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How to Open Pub Files Without Microsoft Publisher

So you have just received a .pub file, but you do not have access to Microsoft Publisher (the right program to access those kinds of files). You are probably wondering what to do.

There are a few alternative ways to open your .pub files. Here are some methods to consider.

Alternative Ways to Open Pub Files

Although you may find it much easier to open your .pub file using Microsoft Publisher, it does not mean that this is your only option. In the absence of a Microsoft Publisher program, there are alternative viewers and tools that can give you access to your document.

Tools like LibreOffice Draw are a perfect alternative. You could also change the format into something universal that gives you multiple forms of access. Here are some step-by-step guidelines for the different methods you can use.

Method 1: Get a Trial Version

To save yourself the trouble, you could opt for a free trial version of Microsoft Publisher. With this method, you can easily open, edit and transfer your .pub document. Here is how to do it.

  1. Using your Web browser, go to the Microsoft Publisher resources page.
  2. Click on “Try Free for 60 days”.
  3. Fill in your details and click on “Create Your Account.”
  4. Follow the prompts on the website and download the software. Once the download is complete, the installation wizard will appear with further instructions.
  5. Follow the instructions displayed on the installation wizard and install Publisher.
  6. You can now open your .pub file, edit and view it as you please.

Method 2: Convert Using Web Tools

Another way to access your PUB file without using Microsoft publisher is to use Web converting tools. These tools will allow you to convert your file into a format that is accessible via other software. Converting your PUB file using Web tools is pretty simple.

  1. Open your internet browser and find free online conversion sites. You can use options such as PublishertoPDF.com, BCL’s PDF Online, or Zamzar to convert your file to PDF.

    Zamzar online file conversion home page

  2. Click on Browse or Choose File. This allows you to select the file you want to upload and convert.
  3. Fill in the details as required. You will need to give your email address, since the converted document will be sent to the email you provide.
  4. Click on Upload to move our PUB file onto the server. The conversion process may take some time, ranging from minutes to hours, based on the length of your document and how complex your file may be.

    Uploading and convert files from pub to word window on Zamzar

  5. Once the conversion is complete, go to your email. Here you will find instructions on how to access your converted file.
  6. Download your file and open it whenever you need it.

    Download converted file on Zamzar

Note that you can use any other conversion tools that are available to you to convert your PUB document into a PDF format. Advanced tools like Zamzar, on the other hand, can convert your files into various other formats of your choice, such as:

  • DOC: Microsoft Word document
  • PNG: Portable network graphic
  • TXT: Text document
  • HTML: HyperText Markup Language
  • PCX: Paintbrush bitmap image

Creating Compatible Files Using Microsoft Publisher

You could save your colleagues the trouble of converting PUB files by creating them in a universal format. Consider the following methods of creating pub files.

Method 1: Create HTML Files

One of the most universal file formats you can use for your publisher files is HTML. Using HTML, you can share the files with your recipient with ease or post them online for viewing. You can save your publication in HTML by following these simple steps:

  1. Select the File tab.
  2. Click on Export.
  3. Choose Publish HTML.
  4. Here, you could either save your document as a Web Page (which is the HTML format) or as a Single File Web page (an MHTML).
  5. You can then select the Publish HTML button. A Save As dialogue box will pop up.
  6. Name your file and click Save.

Please note that there is a difference between HTML and MHTML. Whereas MHTML saves your file as a single document containing your documents in an embedded form, HTML creates a folder containing separate components of your file.

Method 2: Create PDF Files

Saving your publisher file in PDF format will allow your recipients to access it through any PDF reader that they have. Here are the appropriate steps to take when transforming your publisher file to PDF.

  1. While still on your publisher document, click on File, then on Export.
  2. On the Export panel, click on Create PDF Document, then on Create PDF.

    Microsoft Publisher Export option on main menu

  3. Rename your file as you desire.

    Save as dialogue widow on Microsoft Publisher

  4. Change the format on the Save As options to PDF format.
  5. Click on Options and select the most suitable publishing options for your needs.

    Options dialogue page on Microsoft Publisher

  6. Click on the OK button, then on Publish.

When saving your file in PDF format, be on the lookout for the various options and quality preferences.

  • The commercial press is best for larger files that require extremely high-quality files.
  • High-quality Printing is suitable for desktop printing.
  • Standard is an option that works best for your online distribution through emails.
  • Minimum size is the lowest quality format and is primarily suitable for online viewing.

Method 3: Saving as an XPS File

If you are looking for a format that will retain the formatting options in your publisher document, the XPS is precisely what you need. Saving your document in this format will embed all the details within your document, making it hard for unwarranted editing to occur. This means that it will preserve the integrity of your document even after it gets to your recipient’s computer.

  1. Select the File tab.
  2. Click on the Save and Send option.
  3. Create PDF/XPS.
  4. A dialog box will appear, prompting you to either publish as PDF or XPS. Choose XPS Document.
  5. Select .xps on the Save As pull-down menu.

    Publishing options as PDF or XPS

  6. Name your document appropriately.
  7. Change your publishing options by clicking on Change and select the print option you prefer. You could choose the Minimum size, Standard, or High-quality printing.

    Print options dialogue box on Microsoft Publisher

Creating Printable Files

Another way to make work easier for your file recipients is by creating printable files rather than pub documents. This way, your recipient can easily print out the document without any hassle.

There are several printable formats you can use for your files. Here are some of the most effective ones, with guidelines on how to save your documents in each of the formats.

Method 1: Save Your File as an EPS

You could opt to save your publisher document as an EPS file. This format is especially effective as it is compatible with most graphics programs you will interact with.

However, when using this format, you may need to open your file using an EPS program such as PageMaker. To create an EPS file:

  1. Click on File.
  2. Select Print. This will prompt a print dialogue box.
  3. In the dialogue box, click on Print Setup, then on Properties.
  4. Select Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) as your preferred output format.
  5. Choose the Print to File option. This will print each page at a time.

Please note that a separate file will be formed for every page in the publication.

Method 2: Save Your Document in Postscript Format

To save your Publisher in a postscript format, here are the steps you should follow.

  1. While still on your pub document, click on the File menu.
  2. Click on Save As.
  3. Select the Save As Type drop-down menu to choose the format. Here, click on PostScript.

    Save as dialogue box on Microsoft Publisher

  4. Click on Save.

Following the steps above will save your document in a .ps format. This will only be helpful if your recipient’s printer is capable of accessing and printing PostScript files.

Method 3: Print Your PUB Document Into a PRN

Saving your PUB document as a PRN file is one of the simplest ways to create a printable document.

While on the Print panel of your document, click on the Print to file checkbox. Clicking on this option will create a PRN file instead of printing your document right away. You can then share the file with whoever you want.

Let Nothing Hold You Back

While there may be many options that allow you to access publisher files without the software, installing the software is beneficial. Having the Microsoft Publisher will enable you to create, edit and even print publisher files with ease.

Getting an “Unsupported Format” error can be frustrating. It will probably leave you disoriented for a while. However, you can use either of the methods in this article to access, edit, and even print your publisher files.

Although the methods and steps may vary among different versions and brands of computers, they will serve as a good starting point as you go about accessing .pub files.


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