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I produce an ongoing calendar spread for a local newsletter, previously using Apple's iWork Pages (which I can't recommend except for simplest of jobs, which this isn't).

When I started using AffPub (this month), I was gratified at how well it imported a .pdf of my Pages template - but soon ran into a problem which I don't understand, and can't find an answer for in the Help, tutorials, or the first 20-some pages of this forum.

Namely, layers. The Layers panel in AffPub has entries for practically every text frame or graphic element in the pdf (and has broken some frames up line by line).

What I want is a setup with just two or three layers: one for the things that don't change: the calendar framework, day headings, etc; another to hold changing text for events; maybe one for graphics.

I plan to try for this by creating a similar template from scratch, but would greatly appreciate clues as to just what AffPub means by "layers" and how that differs from "objects"...

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Welcome to the forums.

Just about every object you add to a document will also be a layer, whether that’s an image, or a shape, or some text, or many other things.
Some things, such as guides and effects, aren’t added as layers but that’s something you just have to learn over time.
While having pretty much everything on its own layer gives you a lot of flexibility it can also be confusing as the number of layers grows.
However, you can also organise these layers by adding your own layers, which sounds like it might be further confusing things but it becomes clear once you get used to it.
You can create your own layers – think of them as folders to contain other layers – and move other layers into them.
All you need to do is create a new layer (menu “Layer – New Layer”, but there are many other ways to add one) and you’ll see a new layer in the Layers Panel that has a folder icon. Then rename that layer as required, e.g. “Calendar Framework”.
Select the layers you want to keep together and drag them into the layer you created.
You now have a layer containing all of the things you want to maintain together.
Repeat until you have your layers organised.
Does this help any?

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GarryP -

I have a busy day to deal with, but will give your suggestion a try and post a response whenever I get the chance.

Seems like the long way 'round just to have an object visible but not "in the way" when moving or resizing another object under- or over-laying it, but if it works, wot the heck.

I hope the good folks at Serif will consider an article or vid explaining all/some of this one fine day...

Thanks for your quick and informative reply!

Pierce

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GarryP -

Okay, I did as you suggested, or at least as well as I understood that. And went one step beyond to assigning that layer (which I call a meta-layer) a shade of purple.

Now I have a mostly-white spread, with empty purple boxes where the text boxes used to be, and a couple of default-blue empty boxes where two items I left out were; the rectangles and lines forming the calendar framework are now invisible. Collapsing and expanding the metalayer/folder in the Layers panel makes no difference to the display; switching to Preview mode gives me a blank spread, without even the left-out boxes' text showing.

So far, none of the tricks I can think of (except for pulling stuff out of the new metalayer/folder) gives me what I want, which is everything that went into the folder visible but not reacting to the move too or whatever else I might do as I add text frames, graphics, etc. How can I get to that point?

Thx again,

Pierce

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It can take a while to get used to how these things work but once it clicks it becomes second nature, or close to it, for the most part.

When you add layers to another layer – I’ll call it putting child layers into a parent layer – the child layers are then susceptible to any changes you make to the parent layer. For instance, if you put some shapes into a parent layer and then you give that parent layer a new fill colour, the child layers will also be given the same fill colour. This change becomes permanent, at least until you change the colour again. You can only undo this change by using the Undo function; setting the fill colour of the parent colour back to None just gives all of the child layers a fill colour of None too. Dragging a child layer out of the parent layer will stop that child layer being susceptible to further changes to the parent layer but any changes made while it was a child layer will still be in effect.

However, adding something such as an Effect, Adjustment, Opacity or Blend Mode (I’ll call these consequences) to the parent layer works slightly differently. Adding any of these consequences to a parent layer will subsequently apply that consequence to the child layers but that change will only be applied to the child layers while they are children of the parent layer. Dragging a child layer out from the parent layer will cause that consequence to be removed from the child layer.

So, some changes to a parent layer, such as changing the fill colour or stroke width, are applied destructively which means that once a change has been made it is permanent – unless you use the Undo function or make changes to the child layer – even when you take the child away from its parent. However, some changes, such as Effects etc., are made non-destructively which means that the change only applies to the child layers while they are a child of the parent the change was made to.

