It doesn't matter what your needs are; whether you are a business owner or you are looking to design your own magazine, Microsoft Publisher has all the core tools of efficient page layout software. The Publisher series can integrate with your SkyDrive, so you can easily transfer pictures, images and other files into Publisher. You can add batches of pictures, swap pictures out or simply see what a picture would look like using the preview mode. While we are disappointed with the limited number of preloaded and downloadable templates this application has, this just gives you more freedom to create your own designs for publications.

If you have spent any time using a Microsoft application, the Publisher series won't have any surprises for you from a design standpoint. The ribbon, generally found along the top, has all the tools you need to insert images, adjust any grids or lines, add and change text, and even pick different color swatches. The software's more than 100 swatches will change the text, background color and any borders you have. The colors all match on the color wheel, so you won't have any colors out of place.

This page layout design software series also has versions where grids and lines will automatically lock your text boxes or images, keeping everything properly aligned. You will appreciate the number of effects you can add to any images and graphics. You can choose common effects like bevel and emboss or go a bit deeper by selecting 3D rotation. There are also reflections to give your graphics personality. You can look at every change you make with a live preview tool that gives you an idea of what your project will look like when you send it to print.

Publisher puts a lot of emphasis on creating sharp-looking effects for your text. Under the Format tab or menu, just like in any Microsoft program, you can select from a large number of text effects such as drop shadow, reflection or a bold 3D look. The layout software also has lorem ipsum text replacement. This allows you to add random filler words to see what your publication would look like when you hit publish.

We like the Publisher series for the simplicity of navigating the interface and creating your own publications. The features such as live preview, color swatches and text effects provide an easy way for you to get your projects ready for print as soon as possible. You will have to start from scratch unless you like one of the few templates that come preloaded in Publisher. If you're familiar with Microsoft products and want to stay on the same playing field, we recommend using a program from the Publisher series as your print design software.

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