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@N.P.M. I forgot about this one as well (I prefer to hide and show things by key shortcut):

image.thumb.png.19d9befd5850ce27ac2fbdd0fa304924.png

Cinema4d puts these to the right as well (which are really awkward to work with, btw).

Then again, when animation timelines are present the visibility controls are always invariably placed to the left of these - including Blender and C4d. Which makes sense, of course within that context.

Perhaps I should have written image editing/digital painting/video editing/ 2d animation / audio editing software instead of design software? 🙂

Gimp, Photoshop, PhotoLine, Corel Paintshop Pro, Corel Photopaint, Photopea, Toonboom, OpenToonz, Krita, ClipStudio Pro, Animate CC, TVPaint, After Effects, ProMotion NG,  Premiere, Davinci Resolve, most pixel art editors...

Pixelmator on the other hand again on the far right. Which shares its origin on the Mac with Affinity (perhaps it is a Mac GUI guideline the developers followed? But Apple Motion places these to the left...) *edit* Nope, Paint.net does the exact same thing as Affinity Photo and that is Windows only!

And you are correct: I also forgot about Inkscape and Xara.

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On 6/16/2022 at 12:40 PM, Patrick Connor said:

 I also mirror your appreciation of Medical Officer Bones thoughts and efforts to make the tone of this thread more appropriate.

Speaking of which, I'm a little annoyed that I forgot to send a big hello to the forum's knight and gentleman, Walt.

I have researched Affinity's history by scanning the forum far and wide, and everywhere I see posts from the world's most helpful and courteous man, @walt.farrell

I hope one day Serif sends you a recognition and reward, for it is an extraordinary effort you are making. Among the world's many helpful people, you are in the elite, Walt.

I just wanted to make sure you heard someone say that. You've probably heard it before. 

 

Best regards,

Eddie

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17 hours ago, Customer Feedback said:

I just wanted to make sure you heard someone say that. You've probably heard it before. 

It's a little-known fact that when Chuck Norris encountered the one and only situation he could not handle by himself, he called Walt Farrell for assistance and needless to say Walt saved his ass that day too. 

Nuff said!

Update: Just been advised from a reliable source that Chuck had Walt's avatar tattooed on his inner thigh after that incident 

Edited by carl123

R.I.P

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1 hour ago, carl123 said:

Walt saved his ass that day

I didn’t know Chuck Norris had a donkey! norris.gif

 

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I find your analysis serious and reasonable, it should definitely be listened.



Another reason not to place the ticker or eye on the right side of the layers panel:
Iin my case -being right handed, and liking as I do to have the layers on the right- this place is the farthest right border of my CintQ22: the problem here is that the borders of many pen-displays are the most INACURATE areas regarding pen position, because it is in these areas where the parallax correction algorithm applied to the pen position is least accurate.
That is why many times one needs to click several times until you manage to click in the active pixels. This drives me crazy many times every day, and I do not need nor want to experience this Affinity rejection emotions.
 

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I came here for a request though: It´d be super helpful to have a LAYER SELECTION SHORTCUT as does Clip Studio Paint.
Pressing D + pen click on a screen area selects the topmost active layer on that position.
Upon releasing the pressed key the app goes back to the previous tool (painting etc.).
 

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On 6/23/2022 at 9:34 AM, InigoRotaetxe said:

Another reason not to place the ticker or eye on the right side of the layers panel:
Iin my case -being right handed, and liking as I do to have the layers on the right- this place is the farthest right border of my CintQ22: the problem here is that the borders of many pen-displays are the most INACURATE areas regarding pen position, because it is in these areas where the parallax correction algorithm applied to the pen position is least accurate.
That is why many times one needs to click several times until you manage to click in the active pixels. This drives me crazy many times every day, and I do not need nor want to experience this Affinity rejection emotions.

