When the client calls for Microsoft Publisher…

A client calls and they do a regular newsletter. They would like to have you design it – in Microsoft Publisher. Hmm. We don’t use Publisher. We work on Macs, and what we use is Indesign.

But using Publisher makes perfect sense for them. They are on PC’s running Windows, and Publisher is the natural choice.

And above that, they are a not for profit, and would like not to spend money on things they don’t need.

As a designer, what choices do you have?

If you pay the subscription for Microsoft 365, you already own a copy, it just won’t run on your Mac – well, not without installing Windows on it.

Option 1: What if you got them to buy Indesign for Windows? They’ll have to pay $30 / month to use it. And you’ll need to make the fonts work. Also, not all files will convert from Mac to PC perfectly.

Option 2: What if you convert a PDF to Publisher?
Yes that’s an option, there are online converters that will do that. You can design the broad strokes, and then hand to client to continue to use it. If the client isn’t too fussy, and is going to build it all anyway – this could be a good way to go. Build a test file, convert it and sent it to them with a screenshot showing what you expect it to look like. You won’t get to build any paragraph styles with it, but that may be ok for the typical office assistant who just needs some basic branding. Another plus is that everyone avoids more work installing new software.

If I cant find a reliable converted for Mac, then the only solution is to go back to Adobe. $21 US per month. I guess you can turn on and off the subscription, but a bit of pain to remember and manage.

Or Affinity Publisher. One time charge of $70 CAD. Available for Windows and Mac. And there is a free seven day trial.

This is not a bad option. It will make pdf files, which is all this client needs. Over time they will create a series of Affinity Publisher files, but worse came to worse, another designer would have to spend $70 to get access to it. Not the worst thing in the world.

I would trust Affinity way more than Microsoft when it comes to this software.

Here is what I wrote to client:

Hi <client>, 
Since there is no Microsoft Publisher version for Mac, I did some research and for layout software, here are a couple of options: 

1) Adobe Indesign

This is the industry standard software. Every designer will have this software. Files you create will be readable by everyone. But its pricey – Its $21 US every month forever. (Or $252 US per year)

2) Affinity Publisher You get all the tools you’ll likely need, but at a much cheaper price. One time price of $70. You can download a 7 day demo to try it out:  https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/publisher/
Both of these come in Mac and PC versions, so we would be able to send files back and forth to each other if needed. For cost, this may make more sense. 

Let me know if you have any questions about making this decision, 


Need some help on your project? Get in touch!

Kyle Loranger is an Edmonton graphic designer who has been running his own firm since 1994. 

Kyle Loranger Design
#201 10132 124 Street NW,
Edmonton, Alberta T5N 1P6
Phone: (780) 413-9237
Email: kyle@kldesign.com

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