Collapsing/expanding a parent layer in the Layers Panel has no effect on how the document is viewed. The Layers Panel is there for you to see how the layers are organised. However, you can set a parent layer to be non-visible (the check-box to its right) which will also make all of its child layers non-visible.

Preview mode is there so you can see what the document will look like – as far as it can be shown on-screen – when it is printed/exported. All this really does is to hide things like the guides and grid so you have less on-screen clutter.

I’ve attached a GIF that might help to make things clearer. Notice how some changes have permanent outcomes while others do not.

Note: Sorry but the GIF is very low-quality. I'll try and make time to upload a better one.
Does this help? If not, you might have to upload your document or give more detailed information.

layers.gif

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GarryP -

Again, I have some rushing-around to do, so will have to study your reply later before I can respond coherently.

Pls note that at this point I'm concerned primarily with simply placing text frames over text frames (and very simple graphic elements, such as straight black lines); Publisher's plethora of visual effects don't factor in for me at this point.

More later - Happy Halloween!

Pierce

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GarryP -

I think I understand the points you lay out and (very helpfully!) illustrate here, but don't understand how they pertain to my present problem. Since you know more about this than I do, I suspect my not-understanding needs more attention, so that probably means I have unwittingly applied something to the parent layer/folder that I shouldn't have.

I tried taking things out of the parent layer/folder, but can't: when I click the triangle to expand it and show the contents, everything (including parent) is selected, and clicking/command-clicking/shift-clicking all fail to change that. Is there a tutorial or section in the Help file to advise on that or any of my problems here?

Thx,

P

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Unfortunately, not being able to see the file you are working on – and only having to rely on descriptions – is probably hampering my ability to diagnose the problem.
Also, not knowing your exact requirements makes it difficult to know which direction to send you in.
It’s also possible that my comfort in manipulating layers the way Publisher uses them may be contributing to my inability to describe what’s happening to someone who isn’t as comfortable in using them.
(I went a bit off-topic to talk about Effects and the like to demonstrate destructive versus non-destructive editing. I didn’t want you to come away with the impression that everything worked the same way.)
There isn’t, as far as I know, a tutorial which shows what you want to do but it’s difficult to know without knowing what stage you’re at, how you got there, and where you want to get to. It’s probably best if you make your way thought the Publisher section of the video tutorial in the Learn area of the Affinity website: https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/learn/ (and some of the Designer tutorials too).
However, I have attached a file containing a simple calendar with layers as I might create them for a ‘real world’ solution. It’s not perfect as I have thrown it together for this purpose only but hopefully it will help you see what I have been talking about. Notice how the layers have been organised. You can play around with them to get an idea of what’s possible.
If you have any further questions then please feel free to ask.

calendar example.afpub

Annotation 2019-11-01 101058.png

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16 hours ago, PButler said:

I tried taking things out of the parent layer/folder, but can't: when I click the triangle to expand it and show the contents, everything (including parent) is selected, and clicking/command-clicking/shift-clicking all fail to change that.

Try this: after the parent layer is expanded, click & drag vertically on a child layer to move it out of its parent layer.

This means to press the mouse button while the mouse pointer is hovering over a child layer & without releasing the button to drag the pointer up or down to a new location in the layer stack. When you release the button, the layer should drop at that location.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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GarryP and R C-R have hopefully solved the issue for you with their helpful suggestions. But just picking up a couple of things you have said:

"Now I have a mostly-white spread, with empty purple boxes where the text boxes used to be, and a couple of default-blue empty boxes where two items I left out were; the rectangles and lines forming the calendar framework are now invisible. Collapsing and expanding the metalayer/folder in the Layers panel makes no difference to the display; switching to Preview mode gives me a blank spread, without even the left-out boxes' text showing." And "when I click the triangle to expand it and show the contents, everything (including parent) is selected, and clicking/command-clicking/shift-clicking all fail to change that."

Without seeing a screenshot of what you have done, I suspect that in moving layers into your new container layer you have masked content, which is why when you highlight the container layer and press the arrow to expand the folder everything is highlighted. Ensure you click on a layer icon to move the layer. In moving layers into the container layer you need to ensure that you drag the layer over the name of the layer not the thumbnail - a horizontal blue line underscoring the layer name should appear to show you have it rignt, and then drop. 

