Publisher Pro is probably the number one under rated software on the planet.
For $99.00 in the original version which did include a printed manual of all its functions
was and still is the best software for bit-mapping and illustrations.
I use Publisher Pro for all my projects as a web and graphic designer. There is no need
for high end programs, that most will never even use 10% of its full capability.
Setting up your bars is the most important thing you can do, then getting familiar with each
of the tools.
For custom shapes, right off the top you have two tools to get started then several other tools
to manipulate the bit-map you are creating.
Straight line tool.
With this tool, you will select it then move to the main drawing area.
Left click and hold, drag and un-click. You now have made a line.
The line has two nodes. One at the beginning and one at the end.
Left click directly on the end node and hold and drag to the next point.
Repeat till you return to the start node.
By connecting the first and last nodes you will now have a custom shape.
Left clicking and holding on any line segment will allow you to bend the line
making it a curve. This also adds handle bars to each segment to adjust the
Double left click on any line segment adds a node, dividing the line into two segments.
This is located directly under the straight line tool. It generally defaults to a rectangle
and will show as a mini icon the last auto-shape you used. Same goes for the line tool.
each tool has a sub-menu, by clicking on the down arrow a small pop-open will appear
showing you icons that you can select.
Main Tool bar and sub-menu's: (Basic tools)
Pointer, selects the object.
Rotate, allows you to rotate the current selection.
Once your object is selected, move your mouse to a corner, your pointer
will change to two arrows in a circle. Click and hold at that
point and move your mouse. Your object will rotate, left or right.
Text, has four ways to add text.
Line tool, has three.
Straight Line (I use this the most, then add curvatures where i want them.)
Quick Auto Shape
This tool is a fast easy way to get a shape on the page. 33 shapes
More advanced functions are available once you become more familiar with shapes.
Converting to curves, is great! Convert Text to curves and the text no longer has editable function.
Text becomes a bitmap image just like the custom shapes you make. This is very important, especially
when transferring you work to PDF for print to a commercial printer.
Combining shapes into one shape to create "donut-holes". This is important when you need to be able
to see through an opening of a shape like the letter A or O or a custom shape.
Adding Gradients and custom fills to your shapes and lines. Yes lines around your object are editable.
When exporting your work to an image like a JPG or PNG. Use PNG for transparent backgrounds.
Publisher Pro is not perfect. It has its little quirps...once you get to know them you will find that there
are many work arounds.
Happy New Year!