In February 2024, Microsoft announced that one part of its Office suite, Microsoft Publisher, will reach its end of life in October 2026. My first thought when I read this news was that I thought Publisher had already gone by the wayside. My second thought was colored by nostalgia. While I have not used Publisher in many years, it was the software behind my high school newspaper, for which I served as an assistant editor for one year and student editor in my senior year. With Publisher preparing to exit stage right (forget that I admitted I had erroneously thought this occurred years ago), I thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane.

(Note on lack of images: I only have part of one of the issues with the template I created and I do not want to post images of a high school paper that had people’s real names and whatnot. Editing images would require too much work in this context, so I will decline to offer a screenshot but I may see if I can recreate my past work using LibreOffice Draw in the future.)

My Microsoft Publisher History

I did not have anything to do with my high school newspaper for most of my 9th and 10th grade years (for once we are talking about four year high schools since this article, unlike many of my anime and visual novel pieces, is not about a Japanese high school). In late May of my 10th grade year, I was roped into writing several articles for the paper so that the outgoing senior editor, who was slated to graduate at the end of May, could get one last issue out and break the issue record from a couple of years earlier. Her assistant and slated successor was our own Victor V. Gurbo, who I noted in a previous article wherein I accused him of having been a tyrant who had strong opinions about my drafting articles on the second floor instead of the third floor (Mr. Gurbo maintains he was following orders from above). As I explained in that first article, the issue was finished in time (thanks in small part to my contributing four articles in one afternoon, one of which was about lemmings).

I had not contributed to the newspaper before May of my 10th grade year, but in 11th grade I worked as one of the two main assistant editors to Victor, who was the senior editor (i.e., student editor – it was always a senior). Eventually, Victor and I split duties to some extent. I was the primary writing editor and managed the other editors while Victor handled all of the formatting, image editing, and production. Victor also dealt with the human beings involved while being at the top of the student totem poll (the teacher who ran the newspaper club exercised a fair amount of control, including reserving front page real estate for his own letter from the editor-in-chief).

While working under Victor, I had nothing to do with the actual formatting. Victor did all of the formatting himself. I knew that he used Publisher, but I took no great interest in it that year – occupying myself with the words on the page instead of the structure of the page. I came to learn at some point that the format was based on a Publisher template that had been chosen by the formatting editor two years earlier. For whatever it is worth, I was not a fan of the template.

I was selected as senior editor to succeed Victor after he graduated with a record-breaking newspaper publication count.

I was all but certain that I would be senior editor the upcoming year for at least a few months before Victor’s graduation, so I had already been thinking of changes that I wanted to make . My first change was to take primary responsibility both for being the main student writing editor (the “editor-in-chief” had final edits over everything regardless), which I had effectively been for much of the 11th grade year, and the formatting editor. The previous senior editors had taken direct primary responsibility over one of two, but I decided I wanted both. (Note: I did not take over Victor’s role as image editor, instead opting to give that to one of my assistant editors because I did not know anything about image editing and had no interest in learning.) One reason I wanted to add direct formatting responsibilities to my portfolio is because, as I noted, I did not like the template they were using. Instead of looking for a new default template (note I probably did not really understand the concept back them – I had only been using a modern computer for a couple of years), I decided to make my own. However, there was one problem. I did not have access to the school computers in the summer and I did not have Microsoft Publisher at home. So I got the version of Office that included Publisher and then got to work.

I was starting from zero with Publisher and finding guides and docs online was not in my wheelhouse back then. Fortunately, I found Publisher fairly intuitive. More fortunately, my formatting ambitions were not too dramatic. I created a number of page templates consisting almost entirely of text boxes and a header. Once I figured out how to link columns, everything came together, and we had a very minimal set of templates that were recognizably newspaper-like. As I explained in another post, I also upgraded from a Ti-83 or 84 (I do not remember which one I had) to a Ti-89 Titanium graphing calculator, which I then used along with the accompanying Ti-Connect software to create title cards for each issue of the paper – these went on the top right of the front page. My only other significant formatting innovation was to add a quote to the front of each paper.

