How to Open PUB Files Without Microsoft Publisher

  1. Explore different ways to share, view, or open PUB files.
  2. Use Microsoft Publisher to create a file to share
  3. Create printable files from publishing documents
  4. Create HTML files (web pages) from publisher files
  5. Create PDFs from Publisher Documents
  6. Use the PUB file if you don’t have Microsoft Publisher
  7. Request a Publisher Trial
  8. Convert Publisher Files to Other Software Formats

Explore different ways to share, view, or open PUB files.

There are currently very few tools, viewers, or shortcuts to open .pub files created by Microsoft Publisher. PUB21D (described below) is a good option. LibreOffice Draw, part of the open source LibreOffice suite, is another tool that can open Publisher files.

In most cases, it’s best to convert the Publisher file to a different, more versatile format. There are several methods you can use to create a shared Publisher file. PDF is always a good choice, but until Publisher 2010, there was no built-in PDF export.

Usually, when you create a document in Microsoft Publisher or another desktop publishing program, others should be able to open and view the file, but have the same program. If not, there are ways you can convert your creation to a format that others can use. If you are the recipient, ask the person who created the file to save it in a format that you can view.

When content, not layout, is paramount — and no graphics are needed — the best way to share information is plain ASCII text. But if you want to include images and keep your layout, plain text isn’t enough.

Use Microsoft Publisher to create a file to share

Previous versions † To share Publisher 2000 (or later) files with Publisher 98 users, save the file in Pub 98 format.

Create printable files from publishing documents

Send the recipient a file to print on their desktop printer. They can’t see it on screen, but they can get a fairly accurate printout. Several methods are available, although they have their drawbacks:

  • postscript † Completely Save as from the menu File and then press postscript v File type to create a .ps file. This is usually used to prepare files for commercial printing, but if the recipient has a PostScript compatible printer, they can print the file.
  • EPS † An EPS file commonly used for commercial printing can be opened in many graphics programs. It usually needs to be placed in another program (such as PageMaker or QuarkXPress) to be printed. You must create a separate EPS file for each page of your publication. Select Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) if the PostScript output format under Printing Preferences > Properties † Select Print to File and then print each page one at a time.
  • PRN † Check box Print to File when printing a publication. Instead of printing to a printer, Publisher creates a .PRN file. The receiver can then send the command DOS copy to send the file directly to the desktop printer (from DOS TIP: enter copy filename.prn lpt1 or lpt2 , depending on where their printer is). Since your printer may not match the recipient’s printer, it may not print as expected. If you regularly exchange files with a particular recipient, obtain a copy of the printer driver for your printer and use it to create your Publisher PRN file.

Create HTML files (web pages) from publisher files

Convert the Publisher document to an HTML file. You can then publish the files online and send the recipients a URL to view the files, or send the HTML files to the recipient so they can view them offline in their browser. If you are sending files, you should also include all images and make sure to set up the file so that all HTML and images are in the same folder so that the recipient can put them anywhere on their hard drive. Or you can use the HTML that Publisher generates and send an HTML email. The exact procedure depends on your email client and how it is received by the recipient depends on the email client they use (and whether they accept HTML email).

Create PDFs from Publisher Documents

Convert your Publisher document to Adobe PDF. Since versions of Publisher prior to Publisher 2007 cannot be exported to PDF, you must use another program, such as Adobe Acrobat Distiller. Create a PostScript file first and then use Adobe Acrobat to create a PDF file. The recipient can view or print the document on the screen. However, the recipient must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed (it’s free). There are also several printer drivers and software that allow you to create PDF files from almost any Windows application.

If you’re using Publisher 2007 or 2010, save a Publisher PDF file from within the program to send it to anyone with software (including the free Acrobat Reader) that can open or view PDF files.

Use the PUB file if you don’t have Microsoft Publisher

If you have a file in native Publisher format (.pub) but don’t have access to Microsoft Publisher, the options you can do are limited:

Request a Publisher Trial

You must have the full Office Suite, but you can get a trial version of the latest version of Publisher. Use it to open and view your file.

Convert Publisher Files to Other Software Formats

It may be possible to convert the .PUB file to the native format of another desktop publishing software. Check the import options in your software of choice to see if it accepts .PUB files (and which version of the .PUB file). A plugin for converting Publisher files to InDesign, PDF2DTP is a product of Markzware. However, keep in mind that when you use an application such as PDF2DTP, some elements of your file may not be converted as expected.

Many readers recommend the site for online conversion to convert .PUB files to PDF and other formats. It currently converts .PUB files to one of the following formats:

  • document – Microsoft Word document

  • html – hypertext markup language

  • mp3 – compressed audio file

  • odt – OpenDocument Spreadsheet

  • pcx – brush bitmap

  • PDF – Portable Document Format

  • png – Portable Network Images

  • ps-PostScript

  • RTF – Rich Text Format

  • txt – text document

Another online conversion tool, Office/Word to PDF , also converts .PUB files. Upload a file of up to 5 MB to convert.

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