So you want "everything that went into the folder visible but not reacting to the move too or whatever else I might do as I add text frames, graphics, etc. How can I get to that point?" And "I'm concerned primarily with simply placing text frames over text frames (and very simple graphic elements, such as straight black lines)."

Solution - just lock the layers you want to protect by highlighting the container layer and then pressing the padlock icon located in the header to the layers panel. The contents of the locked container layer remains visible on the page but are not adjustable unless you highlight a particular layer with the container layer. You can now add new elements eg text frames and Groups without accidently affecting or moving existing content.

As an alternative to using container layers, I would group whatever layers you want as a Group (highlight layers, right click and Group). Now highlight the Group layer and lock.

Is that what you are looking for? I hope I have not confused things.

The help system (F1) contains information about layers and groups.

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Thanks to all three who replied to my latest today - once again, I have to take care of other things but will respond after studying your explanations and suggestions.

Pierce

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GarryP -
I've studied and played with your "calendar example.afpub", and have to compliment you in particular in the clarity of its structure and in the choice of photo - nice work!
Herewith, a copy of my work-in-progress, to get around all the guesswork I've foisted on you ("Igcal template.afpub"). It's a 3-pager, but only the center page is intended for publication, those above and below serving as scratchwork areas, storage for various resources and references, etc. As I still haven't figured out what I did wrong with layer management, most of the middle page remains invisible.
The main difference (besides my failure at implementation) between our designs is that mine calls for another text frame on top of each frame with a day-number, to hold info on events for that day. I pasted in one example (the "Grow Gvl 3rd Mon meet-up..." item), but it went invisible too - though the Layers panel shows it as a subset of another text frame outside the "Clendar constants metalayer" folder/layer, while I'd intended it as a top-level layer/object on its own). Note that my day-number frames flow between each other, to simplify creating each new version.
What did I do wrong in the Layers panel (& prob'ly elsewhere)?

Igcal template example.afpub

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R C-R -
The straight vertical click-and-drag doesn't work for me - all the objects/layers, including the folder/header, move together. Using command-click, I seem to get one to move (though not to change the blue fill which apparently indicates "selected object"), but all I've achieved - I think - is to make the moved item go below the others at that level of indentation, to a half-indented position which still tucks away with the rest when I collapse the parent folder/layer using the triangle button.
Yet another AffPub mystery which I still haven't found a clue for in the Help or Tutorial files. Thanks for helping me find my way through the woods here!

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Wasp11b -
You seem to have caught my errors, but I'm still groping with the jargon (I think).
The Help section on "Masking Layers" doesn't, sfaict, tell how to remove/undo "masked content".
Nor have I yet found an explanation of the different functions of the layer/object names and icons/thumbnails within the Layers panel.
In many ways, AffPub is a model of clarity and straightforward functionality, but in others some esoteric values persist to perplex us newbies. Describing every line as a "curve" seems utterly backward - "curve" is a subset of the category "line" in most people's geometry, for example, not the other way 'round.
Pls see the example I've attached to my reply to GarryP, and thanks for your time and help!

Edited by PButler
typo

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3 minutes ago, PButler said:

R C-R -
The straight vertical click-and-drag doesn't work for me - all the objects/layers, including the folder/header, move together.

Are you certain that you are clicking on a child object layer in the Layers panel (not the parent object layer), not releasing the mouse button before starting the drag, & moving the selected object upward or downward until it is completely out of its parent object? If you are sure of that & more than the selected child layer moves during the drag. can you post a brief screen recording showing the layers panel when you do that?


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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R C-R -

Yep, I'm sure. The software seems to think I want to rename the clicked object/layer, and gives me a blank entry field - but leaves the existing name when I click elsewhere.

Until now, I've never needed to make a screen recording, and have neither acquired software to do so nor found same in the MacOS toolbox. Can you tell me where to go for this function, or post a link to a how-to? I could give you a screen cap, but doubt that would help much...

