Microsoft Publisher Is Officially Discontinued

Desktop publishing program Microsoft Publisher debuted in 1991 and has been included in some versions of Microsoft Office starting with Office 97 Small Business edition. It’s a part of current Office 365’s suite of Windows desktop apps. Publisher was sold as an easy-to-use desktop-publishing program, intended to be a cheaper and easier alternative to more expensive programs that were available at the time like Adobe Pagemaker or QuarkXPress (and eventually Adobe Indesign). But with the world moving to more online publishing (and less print design) and with many (but not all) of the features and development slowly moving to other Microsoft programs, Publisher is officially being discontinued by Microsoft in a couple of years.

From the announcement (Office 365 account and message center access required):

“On October, 13, 2026, Microsoft Publisher will reach its end of life. After that time, it will no longer be included in Microsoft 365 and existing on-premises suites will no longer be supported. Until then, support for Publisher will continue and users can expect the same experience as today.

As we look ahead to the retirement of Microsoft Publisher, we are exploring modern ways to achieve other common Publisher scenarios across applications like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Designer. We will update as we have more to share.  

How this will affect your organization:

You can continue to use Publisher with its current functionality until October 2026.

Support for the perpetual version of Publisher will end in October 2026, when Office LTSC 2021 reaches end of support. Microsoft 365 customers will not be able to access Publisher from that date forward.”

Publisher was a handy program for quick-and-dirty layouts, thanks to its frame/box-based layout, and it was much easier to just get in there and make something quickly (even if it wasn’t remotely as feature rich as competing programs). As somebody who grew up on the Aldus Pagemaker (which was purchased by Adobe) and QuarkXPress back in my newspaper days, Publisher was a nice and easy way to just spit out a quick layout.

Our guess is that (hopefully) many of the features in Publisher will move to products like Microsoft Designer or merged into Word or PowerPoint. We’ll see if any of that comes to fruition.

So what do you need to do if you rely on Publisher? You’ll want to make sure that you install Office 365 Apps on your computer prior to October of 2026. Otherwise, you’ll be out of luck unless you want to pay $160 for the stand alone version that will still work after the EOL, it just won’t get any security updates or patches. The open-source office suite LibreOffice can open Publisher files in its Writer word processor. If you want to look into another product and don’t want to spend a truckload of money on the pro-level products (Adobe Indesign, etc…), Canva and Affinity.

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