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I Wouldn't Touch That Task with a 10-Foot Banner: Creating Banners in MS Publisher

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Want to make a banner that says "Happy Birthday," "Welcome to the Conference," or the ever-popular "Hey, Bill. We're Out of Toner!"? It's not impossible to make a banner using Microsoft Word, just as it's not impossible to open a can of beer with a screwdriver. But Microsoft Publisher has templates for every occasion and is the better tool for the job. Herb Tyson shows users of all levels how to create banners (up to 20 by 20 feet), step by step, using Microsoft Publisher 2003.
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It's not impossible to make a banner using Microsoft Word, just as it's not impossible to open a can of beer with a screwdriver. You'll have an easier time of it, however, if you choose the right tool for the job. Using Word, if you need to print a 10-foot banner, you can meticulously work at choosing a font size that works, experiment in Print Preview until things look exactly right, and then perhaps waste a ton of paper when you discover that looking right isn't always the same thing as being right.

Or, if you have Microsoft Publisher, you can take advantage of the fact that someone else has already done all of the trial-and-error for you, and you can use the ready-to-go banner wizard. If you don't have Publisher, I should tell you that there are some templates on Microsoft's website for making banners using Word. However, they're not nearly as flexible as Publisher's Banner Wizard. After you finish compromising and experimenting to make the Word banner work, you easily will have used up most of an afternoon, and you'll be searching through your contacts list to find someone who has Publisher.

Is Your Toolbox Empty?

If you economized when you installed Office, you might not have installed all those extra templates and wizards. As a general rule, however—assuming you have enough disk space—a better decision often is to install everything. Then, once you've had a chance to survey the lot, you can remove the parts you'll never use.

So, our first stop on the banner quest is to make sure that you have what you need. If you didn't install Publisher's Banner Wizard, do it now. If you did, then jump down to the "Waltzing with the Wizard" section.

Make sure that your Microsoft Office or Publisher media (CD or DVD) is standing by, and choose Start, Control Panel, Add Or Remove Programs, Microsoft Office 2003. Click the Change button. In Maintenance Mode Options, select Add or Remove Features and then click Next. In Custom Setup, click to enable Choose Advanced Customization Of Applications and then click Next.

In Advanced Customization, expand Microsoft Office Publisher and then expand Wizards. To install only the Banner Wizard elements, click the drop-down box next to Banners and choose Run All From My Computer. To take my advice and install all the Publisher Wizards, click the drop-down box next to Wizards, and choose Run All From My Computer, as shown in Figure 1. Finally, click Update, and insert the appropriate media when prompted—following the onscreen instructions to complete the operation.

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