slices and replace the images in Word
  • Deliver MS Word templates and color palette files

To my knowledge, this is a pretty standard workflow for doing branding projects where MS Office templates are required.

Since Publisher has no Export persona, I created my slices for my letter header and footer by opening the Publisher document inside Photo.

Trouble is, Designer and Photo only support one page. When opening a document, they always just display Page 1. This can be circumvented by opening the file via the File menu in Publisher. In that case they will open the page that is currently active in Publisher.

For me that meant that I had to go my target page in Publisher, use the menu to open that page in Photo, create my slices, save, close, re-open in Publisher, go to the next page, create my slices and so on.

This is not only very cumbersome, but it also makes it really difficult to copy slices, settings or dimensions to keep them consistent across pages. Imagine that I find that I want my footer slice to be a bit larger after all because one version has some extra elements and I want them to be a consistent size – I'd have to close, re-open the document in Photo via Publisher for every single page and make my edits while remembering the dimensions to type in.

The same applies to exporting the slices after a design change – when not using continuous export (haven't tested if that works from Publisher), this workflow also requires closing and re-opening the file for each page I want to re-export slices from. Imagine a change on a master page with slices on a 15 page document. That's a waste of time and unnecessarily frustrating.

I guess the limit on page navigation was imposed onto Designer and Photo to prevent people from just downloading blank files with multiple pages and using those instead of buying Designer or Photo.

My proposed solution would be to offer page navigation in the Export persona in both Designer and Photo. Then just always return to the default page 1 when going back to the main Photo or Vector persona if Publisher is not installed. Another possibility would be to take it further and globally enable page navigation in Photo and Designer if Publisher is installed, similar to the Vector and Photo personas in Publisher. The last option would be to add the Export persona to Publisher, but I'd say that's probably overkill.

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