Whatever happened to …

… Microsoft Publisher?

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about this wonderful program and how much of an impact that it had on the goal of effective computer use in Ontario schools.

It was one of the earliest pieces of software licensed under the OSAPAC process by the Ministry of Education.  It arrived in a time when WordPerfect ruled and long text documents with perhaps a piece or two of Clipart put the finishing touches on it!

With the advent of Microsoft Publisher, digital publishing reached new heights in our school district.   People that were a little hesitant to use the computer as a digital typewriter got very excited with the ease that you could create very polished looking documents.  The concept of “documents” just exploded with posters, banners, etc. all created with this powerful tool.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I think we entered the Microsoft Publisher game with version 2.  There was an update to version 3 and the OSAPAC website lists versions 2000 and 2002 as the last licensed.  This software was one of the most favourite applications in Ontario classrooms.  With teacher takehome rights, documents and banners never looked better.  Can anyone remember Print Shop?

In my district, largely Windows based, it changed everything.  In terms of the writing process, the word processor and the idea of going digital was the ultimate goal.  Now, with Publisher available, so many other things could be done to really dress up a document.  It actually became my personal go-to tool for creation of things.

There’s a huge list of versions of the program.  It certainly changed, evolved, and became more popular over the years.

At the same time, though, word processing became so much more powerful as well.  You can easily do the sorts of things that were once solely for Publisher now with your favourite word processor whether it be computer or web based.  But, Publisher is still around and you can get it with an Office 365 subscription.  I wonder how many do though.  Once, it was the go-to application for the best looking documents.  Now, I wonder how many people even think of it as an option with the power of modern word processors.

How about you and your thoughts about Microsoft Publisher?

  • Were you or are you a user of Microsoft Publisher?
  • Are there things that you do in a publishing program that you can’t do in a word processor?
  • Can you name any other desktop publishing program that you’ve used?
  • If you’re an Ontario teacher, you answer better be yes to this one – have you ever decorated a bulletin board with the product generated by Microsoft Publisher?
  • Is Microsoft Publisher on your school’s computer image?
  • In a world of Chromebooks and iPads, what does desktop publishing mean?
  • What’s your opinion of a desktop publishing program in a world where so much is published to the web instead of to printer?

I’d be very interested in your thoughts.  Please share them below.

The complete list of “Whatever happened to …” articles appears here.  It’s not too late to jump in with your thoughts.

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

4 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …”

  1. Lots of great questions here, Doug! I must admit that I didn’t use Publisher a lot. What I used to love were the templates for newsletters: they always made my newsletter look so much prettier. But now I have a blog and share daily instead of monthly, so a newsletter went by the wayside in favour of more up-to-date news. I wonder if others have found the same thing.

    I then moved from using a Mac to using a ChromeBook, and Publisher is no longer accessible. In fact, it drives me crazy when people send me Publisher files, as I can’t open or print them. Word is more accessible through GoogleDocs. Thank goodness for the later versions of Publisher that allow you to save work as a PDF. No more trying to find a program that converts!

    I think I used Publisher so little that I never decorated a bulletin board with Publisher work. (Oh gasp! The horror. 🙂 ) I often used Word for this. Now I’m curious to hear if I was the only one.

    Thanks, once again, for taking us on a weekly trip down memory lane!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the comment, Aviva. I think that your observation is also a comment on the way things were. It used to be that you were a “Windows Board” or a “Macintosh Board” and so interchangeable documents were relatively easy. You just had to make sure that you had the same version of the program.

    Now, I think most districts have evolved to the point where you see a wide variety of platforms and the ability to exchange information becomes increasingly different. As you note, we now have blogs and wikis to easily and openly exchange information. Perhaps another reason for the demise of specialized software.

    But, let’s continue the fight against Comic Sans as anything other than great for a title!


  3. Okay Doug … I’m going to open up a whole other can of worms, but I have to. I love Comic Sans. As a K educator, finding a type face that makes letters the way they are accustomed to seeing them, really helps with beginning readers and writers. I use Courier often for the same reason. Then as the year progresses and students are more comfortable with the alphabet, I introduce other fonts to show how letters can be formed differently but are the same. Earth-shattering news. 🙂 I wonder how many primary educators embrace Comic Sans just as I do.

    I couldn’t help myself here … 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My wife uses it all the time for things for her school. Sometimes she uses it for things I would go to Word for but she’s much more familiar with Publisher than I am. I still use it for brochures and the like. Just not as often as I used to.


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