Working with Publisher Wizards and Templates

Note: This is the second in a series of entries that aim to introduce experienced programmers to the Publisher object model. The first entry covered creating Web pages programmatically. You can read it here.

Publisher has a different concept of templates and wizards than other Office programs, such as Word. In Publisher, both terms refer to publication types on which you can base your publications, with important differences:

· Publication wizards are pre-defined publications that come bundled with Publisher. These publication wizards contain text boxes and other design elements that you can customize, and to which you can add your content, in the publications you create using them. Publication wizards also contain design automation options that enable you to quickly change the lay out and design of your publication.

· Templates are user-created publications that you can save to use as the basis for creating other publications. If you save the template to a specific location, Publisher then makes it available as a template on the New Publication task pane in the application interface.

Let’s examine each of these in detail.

Using Wizards in Publisher 2003

Publication wizards are one of the most powerful and versatile features in Microsoft® Office Publisher 2003. As mentioned above, wizards are pre-defined publication templates included as part of Publisher. Wizards enable you to quickly generate professional-looking publications in a wide range of formats, from invitations to flyers to catalogs to websites.

When you create a publication using a wizard, Publisher populates the new publication with design elements based on the wizard type and design you choose. You can add your content to these elements, as well as customize the elements as you desire. You can change the appearance of the publication later by simply specifying a different design available for that wizard. The wizard then morphs the publication to adhere to that design scheme.

In Publisher, morphing refers to an object’s ability (be it a shape, page, or entire publication) to change its appearance based on the user’s choice of design. Choose a different design, and Publisher automatically updates the object according to the design chosen.

Some wizards generate multi-page publications, with different content and design options depending on the page. For example, a newsletter may include different design elements present on the front cover than on the interior pages.

Unlike templates in applications such as Word, you cannot access or alter publication wizards themselves. However, you can create a user-defined template based on a publication wizard. In such a case, you can alter the template in any way you like, such as adding VBA code to the publication, and the template retains the morphing and other functionality of the wizard on which it is based. For more information, see “Working with Templates.”

The Publisher object model lets you extend the design flexibility in publication wizards even farther by automating the generation and customization of publications based on wizards. Any publication created based on a publication wizard template has a Wizard object as the child of its Document object. If you create a publication based on a multi-page wizard template, the individual pages in the publication may have wizard properties that apply to only that page. In such a case, each Page object in the publication contains its own Wizard object as well. For more information on programmatically working with publication wizards, see Creating and Customizing Wizard Publications in Publisher 2003.

But not only do publications and pages have wizard properties, but shapes do as well. Any shape that Publisher adds to the default appearance of a publication based on a wizard design has properties that uniquely identify it. Publisher uses these properties to keep track of shapes that ‘belong’ to the wizard design, as opposed to any custom shapes the user might add to the publication later. For more information, see Identifying wizard shapes in a publication.

Note Publisher also includes group wizard shapes, which are related to, but independent from, the publication and page-level wizards. Group wizard shapes are pre-defined group shapes, such as calendars, coupons or Web navigation bars, that contain design automation options. Unlike wizard publications, you can add group wizard shapes to any publication, whether or not it’s based on a publication wizard. Also, You set the design of each group wizard shape individually. For more information, see Working with group wizard shapes.

Creating and Using Templates in Publisher 2003

You can also create templates in Publisher. Templates are especially useful if you create certain publications, such as newsletters, flyers, or postcards, over and over again. Templates enable you to design master publications that reflect your company’s brand and identity; you can then use that template to create new publications, adding only the information that is unique to each publication.

Publisher templates are simply publications saved to a specific user directory. Each time you launch a new instance of Publisher, the application makes the publications in that directory available as template on the New Publication task pane.

To create a template, save your publication to the following user directory:

Drive:\Documents and Settings\userName\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

Where Drive represents the computer drive letter, and userName represents the name of the user to whom you want to make this publication available as a template. If you want to make the template available to multiple users on the same computer, you must save the template to the above location in each user’s directory.

Publisher displays available templates under Templates in the New Publications task pane. Because Publisher loads the available templates on launch, you need to open a new instance of Publisher to for the new template to be available. Even then, the new template is not displayed in any instances of Publisher launched before the template was saved.

If you do not have any templates saved, the Templates folder does not appear on the New Publication task pane.

To save a publication as a template programmatically, use the Document.SaveAs method, specifying the file location above in the Filename parameter. This is directly equivalent to selecting Save as type: Publisher Template in the Save As dialog box.

The following function saves the specified document as a template:

Function SaveAsTemplate(pub As Document, fileName As String)

  With pub

   .SaveAs fileName:= _

   "C:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates\" _

      & fileName, _

      Format:=pbFilePublication, _


  End With

End Function

You can specify custom categories to group your templates. The custom categories are listed under Templates in the New Publications task pane. To do this, specify a category for the publication before you save it as a template. From the File menu, select Properties. On the Summary tab, enter a value for Category. If you do not specify a category for your template, Publisher displays it in a category named My Templates by default.

Note There is no way to programmatically set a publication's properties, such as Category, using the Publisher object model.

Any Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code contained in the template gets copied into any publications you later create based on the template.

If you create a template based on a publication wizard, any publications you create based on the template retain the design automation functionality of the wizard.

Publications based on a template retain no link to that template. Any changes you later make in the template are not propagated to any publications previously created from that template.

Programmatically, work with templates as you would with any other Publisher files. There are no object model objects or properties specific to templates. For example, you cannot create a publication based on a template using the NewDocument method. In such a case, use the Document.Open method to open the template file directly, and then use the Document.SaveAs method to create a new publication based on the template.

Making Macros Available in Publisher Templates

As mentioned above, you cannot edit any of the publication wizards included in Publisher. You can, however, create a template based on a publication wizard. This template could include any code you wanted to make available for publications based on that publication wizard.

However, because users employ a number of publication wizards to create a wide range of publication types, in many cases it’s not practical to make your macro code available through creating templates. If you had particular macro functionality you wanted to make available for all publication types, you would have to create a separate template with that code for each publication wizard. In such cases, it’s best to just create an add-in for Publisher and deploy your code that way.