After a few days of on and off work, we had our new newspaper template. I had templates for full page articles (usually two columns), for single-page articles , and a few special formats for regular columns (e.g., one column that focused on things overheard around the school).

The only question was whether the format I created over the summer would hold up when it had actual content when we were set to produce the initial issue. You may think, “Surely Nick made a test issue or something.” I did no such thing. You only live once! I also did not know what “lorem ipusm” or any of that nonsense was. Fortunately, I do not recall having any technical difficulties when it came time to put my very simple text-box powered newspaper format to the test. The only significant problem I do recall having is that there was no way to get the student contributors to keep their articles within specific word counts (I really just had to count myself lucky when we got submissions), so I was forced to take the brute force approach of sometimes using different text sizes for different articles.

You win some and lose some.

In hindsight, I am mildly surprised that our very-involved teacher senior-editor, who kept his letter from the editor-in-chief section at the top of the front page, had no comments whatsoever about my new templates, which I made on my own initiative. I suppose that he, like me, was more interested in the writing than the formatting.

In any event, I do not remember having any very strong opinions about Publisher as a tool one way or another. I found it easy enough to work with despite having absolutely no relevant experience going in – so I suppose that is a strong mark in its favor. I liked it well enough that I thought I would have some use cases for it after high school (this turned out to not be the case). Of course – I never pushed Publisher, I learned just enough to make newspaper-style templates out of text boxes and to add images in a way that did not upset the formatting.

If someone who knew more about computers had told me that there were alternatives out there we should consider using I would have probably listened. Of course, I know that it was our former resident computer expert at the school who had chosen the Publisher template they were using before I took over (I learned no great thought went into the pick), so maybe it was the most practical option under the circumstances.

My Tenure as Editor

Ultimately, my tenure as senior editor was less fruitful than was Victor’s. With well over a decade of hindsight – there are probably many reasons for this. While I had plenty of friends in high school, many of my friends were of the “basketball and baseball teams” variety and less of the sticking around after school for newspaper club variety. Victor also had a much better personality for encouraging (or conscripting) people to write for the paper. Running the whole paper instead of focusing on specific tasks as I had under Victor’s tenure also had a negative effect on my writing. I struggled to come up with article topics in 12th grade more than I had in 11th (maybe that is hard to believe given my New Leaf Journal word count output) and that prevented me from pushing a couple of extra issues out by contributing more of my own articles. Relations with the editor in chief were sometimes strained, but such is life. (There is also that time that one of my assistants somehow saved over a pending issue – but that one is too bleak.)

(If you love saving the planet as much as Victor does, I will note that we started using recycled paper when I was senior editor. Take that!)

In the end, I think we published four issues under my reign compared to seven under Victor (he technically had an eighth after he graduated if we want to count that, there was one between my graduation and the end of the year but I was done after graduation, so I do not take credit for it).

I know for a fact that my formatting template survived into the next year, but I have no idea what happened to the paper after that. The school’s current website does not include “newspaper” among the list of high school clubs, so it is entirely possible that Publisher was the only tool ever used to create that publication before it faded away.


I used Publisher a couple more times after high school (with templates) to make birthday cards, but other than that I have never had a reason to touch it after about 2010 or so, despite the fact that I had Microsoft Office 2010 with Publisher continuously through 2020. After I built my new (and current) computer in August 2020, I switched fully to Linux and abandoned Microsoft Office (the only reason I had still been using Office was because I had a legacy installed version instead of the new online subscription Office editions). I use LibreOffice as my Microsoft Office replacement – although I do most of my drafting (including this draft) in markdown – something I had never even heard of until a couple of years ago. I know that LibreOffice has its own Publisher equivalent in Draw, but I have never had a reason to use it. Maybe I should give it a go for old time’s sake. After all – once Publisher is fully sunsetted, LibreOffice Draw will be the finest version of the concept.