Obviously I can see a compelling argument for this change, for the benefit of those people who use a graphics tablet and like to have the layers panel on the right side of their screen. (Obviously it's no problem for the rest of us to have to do things differently to accommodate these people, to save them getting used to having the layers panel on the other side.) It could, of course, cause problems for people who use a graphics tablet but like the layers panel on the left of the screen!

Presumably, going on this argument, we also need to move the lock and fx icons to the left side of the layers panel. So we end up with the thumbnail, text and all the icons crowded up on the left, and a nice big empty space on the right!

Seriously folks, there is already a lot of flexibility in the layout of the UI. But you can't expect things to be changed to suit every individual whim, with no thought for people who are already using the apps quite happily. I have no problems with things being changed for the better, when there is some improvement for users generally; but I really get fed up with people wanting things changed for everyone, just because it suits their preferences, (often just to make it the same as another app!)  

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29 minutes ago, PaulEC said:

Obviously I can see a compelling argument for this change, for the benefit of those people who use a graphics tablet and like to have the layers panel on the right side of their screen. (Obviously it's no problem for the rest of us to have do things differently to accommodate these people, to save them getting used to having the layers panel on the other side.) It could, of course, cause problems for people who use a graphics tablet but like the layers panel on the left of the screen!

Presumably, going on this argument, we also need to move the lock and fx icons to the left side of the layers panel. So we end up with the thumbnail, text and all the icons crowded up on the left, and a nice big empty space on the right.

Seriously folks, there is already a lot of flexibility in the layout of the UI. But you can't expect things to be changed to suit every individual whim, with no thought for people who are already using the apps quite happily. I have no problems with things being changed for the better, when there is some improvement for users generally; but I really get fed up with people wanting things changed for everyone, just because it suits their preferences (often to make it the same as another app!)  

There is only a search for improvement in our comments, suggestions based on experience.

I don´t think anyone here aims for any individual whim satisfaction.

And sure everyone of us has a different way of doing things, some are right handed, other left handed etc. Is there option for left handed people in AP?

That´s the reason for UX design being so important, it directly conditions functionality and affects productivity, user experience and user satisfaction.
Not looking at how other apps do things in a better way, in less clicks, in a more comfortable way for the user etc. is denying before hand any possible improvement.

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On 6/15/2022 at 9:42 PM, Medical Officer Bones said:

users tend to focus on the thumbnail and/or layer name to identify the layer they would want to select or work with. Because the visibility checkbox is located to the far right, it is impossible to tell in one glance whether one or more layers are visible: first the user checks the thumbnail or layer name to identify the layer, then the user's eyes must follow the layer row to the right to check if that layer is visible or not.
Our eyes can only focus on a very small area and see details. In this particular case it is biologically impossible to identify the contents of a layer via the thumbnail AND identify whether that layer is visible or not.
This is not an issue in other design software, because the visibility icon/indicator is always placed directly left to the thumbnail.

Sorry, but your arguments are not principled, but only based on (your) habits, and possibly on some specific situation.
If the distinguishability of visibility from invisibility given only by the distance of the thumbnails and the layer name from the checkbox, it is very easy to make it the exact opposite - just a few nesting in a slightly complex design is enough, and the check box on the right is easier to read / detect than the nonsensically far on left side.
image.png.4ed6be6cf911bbce36156658ea8ccf6c.png

 

What is definitely a subject for improvement is the easier identification and distinguishability of the visible / active and invisible / inactive layers - so that there is no need to look for a checkbox/eye whether it is left or right (anyway it will always be unacceptably far away).

- In the case of inactive Adjustments, the thumbnail is crossed out, so it is visually clear that the said adjustment is not being performed.
image.png.0cd764216c72beb41d1703ae09d8ce2e.png

Why isn't it the same for thumbnail layers / objects? Or something like that?
Of course, not displaying a thumbnail of an invisible layer worsens its identification and search in the Layers panel, so hiding with a strikethrough is not entirely ideal, but what does inactivity / invisibility indicate in some other way - colored frame, strikethrough of the thumbnail, ...?

