Not that long ago, the only way to get high-quality, professional materials was through a graphic designer. Printing was a complicated, expensive process that was left to the print shops. Each project required assembling pictures, graphics and content that was camera-ready.
Today, we have access to everything needed to make agency-quality marketing materials with full-color and amazing graphics. Brochures, mailers and newsletters can be printed on-demand or in the perfect quantity to reducing waste and keep the offering fresh. To save more and reach the online audience, electronic files are brilliant and easy to distribute. If you have an idea, a good eye and the right tools, you can make magic.
Microsoft Office offers the right tools with its Office 2013 Suite of Applications. Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Publisher provide improved and enhanced features for creating and publishing. Many of the features are cross-platform so you can learn a skill in one application and use it in another. There are a host of classes for beginner, intermediate and advanced users that can be taken in a classroom environment or online depending on your best learning method. Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and others offer free, online classes that are perfect for the self-learner.
Word is the standard for creating and formatting documents of all types from simple letters to documents with a table of contents, index and glossary. It makes the task of creating and editing documents easy. Tools like spell check and thesaurus make us look smart and polished. New and improved photo-editing tools let you transform pictures right in Word 2013 – no extra software needed. Change color saturation, temperature, brightness, and contrast to turn a simple Word document into a work of art. Turn text into visual effects with enhanced text effects and SmartArt graphics. Change basic bullet-points into compelling visuals and add text effects like shadow, glow, reflection, and 3-D in just a few clicks. With co-authoring, you can edit at the same time as others, even if you’re working from different locations, and keep versions in sync with version control. This is a great way to eliminate typos (ever used a there for their or your for you’re?) by having others review your work for content and correctness.
PowerPoint is not just for presentations, it also makes a great coordinating tri-fold or handout. Use the same theme for marketing materials that you can leave with the prospect to reinforce your message and offering. Creating your presentation in PowerPoint allows you to gather all your thoughts and ideas in one tool. You have many slide choices and can move, cut, paste and organize to create a coherent flow of information without leaving the program. Adding graphics, diagrams, video and sound is easier than ever.
Excel graphs, charts and sparklines explain trends and comparisons with strong visuals. Whenever numbers are involved, visuals are powerful tools to simplify the message and give at-a-glance significance. Use sparklines to graphically display data in a single cell. You can display data in line, column or win/loss format to highlight trends.
Publisher helps you create eye-catching brochures, newsletters, postcards, greeting cards and email messages. With the built-in and online templates, you can find a style for any publication. The prebuilt building blocks give an assortment of page parts like sidebars, stories and columns for creating professional newsletters and case studies. Add calendars, borders and advertisement blocks for community or school newsletters. Stunning graphics and images are easily added and use OpenType typography for expert typesetting effects.
Get your creative juices flowing! Experiment with different looks and practice with different styles. Start with a concept and use Microsoft Office 2013 to create brilliant, flawless materials for your home, school or business.
For more tips, see our blog on Desktop Publishing with Free Templates.