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Uses of Templates - Why Use .aftemplate?


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Hi All,

Maybe a noob question, but I am struggling to understand the full benefit of "template" files (.aftemplate). 

I do understand they come in handy in opening a new document from: file>new>templates , however I do not really understand how else they are useful? 

In my current understanding, if I save a file myself with certain margins, guides, ruler settings etc etc and just name it "Design-File-Template", when I open that file that is NOT a ".aftemplate" and click "save as" everything is there.... 

 

Just fishing for ideas and reasons to use template files! 

 

Thanks in advance!

Look Good, Live Wild, Love Life

- TrYptiX Fashion

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If you save your template as a .afdesign file it will certainly work, and that's how we made templates before the formal template capability was implemented.

However, if you Open one, make some changes, and do a Save instead of a Save As you've lost your template.

Using .aftemplate files offers some protection against that.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3.1

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A .aftemplate file has other advantages. 

When I make a new document  from a Template it has the size colour model margins bleed. These can be set up in a User Preset. My Publisher templates also have some Text Styles for that type of work, at least one Document Palette for at least two global colours, a couple of Master Pages with guides and column guides and Text Frames all set with default headers and footers, and a set number of pages with the Master Pages properly applied and the text frames are already linked....

Could go on.

Basically if you are doing lots of work of a particular size and are setting up the same basic stuff time and again anon anon then use a template. If each job is only a basic paper size then there is  not so much use for them.

A newspaper or magazine published on a regular basis needs templates. If you are doing lots of CD covers and booklets, use Templates. Icons for a particular webpage/website use a template.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.2 
Affinity Designer 2.3.1 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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There are limits to Affinity templates, and I don't use them because:

  • you can't distinguish if it's made with AP/AD/APub, but the distinctive features of each app means you don't want to open APub files in AP, for example... you'll have to add prefixes or suffixes to your files' names when extensions are made for this and should suffice,
  • each time you open a template (or an older file in a new version), you'll loose the original name of the file, and you'll have to write it again or go back to the folder and copy it, before saving with the necessary changes in the name (usually about date)... I find this particulary annoying when needing to use the exact same nomenclature, or needing to keep a specific identifier for client when I can't know each identifier of all clients... I'd rather have "SAME_NAME_AS_ORIGINAL_[copy] or similar as new name for those files,
  • it's faster to put all the templates in a folder, or your app will be longer to display the panel, since it's scanning all the specified file tree in search of each template files... In a professionnal environment, you can't do this, but usually use complexe file tree to organise your files by types, clients, specific works, etc. Add to this different servers for archives that need to be available, etc. and the template panel is of no use.
    You can do without, but there's an interesting item in the Template panel: the preview. Having this preview and a classical file tree in the Open and in the tTemplate panels would have been better IMO.

Of course, the best is to use them and get your own opinion :)

Edited by Wosven
typo
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1 minute ago, Wosven said:

you can't distinguish if it's made with AP/AD/APub, but the distinctive features of each app means you don't want to open APub files in AP, for example... you'll have to add prefixes or suffixes to your files' names when extensions are made for this and should suffice,

Or store them in different folders. Each application has it's own configuration for what to look for templates.

 

2 minutes ago, Wosven said:

it's faster to put all the templates in a folder, or your app will be longer to display the panel, since it's scanning all the specified file tree in search of each template files

Again, three applications, so use three template folders.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3.1

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4 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

Or store them in different folders

If we love to organise in different folders as explained, needing to add more folders would be annoying, when we already have some for fonts, links, originals, PDF, PDF for print...

Another point: lot of people, and me either sometimes (:D) can only see what's under our nose... and don't wan't of forget to search in differents subfolders... it's also easier to have a general view of files and possibilities when everything is together than in subfolders.

I suppose I'm not the only one to create some file because it's missing, and it's  only when I want to save it that I discover the folder in which suchfile already exist... or the already existing file that I didn't notice for whatever reasons... mostly being in a hurry

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3 hours ago, Wosven said:

you can't distinguish if it's made with AP/AD/APub, but the distinctive features of each app means you don't want to open APub files in AP, for example... 

First, it is pretty easy for me to tell which app I used for the templates I created. But even when that is not true there are times I want to use a template created in one app as a starting point for a new project created in another.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V23.0 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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  • 1 year later...
On 2/10/2021 at 3:41 PM, walt.farrell said:

Or store them in different folders. Each application has it's own configuration for what to look for templates.

 

Again, three applications, so use three template folders.

That seems to work, to an extent.  In Windows, you can only assign a file extension to one app.  I'm finding in Win11Pro, that if the file type assignment for the .aftemplate extension is set for APhoto, and I go to create a new APub file from a template I've previously created in and saved from APub, that template will not be available in the template dialogue box in APub; and vice-a-versa for APhoto.  (haven't tried in ADesigner.)  This only wastes a lot of valuable time, archaic.  Why can't Serif create separate file extensions for the template files for each app?  Consider how much time is wasted x the number of Affinity users who use all three apps.  They can do better.  Very frustrating.

RickyO
APhADe and APu user
New User as of Mar, 2018
(Still stumbling along given too many directions at any given moment)
Windows10 platform

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14 minutes ago, RickyO said:

In Windows, you can only assign a file extension to one app.  I'm finding in Win11Pro, that if the file type assignment for the .aftemplate extension is set for APhoto, and I go to create a new APub file from a template I've previously created in and saved from APub, that template will not be available in the template dialogue box in APub; and vice-a-versa for APhoto. 

