Move over, Adobe. With their latest Office update, Microsoft enters and dominates the big leagues of graphic design. Learn how to use Word to generate your next enterprise-caliber publication.

It’s no secret that Office has always included an enormous library of professional grade clip art, as well as a strong collection of stunning, elegant fonts. But with the latest release, Office has finally put to rest the idea that it is unfit for professional design. Here are a few of the professional tools that you will want to take advantage of:

Insert Picture

While this feature has been a part of Word for a long time, the new and improved Format Picture interface allows you to control the coloring of the image, the brightness, the contrast, and the transparency of an image. You also can control the scale/size of the image, rotate it, customize the margins around the image, and adjust the height and width. But where Insert Picture really shines is the pro-level effects: shadow, glow, stroke, gradient fill and even add arrowhead. With features like these, who need Photo Shoppe?

Themes

Themes are a great way to create a consistent, professional look from document to document. A theme consists of a color pallet and a typographically-matched font set (such as Times and Papyrus). You can create a custom theme for your business and distribute it to your colleagues. Better yet, just choose from the professional-grade installed themes! You will be bringing home an Addy Award in no time.

Bullet Lists

Most people are already aware of this feature’s existence. But did you know that you can customize the bullets to add extra oomph? You can choose a custom font, select from the wide range of characters available in that font, or even use a custom picture for the job (we recommend very intricate images for this purpose). Word goes the distance in this department by providing you with some exciting graphics to start with – just imagine what your annual report cover will look like with the pink swirl highlighting your business offerings. This is the sort of thing that gives us goosebumps.

Drop Cap

For the inner typographer in you, Word offers an ability previously only available in expensive design suites: dropcaps. This is invaluable for making your product catalog look like a beautiful storybook. You simply cannot go wrong by choosing an Old English font and and setting the “Lines to Drop” to 5. That auto parts catalog never looked so good! Give it a whirl on your next office memo and bask in the glow of success.

Sending it off for production

Gone are the days of struggling to get your document produced. With the “Save As” dialogue, you now have the option to export your document as a press-ready PDF. By saving your document as a PDF, you can now get accurate results from your favorite high-quality offset printer, such as Kinko’s. Not only that, but you can add the document to your website for a consistent, cross-platform download.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Believe us when we tell you that Word is packed with awesome tools designed for you to achieve your highest branding and marketing goals. The next time you decide to hire a design studio like Angled End, consider building the publication yourself using Word’s incredible tools. Forget about Photoshop. Forget about Illustrator, InDesign and PageMill. Run out and buy yourself a copy of MS Office 2010. You won’t be sorry you didn’t.