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Newsletters with Publisher

Create an email newsletter to stay in touch with customers

Until version 2003 was introduced, Microsoft Publisher was not a natural choice for designing websites. Before the current release Publisher was indeed able to save documents as web pages - but only by converting everything (including text) to images, which is not exactly an efficient technique and doesn't help if you have to edit the web page subsequently.

With Publisher 2003, Microsoft completely revamped Publisher's HTML tools. Now it's easy to make a good looking website, and the pages are editable. And if you want to produce an email newsletter, you'll be hard pushed to find a better tool.

Open New Publication in the Task Pane on the left (if it's not there already, click the tiny down arrow at the top of the Task Pane. If the Task Pane itself isn't there, go to View and click on Task Pane). In the New Publication list, select Websites and Email then Email. Click on the various subcategories to display sample templates on the right.

Choose a template that approximates what you want. As with all Publisher templates you can customise it with your own choice of colours, graphics, text styles and so on.

You will see that some information on the template is already filled in, based on what you have in your Personal Information Profile (find out what that is by going to Edit | Personal Information). Other elements are given placeholders, some of which have Wizards available if you right-click on them - the logo placeholder, for instance.

Try right-clicking on that and select Wizard For This Object. This will give you a choice of Logo Designs (readymade logo styles) and Logo Options (to customise the design). If you want to insert your own logo, click on Choose Picture and browse to find your image. When it's imported, the picture will be automatically resized to fit within the logo placeholder.

Replace the placeholder text and graphics with your own material in the usual way. The newsletter templates have a 'remove your name' text box at the bottom where you can add the relevant hyperlinks (right-click and select Hyperlink).

Once you are happy with how the email looks, save the file. When you're ready to despatch the newsletter, go to File | Send E-Mail and select Send This Page as Message. A header will be added to the top of your newsletter where you can add the email addresses and subject line. Click the Send button and you are done.

Unless you are sending to a small group of people who don't mind their addresses being shown to the world, it would be professional to put your recipients into the BCC: field (this could be individual addresses or an Outlook distribution list). Put a dummy name in the To: field - you could create a new alias for yourself as list@yourcompany.co.uk - and that way noone sees who else has received the newsletter.

If you prefer to use a third-party mailing list manager, just save your newsletter from Publisher as a web page. Then tell your mailing program to use the saved document as an HTML-formatted message.

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What next?

We've produced a number of printed How to... guides, showing you how to do new things with Microsoft software. You can download or order them free of charge from our download centre.

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