It all happened so suddenly. Just a few weeks before the election, the established candidate has to stand down - he's decided he 'needs to spend more time with his family' - and Julia has found herself before the voters as his replacement. All in all, and in spite of the hectic developments of the last few days, she feels that she's landed on her feet; the circumstances may not be ideal, but this is what she's been working towards for many years, and she's determined to grab the opportunity with both hands.

Unfortunately, her predecessor had campaign literature ready to be released in a few days, and Julia needs her own pamphlets to be dropping through doors instead without delay. Campaign manager Michael has to come up with something engaging, stylish, and clear in a hurry; he can pull together the content, but he'll still require the tools to turn that content into a professional and effective publication that doesn't look as though it's been thrown together in a short time. Fortunately, Microsoft Word has the solution.

Given a good deal of time, there's no limit to what Michael could create with Word. Time, however, is one thing he doesn't have a good or even a medium-sized deal of, so he starts off with a template. An enormous number of these for every imaginable purpose are available freely for downloading, so Michael heads to the Word website, searches through the 'newsletter' category of templates (or 'flyers' for something smaller and simpler, or 'brochures' for something larger and more detailed) and within moments, the foundations of the first campaign leaflet are ready to go. The template provides everything but content - layout and colour schemes are already constructed, so all Michael needs to do is type the text or drop the images into place.

That text is easily dealt with: Michael and Julia have already discussed what's going to be written in the pamphlet, and as would be expected of any word processor, Word does of course offer a huge range of fonts, styles and colours to make the written content as appealing and understandable as can be - as well as a selection of striking visual effects to make slogans and headings stand out. However, the graphical content needs to be just right, as Michael knows that political publications are often ignored, and attention-grabbing images and graphics are key to encouraging potential voters to read further into the detail.

The template he downloaded already has areas of the page designated for images, so Michael can just drag and drop into position photographs of Julia, or of local matters that highlight the campaign issues she'll be pushing - the poor state of the constituency's parks, for instance, or the outdated school buildings. Unfortunately, with the rush to get everything ready, there's only been time to hurry out and take some basic photographs with an ordinary compact camera, and the pictures have an amateurish, pallid feeling to them. Not a problem: after bringing the chosen image into Word, Michael can easily edit them from within the program, cropping, straightening, adjusting colour and contrast and adding visual enhancements, all without the need for specialist art software (and also - this is important to Michael!- without the need for spending much time).

The voters won't just want pretty pictures, though. Showing what Julia intends to do, how she plans to right the previous incumbent's wrongs, is essential. This could, of course, simply be written down, but Word offers a much more engaging solution - a visual approach that's more likely to make an impact and help swing the vote. SmartArt graphics can instantly transform plain text into a striking and effective diagram. Julia's party have a regeneration scheme for the region, beginning with training and investment, and moving on to economic growth and infrastructure improvements, culminating in more jobs and a brighter future; rather than just laying the proposals out in text, Michael can create - with just a few clicks - a colourful and stylish flow chart (augmented by thumbnail images related to each step forward), illustrating the process and its benefits in a clear and attractive fashion. Julia and Michael know that the recent past has been difficult for the constituency, and with the SmartArt graphic, they can dynamically portray their hope for the future.

In no time at all, Julia and Michael have gone from a few written ideas to an engaging and effective leaflet, ready to be passed on to the printers, and from there to every letterbox in the area. There'll be another couple of leaflets printed before the election, and Michael will be able to take much time over those, and can use all of Word's design tools to create something even more dazzling. But for right now, the most important thing was to get Julia's message to the people, to ensure that her rivals won't have even a moment's headstart - and to guarantee that her message was put across in the clearest and most appealing manner.

Thanks to Microsoft Word, Michael has been able to do just that, and he's given Julia's campaign the best possible foundation; you can do the same for your organisation (and a short training course may well be useful so that you or your staff can make the most of all Word has to offer). Whatever your business, whatever message you have, whoever you need to get it to, for whatever reason and in whatever style - Word can always help you to produce the perfect publication within even the strictest deadline.