How to Convert a Microsoft Publisher File to Line Vector

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Image Credit: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Microsoft Publisher is a very simple desktop publishing tool that can be used to create flyers, business cards, and other design creations. Publisher is extremely limited, however, in creating professional items, which is why designers often use a Line Vector program like Adobe InDesign. Converting publisher documents to Line Vector can be done manually, which is extremely time consuming, or by purchasing a plug-in that will cost several hundred dollars.

Free/Time Consuming Method (Manual)

Step 1

Open Microsoft Publisher and the file that you wish to manually convert. Click on the File menu and scroll down to the Pack and Go tab, then click Take to a Commercial Printing Service. This will pack your line-based art as separate vector-based WMF files into a separate folder.

Step 2

An alert will come up saying that your document is in RGB before you can save your document. Click on the alert and then click on the box marked CMYK (the color parameters of Adobe InDesign). Make the change and then save the document.

Step 3

Open the new PDF that has been created using Adobe Illustrator.

Step 4

Some of your document may not have survived the conversion well and your design may be slightly changed. Rectify these design changes as best as you can by manually moving objects back to their original places.

Step 5

If any line art or auto shapes did not survive the conversion, look through the folder of separate images that have been created during your Photoshop save. Open each image one by one in Adobe Illustrator to see which one contains your missing art.

Step 6

Once you have found your missing art, save your line art as a separate EPS file. Now you can import the art into InDesign as a new graphic and place it where you'd like it.

The Paid Plug-In Method

Step 1

Open your preferred Internet browser.

Step 2

Visit the website to purchase PUB2ID, a program that converts Publisher files to InDesign automatically.

Step 3

Open InDesign, select the menu item Markzware/PUB2ID/Convert MS Publisher, and find your Publisher file.

Step 4

Your file will be imported into InDesign and while most of the design will be intact there will be some cleaning up to do. Follow steps 5 and 6 in Section 1 to replace any missing art.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Publisher

  • Adobe Illustrator

  • Adobe InDesign

  • Adobe Reader

  • Internet browser


Raster images can be recovered by rasterizing your exported PDF in Photoshop and saving them as EPS or TIFF images.


Many design and text changes may occur using the method in section 1. You may need Adobe Photoshop to ensure that all of your original color has been preserved in conversion.