- Why are visible / invisible layers named in bold (the same problem is with an inactive window / canvas, which makes the identification of the active document worse)?
Why can't the names of inactive layers be thin / gray, as is the standard case with disabled elements?
image.png.11b0a5d9ddea476ca9411b142c2f64f2.png

 

Edit: The Layers panel lacks a horizontal scrollbar, so the checkbox aligns and appears on the right edge, but the thumbnail and deep immersed layer name disappear completely - this is a bug, because the only way to display it is to increase the size of the panel.

image.png.e5ab4b055666db70d6d6ced3100b0a3b.png

Edited by Pšenda

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11 hours ago, Pšenda said:

Sorry, but your arguments are not principled, but only based on (your) habits, and possibly on some specific situation.
If the distinguishability of visibility from invisibility given only by the distance of the thumbnails and the layer name from the checkbox, it is very easy to make it the exact opposite - just a few nesting in a slightly complex design is enough, and the check box on the right is easier to read / detect than the nonsensically far on left side.

Have you actually put them side by side to compare?

side_by_sude.png.9f2994b43ba398eaa87601d280bd6a20.png

The left version is simpler to visually navigate than the right one. And at least to my eyes and brain I have much less difficulty figuring out the visibility state of the layers. Also:

  • Users are apt to use and work in documents with less groups rather than more. This is an important one to keep in mind. Your example is an outlier situation with that many nested layers - and you actually provide a reason against a right-aligned version in that the more nested layers there are, the more you need to widen the layer panel window and thereby increasing the distance between the parent layer(s) and the layer visibility checkbox.
    In short, extreme use cases like yours do not provide for convincing counter arguments against common use cases. Target the common ones, and provide contingency GUI solutions for extreme cases - not the other way around as your thinking goes.
  • You fail to include layer effects and layer lock icons. These create more noise on the right, and as I mentioned before functionality is probably better separated with the left version.
  • Having the checkboxes on the far right also creates more issues than solutions, which is beautifully demonstrated by your own screenshot of disappearing content forcing the user to either scroll or increase the width of the layer panel - which further increases the distance between the checkbox controls and the base content layers.
  • I agree that horizontal scrolling should be possible - and in that case again it makes more sense to use the left aligned checkboxes: those would then stay locked in place, while the user is able to scroll the content to the left - reducing distance rather than increasing distance between parent layer(s)s thumbnails and checkbox.
  • The left aligned version adheres to the Western left to right reading order. Going against that creates cognitive friction in a user (this is proven in usability and readability research).
  • The checkbox on the left provides a visual anchor for the user to follow downward, which is not the case on the right.

Or let's use another example. Would you prefer bullets on the left or on the right?

image.png.e925d4c0d1180fd9a51f9c8bb85a7689.png

Most users probably prefer having these on the left. Why would you go against common accepted proven practices?

From the point of view of scannability and proximity, as well as common use cases, left aligned would work better in my opinion.

But again: only proper testing with actual users and various use cases will yield insight which will work better.

And thank you for pointing out all the other usability issues/inconsistencies with the layer panel. In my opinion the layer panel deserves a bit of rethinking.

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9 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

The left version is simpler to visually navigate than the right one. And at least to my eyes and brain I have much less difficulty figuring out the visibility state of the layers.

Not for me. For me, the activity of the layer is secondary information, so I don't need to see it first.
On the contrary, the button on the left cancels me - it has nothing to do there. Because when I need to orient myself in the structure of layers, I need to see and control the group indicators, and the thumbnail and name of the layers. Activity/visibility information is completely irrelevant in this search and scrolling through the list of layers, and only makes it difficult to find your way around it (or you can click on this adjacent element and inadvertently turn off the layer when you click to expand groups). When I find the appropriate layer - only then I wonder if it is active or not.

 

9 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

The left aligned version adheres to the Western left to right reading order. Going against that creates cognitive friction in a user (this is proven in usability and readability research).

On the contrary, reading LTR conforms to the current concept of layers in Affinity, because it first displays primarily important information, and unimportant only then.

