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More tips for Microsoft Publisher

Layout pages precisely, grouping objects and more

Nudge nudge

For very precise positioning of objects on the page, use Publisher's Nudge option. Select the object you need to move and use Arrange | Nudge to prod it in the relevant direction (up, down, right, left). Or use the keyboard alternative - hold down Alt, press the appropriate arrow key.

You can change the increment of movement by going to Tools | Options | Edit. The final option on that screen is the one you want; although it says it applies to the arrow keys, the changes you make here will also apply to Arrange | Nudge.

If you want really precise positioning, right-click the object and select the Format option. Click the Position tab and you'll be able to enter specific numerical values to position the object.

This is absolutely the best way to make sure things will be laid out correctly. Trying to position objects by eye on your monitor can be deceptive (because of the relatively large size of the pixels used to display objects) and the results can be surprisingly ugly. Do the maths and enter precise positioning if your design elements have to be positioned exactly.

You can also enter specific values in the Size tab - select Lock aspect ratio if you want one dimension to change proportionately when you alter the other.

The big opening

When you open a document, Publisher automatically resizes it so that a whole page is in view. If you want to see it at 100% magnification, press F9. Press F9 again and it will zoom back to your original setting.

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Grouping elements

After you have a section of your layout positioned very precisely it might be a good idea to select all the items (hold down the shift key and click on each one) and then group them together using Arrange | Group Objects or (Ctrl + Shift + G).

This will lock them together in their relative positions. This is especially useful if you will need to duplicate this configuration somewhere else in your layout; copy and paste the group to another page and you will have perfect consistency throughout.

Keep that object still while resizing

Sometimes when you resize an object on the page, you'll inadvertently move it out of position. To keep the centre of an object in the same place in your publication while you're resizing it, click to select the object: then hold down Ctrl while you change the size. Release the mouse button before you release Ctrl.

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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