Five tips for using Publisher 2010's high-end typography features

With its support for advanced OpenType characteristics, Publisher 2010 takes typography to the next level. See how to use these features to achieve some highly sophisticated formatting.

If you regularly create brochures, flyers, invitations, or reports, you already know that there's a lot you can do in Publisher 2010 to get everything to look just the way you want on the page. But you can take things up a notch. For the most sophisticated effects, go all out with the advanced typography features available for OpenType fonts. Here are a few things to try.

1: Choose a fancy font

You can do all sorts of things with type in Publisher 2010 -- that's part of the fun of the program. Whether you want to change the style or size, add color or shadow, or apply special effects like embossing or outlining, you can format the fonts to look just about any way you want. Now the latest version of Publisher (as well as Word) adds typographic controls for OpenType fonts. These fonts include special characteristics that enable you to change the look and feel of your text, creating many personalities with a single font.

Of the default fonts that come with Publisher 2010, only Gabriola supports all the special characteristics we'll look at here. To use these special font features, format a heading using the Gabriola font. With the text selected, click the Text Box Tools Format contextual tab. Now, click Stylistic Sets and scroll down the list. You can also click the dialog launcher in the lower-right corner of the Typography group and make your font choices in the Font dialog box (Figure A). If a feature isn't supported for the font type you selected, the item will be grayed out.

Figure A

You can choose high-end typographic features in the Font dialog box.

2: Make your numbers stand out

If you choose a font that supports OpenType features, you can also apply number styles to vary the look on your page. The Tabular style spaces numbers evenly, while the Proportional style gives each number only the amount of space it needs. You can also use the Old Style or Lining option to change the way the numbers align on the text baseline. Old Style gives your numbers a funky, out-of-alignment look that works well for special effects or fun headings. Lining makes all the numbers the same height, which is well suited for forms and tables. To access these options, choose Number Style in the Typography group on the Text Box Tools Format contextual tab.

3: Format with a flourish

My favorite new typography feature is Stylistic Sets, available in the Typography group of the Text Box Tools contextual tab. When you're working with an OpenType font, click the arrow to display a gallery of different styles you can apply to the selected text in your document. Figure B shows the gallery available for the Gabriola font. The farther down the list you go, the larger the swirls on the serifs. This is a fun look for special headings or phrases.

Figure B

Stylistic sets offer various personalities of the same font.

4: Polish up your type with ligatures

When the news first started appearing during product development that Publisher 2010 and Word 2010 would support OpenType ligatures, many of us headed for our favorite online dictionary to see just what that meant. If you work professionally with type or graphic design, you already know that a typographic ligature is two or more characters that are treated together as a single unit -- for example, the letters ae and ff. When you turn on ligatures for OpenType fonts in Publisher, you gain fine control over the spacing of the characters in your words, which can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your type.

5: Go fancy in the future with OpenType

The Gabriola font that comes with Publisher 2010 opens the door to all the high-end typography effects we've looked at here. But you may want to install additional OpenType fonts that will enable you to achieve even more stylistic lift. Be on the lookout for font add-ins such as the Ascender Font Pack, which offers 14 fonts that support advanced OpenType features ($14.99).

Katherine Murray is a technology writer and the author of more than 60 books on a variety of topics, ranging from small business technology to green computing to blogging to Microsoft Office 2010. Her most recent books include Microsoft Office 2010 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2010), Microsoft Word 2010 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2010), and Microsoft Word 2010 Inside Out (Microsoft Press, 2010). You can reach Katherine through her blog, BlogOffice or by emailing