If I take the extreme case, it would be enough for me to display the thumbnail and the name of the layer for orientation in the Layer panel (I can write the activity / visibility of the layer in it). An indicator of activity or other parameters is no longer necessary - it can be bypassed (visual indication of activity by font intensity would of course be appropriate).
The most important thing for you is the visibility of the layer (that's why you want to place it as the first item when reading the LTR), and therefore should be sufficient for your work with layers.

 

9 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

Or let's use another example. Would you prefer bullets on the left or on the right?

But this is a completely wrong example - bullets indicate the structure and hierarchy of items, not their specific state!
For the same purpose, ie to show the hierarchy and relations between layers, group indicators are used, and they are placed first (quite correctly and in accordance with the LTR). Or not?
image.png.72b6f98ad6e21c985e7eb1638f59a513.png

A more accurate example are table of content items, where in accordance with the established LTR principles, the description / title of the chapter is given first, and only then (on the right) is the status / location of this item, ie the page where it is located.
Or would you prefer the pages on the left?
image.png.f4bcac0fbde48eec4dcbf23405492233.png       image.png.5e705e90479413b04842a0a77805fc36.png

 

9 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

The checkbox on the left provides a visual anchor for the user to follow downward, which is not the case on the right.

I don't understand - I don't need any visual anchor. For me and my orientation in the layers panel, "visibility" is no anchor.


 

9 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

Most users probably prefer having these on the left. Why would you go against common accepted proven practices?

I assume you're talking about Affinity/Serif users. Are you sure about your statement?
I have not used Lagacy Plus products from Serif, which he has been developing for 30 years, but it can be found on the Internet that they used the same concept of indicating layer activity.
image.png.fdf8953887163fc11f0e63978bf08348.png

So I assume that Serif has enough feedback from its users and therefore knows whether it suits them or not.

But if Serif succumbs to pressure from newcomers and their "habits" (not standards-based requirements), I hope it retains the ability to configure the original behavior - I'll set it right away, because I really don't need a cross-eye visualization like in kindergarten, and I don't need to show layer activity in the first place.
But I hope that Serif himself knows that more important work needs to be done.

 

Edit: For better orientation in the layers panel, I think it would be useful to differentiate individual items using the intensity of the background, as is the case, for example, in the shortcuts setting in Preferences.

image.png.044d2c03adaea15d989eb12c058973e7.png

Edited by Pšenda

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@Pšenda That is why I wrote that the only way to figure this out is to test, test, test, and compare various versions with small groups of participants. Because conversations like these tend to run in circles.

10 hours ago, Pšenda said:

Or would you prefer the pages on the left?

That's an interesting thought - I actually think I prefer the non-standard version. 😄 Never considered that before. It seems easier to check which page number belongs to which content inventory entry and the eyes do not have to wander across the page from left to right and back again. Because of the indentation of each entry the page number on the left simplifies tracking each item as well.

In particular for the first 7 entries the left-aligned version is by FAR easier to understand which roman number belongs to which entry.

Traditions in layout are not always right, it seems. 😉

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On 6/2/2022 at 10:50 AM, iconoclast said:

By the way, a Journalist who works for a magazine about photography and image editing recently told me that before Photoshop conquered the market, there was a software named ColorStudio, that was much better than Photoshop in the beginning. Photoshop overtook it because it made some things different and after a while even better. I would like to give Affinity the chance to do the same. For the benefit of us all.

It already is. For example, for my composite work I rely heavily on OpenEXR Multi-Layer renders out of my 3D applications. Photoshop can not read this files. Photoshop on Windows can, but requires a 3rd party plug-in. This plug-in does not exist on the Mac, but that's sort of irrelevant as Photoshop should have this functionality built in. Affinity Photo on the other hand reads and works in these files perfectly and natively. In my book, that's a huge win for AP and something that has me considering officially disconnecting the remaining Adobe subs I have this year.

