Often underestimated and seen as the poor relation in the Office 2013 suite, Publisher is a page design application which can punch well above its weight when putting together attractive, paper-based publications. Publisher saw quite a revamp in the 2010 version, but there's much less to get excited about in PowerPoint 2013, where the changes are mainly tweaks.
These tweaks are things like picture background, which sets an image as the background to a document. Microsoft also claims Picture swap, which swaps the contents or format of two picture frames, as a new feature but, yet again, it was there in Office 2010. As with PowerPoint 2013, you can now import images direct from the Cloud, without saving them first, which speeds up page layout, though you have to be aware of copyright when snaffling material like this. See all: PC Advisor software downloads.
There's an improved range of effects to apply to frames and shapes, including more shadows, glows, bevels and 3D rotations. They're all available from the Picture Tools tab in the ribbon and there are some useful presets, too.
A new output option, called Photo Printing, should make it easier to get whole documents printed via online services. The Export, Pack & Go list now includes a facility to save each page in a document as either a JPG or TIF file, so they can be easily sent for printing, without the service having to be able to handle PUB, or even PDF files.
It was a missed opportunity not to include Word's ability to import PDF files into the new Publisher. A page layout program is, in many ways, a more appropriate tool for importing and editing PDFs than a word processor and, although Publisher can export a .pub file to PDF, it could already do that in the 2010 version and it means you're restricted to creating the file in Publisher.
Like the other applications in Office 2013, Publisher uses SkyDrive as default storage and you can grant access to documents for sharing by simply sending a link to somebody else with Office. Read our full Office 2013 review. For more business software reviews visit Business Advisor.