(Another minor mystery - the object/layer I described as having moved to a different position and indentation has quietly returned to its previous location. o.O)

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2 minutes ago, PButler said:

The software seems to think I want to rename the clicked object/layer, and gives me a blank entry field - but leaves the existing name when I click elsewhere.

That should only happen if you double-click on the name field. Are you using a regular 2 button mouse or some other pointing device? If not a mouse, do you have one you can try temporally to see if anything changes?

Also, I just downloaded your template example file & at least on my iMac there is something really weird going on on page two: just below the visible text there is a moving dashed line, as if it was animated; but since no Affinity app supports any kind of animation I have no idea why that is there or how it is moving. :S

Perhaps it would be a good idea to create a new, very simple single page .afpub file with just a few text items in a few groups & see how things work with that.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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R C-R -

I had that moving/"marching ants" green line too. Dunno why; it just showed up today, though I don't think I did anything directly to that text frame.

The rename effect doesn't happen except when I double-click; single-clicks have no visible effect until I try to drag, when all the selected items move together.

Will try yr suggestion of a simple test file, in hopes I can figure out with that what I've done that I don't want to do on a real production file.

Wosven -

Alas, the AffPub help file doesn't seem to have anything about either "ant" or "marching". :S

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2 minutes ago, Wosven said:

More like "ant marching" selection to me ;)

Ah, so it is. I had to zoom in quite far to see that is what it is & it never occurred to me that it would be saved with the file. :$

Anyway, from what the OP has said, I think there is something about that Mac or the pointing device that is somehow interpreting a "mouse down" action as a click ('mouse down' + 'mouse up' in Apple developer speak).


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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Ftr, I'm using a MacAlly 2-button+scroll-wheel USB-wired mouse, which has not produced any anomalous behavior I've noticed anywhere else in months of use.

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1 minute ago, PButler said:

The rename effect doesn't happen except when I double-click; single-clicks have no visible effect until I try to drag, when all the selected items move together.

You should not be single-clicking -- click & drag means to press down the mouse button & drag without releasing the button.

Also a mea culpa is in order -- now that I see how your page is constructed, I should have said that you need to click & drag on a layer thumbnail on the left, not on the layer text or anywhere else in the layer.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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Ah, I didn't write precisely enough - my attempts to drag did not include a "mouse-up".

Back to my Layers panel misadventures: now when I click-&-hold on a single sub-layer/object, I can drag it up or down to re-arrange the order in that panel (it remains invisible on the canvas). I tried moving the "January-Enero" text frame layer/object to a position outside the "Calendar constants metalayer" folder, and onto the "Master A" item, but it ended up as a sub-item to the "Radio Notes" text frame (which is visible on my Page 2, but the "January-Enero" text still isn't).

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Hrrmm.

With the "Calendar constants metalayer" expanded, I could click on the icon/thumbnail for an item at the bottom of that group and drag it downwards and to the left (of the icons column), which placed it in the top level of Layers panel objects and made it visible on the canvas. Thinking I'd apply Wasp11b's suggestion of grouping and locking, I kept doing that to different "curves", and pulled about half-a-dozen out to see them reappear where they belonged.

But the last one I did that too, though it showed up in the right place on the Layers panel, caused the Page 2 canvas to go all white again, except for a thin column of vertical dashes along the left edge of the "January-Enero" text frame (made visible by my previous dragging-out experiments). Several undos ("Undo clear selection", "Undo clear selection", "Undo move"...) did not restore the canvas.

Curiouser and curiouser!

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There' are big errors in your file.

First, you need to lean when you put a form inside another one, or when you use a form or an object to crop another one.

Cropping another object:

2019-11-02_222906.png.7c2cdb1ddf34ade3c7f1c1217181f5ec.png2019-11-02_222911.png.6c0986a1c9ef4a4f45be80aadea91a3c.png2019-11-02_222942.png.8fcad8fad9e5ea55f275f3433c2c12e0.png

 

Form inside another one:

2019-11-02_223226.png.592cf62b1b47c1b08fe52fd8cff55c7f.png2019-11-02_223230.png.ae0d59e66cb706a8d5d859773738aec8.png

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