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On 6/23/2022 at 7:12 PM, Medical Officer Bones said:

Would you prefer bullets on the left or on the right?

This would be a good argument for keeping the collapse/expand triangles and the thumbnails on the left (for a left-to-right reading order), not the visibility toggles.  Of course, they already are on the left...

 

On 6/23/2022 at 7:12 PM, Medical Officer Bones said:

I agree that horizontal scrolling should be possible - and in that case again it makes more sense to use the left aligned checkboxes: those would then stay locked in place, while the user is able to scroll the content to the left

I also agree that horizontal scrolling would be a good addition to the Layers panel, but I would point out that the checkboxes can stay locked in place on the right just as easily as on the left.

 

 

We are more accustomed to seeing checkboxes on the left side of a list - if you have pull-down menu items which can be checked, the checkmarks show up on the left of the item name - personally, I don't really care if they are on the left or the right, as I rarely bother using them, but I do think there are valid arguments to be made in both "directions".

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One point, which most people who want to move the visibility check boxes to the left seem to ignore, is what do you do with the fx and lock indicators? To me it seems better to keep all three indicators together. Where they are now, on the right, seems to make most sense. If you move them all to the left, do you leave a space for the other two indicators, or do the thumbnails shift around to accommodate them? Also, at least to me, "reading" left to right is logical. First you identify the layer with a thumbnail and text, then you see if has an fx applied to it, if it is locked and whether or not it is visible. All indicators lined up and easy to "scan"!

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, fde101 said:

This would be a good argument for keeping the collapse/expand triangles and the thumbnails on the left (for a left-to-right reading order), not the visibility toggles.

As I mentioned in the previous post, as with other standard and quite common user interface elements (TreeView), the hierarchy of elements/layers and relations between them is first addressed, and only then are showed their specific local parameters - such as name, thumbnail, activity/visibility, etc.

View the layer status (its activity/visibility) on the left side is then a violation of this paradigm, as the local/specific information on a particular layer would first be displayed, then the information about the layers hierarchy and their relationship will be displayed, and then again displayed specific information about a particular layer.
It is the same as if, when viewing files and their folders,

filetree_1-example.png

the file size is displayed first, then the folder hierarchy, and only then the folder/file name and its other parameters (type, date, ...).
image.png.6140b051cde7e8a88f97e2e1c1e54a63.png

It is possible that this representation will suit someone (in some situations), and that they may even be "accustomed to" it, but it is definitely not correct and according to the principles of good UI design (and certainly not according to LTR principles).

Edited by Pšenda

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P. S. Although I think the current concept of the Layers panel is formally more correct, I think Serif should consider the possibility of moving the checkbox to the left (by setting in preferences). Although this is an unpleasant complication for SW, it can be unnecessary friction area and disruption of their workflow for many users. Both because of their habits and personal preferences, or because of frequent alternation of applications and switching between them - either due to lack of functionality in ASuite, but also because of clients' needs.

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7 hours ago, Pšenda said:

it is definitely not correct and according to the principles of good UI design

There are several ways to look at this.

Consider that checkboxes in general appear to the left of their labels.  This means that we see whether or not a thing is turned on, before we know what the thing is, when reading from left to right.

From that perspective, checkboxes in general violate your "principles of good UI design" yet how quickly would people start complaining if some company randomly decided to place them to the right side of their labels when every other app on the platform places them on the left?

Why should they be on the right when they appear in a list, when they are on the left when they are not in a list?  In what way is that consistent, and if it is not, then in what way does making this inconsistent manage to fit with the "principles of good UI design"?

 

Note that I am NOT arguing that the checkboxes *should* be moved to the left - again, I personally don't care which side they are on - I'm simply pointing out that there are different opinions about what constitutes "good UI design" and that the principles you are advocating are not 100% in keeping with convention, which leaves some room for interpretation about which side they should really be on.

