How to Create Manuals With MS Publisher

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Manuals are important to the basic functioning of an organization. Without basic rules and procedures, there's too much room for misunderstanding and abuse by the people the organization relies upon to get its work done. Although simple, easy-to-understand notes on a cocktail napkin constitute a manual, employees and volunteers alike are more likely to respect a well-produced manual. Microsoft Publisher is one of the more common programs that can help you create one.

Write the text of your manual using a word processing program. Edit and format as if it is the final document.

Open Microsoft Publisher. Create a page template in Microsoft Publisher by building page one of your document to your specifications. This is the basic look and format of each manual page. Some features of the template include page size, headers, footers, page numbering, borders and background color or watermark.

Create a text box half the size of the usable space on your template page. Either half the horizontal or half the vertical is fine.

Create additional pages in your Publisher document until you have a number of pages equal to twice the number of pages in your word processing document.

Copy all contents of the template page. Paste them to all pages in the document.

Return to your word processing document. Select all contents of the document by pressing "CTRL+A". Copy and paste into the text box on the first page of your Publisher document. Because the text won't all fit in the text box, Publisher will ask you if you want to "Autoflow" what you've pasted. Select "Yes", which will spill the text into the other text boxes, in word order. It will also automatically move text from one box to another as you make changes.

Go through the Publisher document page by page, noting where the text would indicate appropriate places for images. If a page doesn't warrant an image, increase the size of the text box to fill the entire page. The Autoflow feature will automatically move text around to accommodate.

Create images to insert where you've decided you need them. Use a graphics program for photos and other pictures. Use a spreadsheet program for graphs. Use the drawing function in Publisher itself to create flowcharts and organizational charts.

Copy and paste the images you create onto the appropriate pages. Size to suit, then resize the text box to fill the remaining space. Again, the Autoflow feature will adjust the rest of the document. Always perform this step in page order because the Autoflow may move text you've keyed to images later in the document.

Go through your document page by page, making final adjustments and corrections. If you want title pages for various sections, add them at this time.

Print and bind the documents. If you don't have the equipment readily available, your local office supply or printing store can produce your manuals for a reasonable price.