Microsoft Publisher is a fantastic and versatile desktop publishing program but a number of people never use it unless they want to create a brochure. Why? Because they just feel it’s too complicated to use regularly and they would rather stick with Word and PowerPoint. Yet, once you get to grips with it , Microsoft Publisher is a joy to use and will change the way you create resources and plan ideas for the children. One of the first skills I show people is how to add a border and customise it to match their topic – something you cannot do in Word or Powerpoint! I though I’d share it with you.
First, use the rectangle tool to draw the border, using the blue guidelines on the publisher sheet to help us place it correctly. Unfortunately you can only add a border like this to the rectangle shape but that’s pretty good! Once you’ve got the rectangle drawn in the correct place, double click on the rectangle created to bring up the borders menu.
The borders menu gives us an option to use border art and Publisher does come with a certain amount of graphic borders available (just like the border art section in Microsoft Word). The difference here is that you can add to it, and this gives you the ability to match it to your topic. Tudor Rose borders for work on the Tudors or maths symbols for maths displays and worksheets – whatever you want to theme it to can be realised with a little bit of ingenuity.
Next step – click on the create ‘custom button’ to locate the art for your border design. Small simple bitmaps work best (in fact Publisher 2007 only seems to accept bitmaps) and I always make sure I have a selection of correctly themed bitmaps that can be used just for this process. If using your own image take the tick out of the box that says ‘use clip organiser’ (otherwise select from the organiser, making sure you access clip art images and not photos). Now to locate your images…
When I have a theme in mind, whether for school or for other resources, I always make sure I create a suitable image that I can use in a Publisher border. Sometimes the simplest things can also work and it’s worth trying a few ideas your self. You could find a piece of clip art online and convert it into bitmap and resize it so it’s suitable to use. Occasionally I have used Autoshapes to create a simple shape (a star or a circle), used the fill effects to make it look 3D (e.g. I would use 2 colours of the same colour – one lighter than the other – and use the ‘fill from centre’ effect to create a 3D star or a sphere). You really need to have a play to get what you want but any mini themed clip art bitmaps work fine. The only ‘golden rule’ is that square bitmaps (or shapes that could easily fit into a square) work best. Anything too long and narrow or tall and thin is not going to work as well. I also try to avoid anything that’s got lots of detail – it won’t look as good as a small border image and can just look a bit blurry. Oh, and remember, you can’t use a photo either – got to be a simple piece of clip art to look right 🙂
Once you’ve chosen your border image give it a name so you can easily locate it in your border art selection. At this point Publisher will tell you if your image is too complex (this could just mean it is too large) so you may have to try another or resize the one you’ve chosen. I make sure the images I create are appropriately sized but, if you’re having a play at home, it might be a case of trial and error.
So you’ve got your image and it’s suitable. you’ve given your border design a name and you’re just about to apply it – great. Here’s one last tip. Publisher allows you to stretch the images to fit (thus avoiding gaps in your border) or allows you to apply it without stretching. You can preview how each option looks before you apply the border to the document. In my opinion it’s always best to apply the border without stretching the images.
And there we have it. A customised border matching your theme. A skill you can use whether you’re making banners for class displays, worksheets, brochures, posters and much more!