 

4 hours ago, Pšenda said:

Although I think the current concept of the Layers panel is formally more correct, I think Serif should consider the possibility of moving the checkbox to the left (by setting in preferences). Although this is an unpleasant complication for SW, it can be unnecessary friction area and disruption of their workflow for many users

I would not be opposed to that either, but I do feel like this is one thing that we could also simply chalk up to learning curve.  If you want to live in the USA, learn to sit on the left side of a car to drive (unless you work for the post office...).  If you want to hide layers in the Affinity products, look for the checkboxes on the right.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/15/2022 at 11:47 PM, walt.farrell said:

There are three drop zones: left of the thumbnail, on the thumbnail, and right of the thumbnail. 

And there are three kinds of feedback (different blue lines) to tell you what will happen.

Walt, hello. It’s a matter of opinion, clearly, but my own is that having this—what I still maintain is a too precise—positioning of the cursor in something used so extensively as the layers palette is irritating.

I repeat, yet again, I don’t want to sound like a wish I could still afford to use Illustrator moaner, and I’m willing to tolerate the inevitable frustrations in learning a new software and software interface, however, I’ve just done a wee experiment and put together the following.

In the example, I want to move the 7x7 test image from the Images layer up to the frame layer.
• 1. I drag it and drop it to the left of the frame layer thumbnail; as I do this I get a blue bar beneath the target layer. The 7x7 test image goes between the frame and the images layers.

• 2. I drag and drop the 7x7 test image directly onto the frame layer thumbnail; as I do this I get a blue bar to the right of the thumbnail. The result is a cropping or clipping mask (I’m still not sure of the exact difference in AD-speak).

• 3. I drag 7x7 test image and drop it to the right of the frame layer thumbnail; as I do this I get a blue bar beneath the frame layer. It appears no different to 1. above and the result is the same as 1. above.

 

leftofthumb.jpg

onthumb.png

rightofthumb.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Washishu said:

The result is a cropping or clipping mask (I’m still not sure of the exact difference in AD-speak).

Cropping and clipping both make the target restricted to the bounds of the the cropping or clipping object. When you crop, the cropping object completely disappears from view; when you clip, any parts of the clipping object that are outside the bounds of the target remain visible.

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ACEB6B4F-C8B0-4646-9903-5305E08A375C.jpeg.e61fdf57459de4aae493b0e879af8a40.jpeg

B53AF8A0-ABF2-40AA-B2DA-781556D9BCEF.jpeg.f32981981d2109040ddfbfdc8321be7f.jpeg

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17 minutes ago, Washishu said:

• 3. I drag 7x7 test image and drop it to the right of the frame layer thumbnail; as I do this I get a blue bar beneath the frame layer. It appears no different to 1. above and the result is the same as 1. above.

It would help to have a video of that, rather than screenshots. But possibly you weren't far enough to the right of the thumbnail.

-- Walt

   Desktop: new:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090  (old: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970 )
   Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
    Affinity Photo 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1342 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1342 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1282 Beta
 iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 15.4.1, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

  Affinity Photo 1.10.5 (.280) and 1.10.2 (.266) Beta / Affinity Designer 1.10.5 (.21) and 1.10.3 (.19) Beta 

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Thanks for a prompt reply Walt. My point exactly; how far is too far? One centimetre? Two? One point six three four? I can't do vids of the screen. My frustration (to date; I repeat, eventually I'm sure I'll become accustomed), is that it's hit-and-miss much of the time and I waste time trying to get what I want from it. I think AD is, in some ways, much better then AI, but that Layers palette is not one of them.

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28 minutes ago, Washishu said:

My point exactly; how far is too far? One centimetre? Two? One point six three four?

Until you get a different blue highlight. The full-width highlight says you're dropping between layers, not in a child position.

-- Walt

   Desktop: new:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090  (old: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970 )
   Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
    Affinity Photo 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1342 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1342 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1282 Beta
 iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 15.4.1, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

  Affinity Photo 1.10.5 (.280) and 1.10.2 (.266) Beta / Affinity Designer 1.10.5 (.21) and 1.10.3 (.19) Beta 

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