Markzware recently spoke with Bruce Harris, lead graphic designer at AlphaGraphics in Cary, North Carolina. He shares print workflow challenges he faces, including how best to deal with Microsoft Publisher files from customers:
Markzware: Tell us a bit about your role with AlphaGraphics.
Harris: We design largely for print, with a fast-paced, production-oriented, print workflow. We design everything from corporate identities, all the way down to self-inking stamps. We also provide prepress services for client-supplied files.
Markzware: Do you advise your customer about how best to prepare their files, about what constitutes a ‘print-ready’ file?
Harris: Yes, we are in the habit of guiding the customer by suggesting file formats, as well as many other tips. We have documentation in place that we can hand out, or email, as needed. There are also times when we advise the client to allow us to create the files from scratch.
Markzware: How prevalent are Microsoft Publisher files these days? If you had to estimate the number of Microsoft Publisher files that come in, what would be the percentage in an average month?
Harris: About 1.5% of the files that come through us are Publisher files. That just noses out Pagemaker and QuarkXPress. I would like to point out that although we receive a very small number of Publisher files in a given month, they tend to consume a grossly disproportionate amount of prep time. So, especially regarding jobs destined for the press, Pub2ID is an invaluable time saver.
Markzware: You mention Pub2ID, which is a tool we created to help graphic professionals convert Microsoft Publisher to Adobe InDesign files. It enables them to work in Adobe InDesign, ever growing in popularity. For anyone who has tried to work with a Microsoft Publisher file, with the intention of ultimately printing it, they’ll know how difficult a task it is, and often requires simply rebuilding the entire file in InDesign, for example. Have you found that to be the case?
Harris: Publisher is designed to make layout simple documents as easy as possible, with little to no effort put into the tail end. Actually getting those documents into production in any consistent way is a winding path fraught with pitfalls. Although it is, indeed, possible to make a Publisher file work, the same results could be achieved in InDesign in a fraction of the time.
Markzware: Have you personally used our Pub2ID tool to convert Publisher files? And, if so, what’s your critique of the tools? Did you find it reliable, useful, seamless, easy to use?
Harris: I have. Most of the Publisher files we receive, we ultimately convert to InDesign, anyway. After using Pub2ID a few times now, I am very pleased. Each time I use it, I’d estimate that it saves me approximately 15 minutes to an hour. I especially like how it exports the images to a separate folder automatically.
Harris: Certainly! Pub2ID will easily pay for itself within the first 10 uses. I have recommended it highly to dozens of designers already!
Publishing with Microsoft Publisher Conversion Solution