You can put all the templates in 1 folder, and configure each application to use that folder, and they'll all be there.

Or you can configure each application to use its own template folder, independent from the others. Then, when you're in Publisher and ask it to use a template, you'll only see the Publisher templates.

Or you can use a shared folder, but with different subfolders for Photo, Designer, and Publisher, like this:

image.png.de6a092da5f22a3eb61ad967dfaf60b9.png

There, I have a parent folder named AF Templates where I store templates I have created or purchased. Within it I have one for Designer templates I've created, another for Photo templates I've created, and one for Publisher templates I've created.

I can choose from any of the templates, but if I were in Publisher and wanted one of my Publisher templates I would typically click on the Publisher folder and just choose from them. Or, I could click on the Affinity Store folder, for templates I installed via My Account from the Store, or on Affinity Revolution for templates I've gotten from them.

 

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3.1

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24 minutes ago, RickyO said:

Why can't Serif create separate file extensions for the template files for each app? 

While I agree with this we have to remember that the .aphoto file extension is for a document type which can be opened by all three applications, there is no real difference at all. Again, while I agree with this it is not a problem for me in that the way I work is to not double click on template files but open them up using the New File dialog. I rarely use the ability to double click to open a file from the Finder (Mac) and I wouldn't change my behaviour that if I was using Windows.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.2 
Affinity Designer 2.3.1 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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3 minutes ago, Old Bruce said:

Again, while I agree with this it is not a problem for me in that the way I work is to not double click on template files but open them up using the New File dialog. I rarely use the ability to double click to open a file from the Finder (Mac) and I wouldn't change my behaviour that if I was using Windows.

If you did want to do it from Finder, presumably you have some sort of "Open with" capability you could choose. I know that we can right-click, and choose the application we want to use on Windows.

However, I also open them from within the application as my preferred workflow.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3.1

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2 hours ago, RickyO said:

In Windows, you can only assign a file extension to one app.  I'm finding in Win11Pro, that if the file type assignment for the .aftemplate extension is set for APhoto, and I go to create a new APub file from a template I've previously created in and saved from APub, that template will not be available in the template dialogue box in APub; and vice-a-versa for APhoto. 

I am not sure what you want but the file type extension for all template files should always be .aftemplate, not any of the 3 Affinity document filetype extensions (.afphoto, .afdesign, or .afpub). This is because any template file can be used with any of the 3 Affinity apps.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V23.0 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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I agree with @RickyO

(And I probably already mention this in this thread or another similar one.)

Since we use a different app to create a template, it would be logical to use different extentions: there's no way I want to use a file crated in AD or APub in AP... 99.9% of the time I would open it in the original app, and switch to another one only if needed for a specific feature, as intend by the design of the apps.

 

I certainly never order my files by extentions or type of app to open them. In the type of documents created with APub, for example, I would use other files created by other apps, but not put those in folders depending of the original app I used to create them.
The logical way is to order folders by YEAR/CLIENT/TYPE OF DOCUMENT/DOCUMENT/files

This way, it's easier to backup or archive files. It's also easier to archive/zip a folder and send it to someone, etc.

 

To find template files, the apps will scan the appropriate folder. If this one is on a server — even with the best pro Internet connexion, full speed and bandwidth—,  and has a lot of subfolder, it'll take some time for the app(s) to scan those folders and list the templates, so it's faster to go to the folder in the Finder/Explorer, and click on the file...
... and that's where/when/why specific extensions for templates depending of the app used to create them would be the best.

Or we need to use old tricks llike more info in the file name + right-click to choose the app to open them...

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9 minutes ago, Wosven said:

there's no way I want to use a file crated in AD or APub in AP...

Why? I often use an aftemplate file I created in AD that has several pre-sized artboards with AP. Less often, I occasionally use one created in APub that has a few page spreads with AP.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V23.0 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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By the way, at least on mac (maybe Windows, too?) you can use a system-wide option to define a file as template by ticking its according checkbox in its file info panel. Whereas for some file types / apps there is only the "Lock" option which will open as normal but doesn't let you save with the same name – there is for other files, Affinity documents included, an additional checkbox to make a document become a template. If ticket it will cause a copy on disk as soon it gets opened and shows "copy" added at the end of its file name.

1370965536_fileinfotemplate2.jpg.6da67e069c923ade19c0549a16a78927.jpg

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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5 hours ago, R C-R said:

Why?

Like you said, if I use artboards or pages, it's probably a document that won't fit well in AP,  selecting part of of an artboard and trying to inverse the selection will add problems, etc. I won't have anymore the advantage to look at all the artboards side by side...

If I just need a particular layer, I'll simply create it in another  document and copy-paste it in the document open in the right app, or switch to AP and come back to the original app.

Templates are usually more complexe than simple documents, that's why using them with the original apps seems more logical.

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7 hours ago, Wosven said:

Like you said, if I use artboards or pages, it's probably a document that won't fit well in AP,  selecting part of of an artboard and trying to inverse the selection will add problems, etc. I won't have anymore the advantage to look at all the artboards side by side...

I have no idea what you mean about not fitting well in AP. Among other things, in AP I can easily zoom out in AP to see multiple artboards, rearrange them, & so on, just like I can in AD. As an example, I made this 3 artboards from template.afphoto from a template, & by default it opens showing all 3 artboards, arranged exactly like they were in the template, ready for me to add whatever I want to any of them. 

What makes you think you can't do that?

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V23.0 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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