Pros Tons of quick start templates & wizards; affordable
Cons Not as flexible as InDesign
Summary Publisher is an outstanding program for quickly generating respectable documents, such as flyers and signs. It also has some intersesting abilities to merge data & create catalogs. You'll never have to stare at a blank document & wonder how to begin again!
If you want more professional output and more flexibility (and don't mind paying hundreds more and climbing a much steeper learning curve), check out Adobe InDesign. However, Publisher is sufficient to do most home & small business print jobs.
"Amateur hour"on by KenPhelps
Cons you get what you pay for
Summary If you are in any way serious about design pass Publisher and go directly to Adobe InDesign or Quark Xpress. When compared to those professional applications Publisher is a joke - and a bad one at that.
Pros Tantalizingly useful layout
Cons Freezes up EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Summary I am running Publisher 2003 on XP Professional. It freezes up every time. I've installed XP Service Pack 2, which seemed to help, but then it froze again. I've installed Office Service Pack 1, which also got me part way into a doc. I've reinstalled the software. Still, Publisher just flashes at me, then stops responding. Microsoft clearly isn't testing or supporting this product.