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Struggling to get off the start line with Publisher...

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Hi All,

I've not worked with any publishing software before, and I'm really struggling to get going.

I suspect the problem is that I keep expecting it to be like a word processor, when perhaps something like PowerPoint (spit, snarl!), is a better comparison.

I have a fairly clear idea of where I want to get to - the final product is going to be a fairly technical booklet, produced as A4 landscape, probably about 80 pages. Most pages are likely to have 3 columns of text, or two portrait images side-by-side, or one portrait image and some text beside it. It will be sold as a PDF E-Book, and will be printable by the customer.

I have a big pile of photo images, and another pile of my CGI renderings, so I'm well covered for graphical elements.

The best tutorial I have found so far is the Page Layout video by "Andy" on this page: https://affinityspotlight.com/article/learn-how-to-use-affinity-publisher-fast/

And I'm wondering if it would be sensible to buy a template - the "Lynx" one here looks to be a fairly good match for what I want.


(By all means, recommend templates of your own if they are a good fit).


  • Any other recommended tutorials for me?
  • Is buying a template a good idea?
  • Anything else that will get me thinking about it the right way?

I'm expecting that once I get my head around it, the other tasks like contents and an index will make a lot more sense to me.



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IMHO, of course you do not need a template for this. The advantage of a template in my eyes is rather small, because it must include decisions already about its containing properties, styles and possible objects which might not meet your needs or desires. If the number of these predefined items is low you can easily create them by yourself, if the number is high they might disturb you or need adjustments for your custom design. Also, everyone has its own habits concerning the use of master pages, of text style or colour creation, naming items (or not) etc., which may confuse or disturb if all is predefined. Therefore I never missed a template, it just appears faster to create a document from scratch than customizing a ready-made layout and understanding its designer's habits. – Thus a template appears only useful to me when my layout is known with all its styles, elements, positions and sizes etc., for instance for the later issues of a magazine.

15 hours ago, Starbase1 said:

I have a fairly clear idea of where I want to get to (…)

This is the best condition to start. Use the "Document Setup…" to define your document's colour space & profile (cmyk | rgb) and the bleed(s). The margin gets adjusted in the Spread Property windows of master respectively of document pages.

It is helpful to work with a grid for your 3-column layout, either with single custom guide lines – or with the column grid feature. Unfortunately when using the grid feature you can't mix different column widths or gaps. Therefore some use a different grid to be more flexible, for instance a 5 or 6 column grid with the option to use columns of different width for the wanted 3 column layout. However, you also can start with a 3 column grid or with none, it depends on your individual preferences and habits (including the way of "thinking" the layout and workflow).

At next it is useful to create saved text styles in the Text Styles Panel. Start with the paragraph styles. Several styles with identical properties, e.g. the common font face, can but don't have to have a common Base style. This can make it easier to change a common parameter for all "linked" styles at once by just altering their Base style.

For master pages I prefer to place only those objects which shall indeed appear in one specific size + position across the entire brochure. This would be usually grid/guides, the page numbers and and possible background colours or images and any repeated text or logo. If you place empty text or picture frames on a master page consider that will you have to do the extra step of "detaching" the master layer each time & on every document page where you want to modify size or position of a master page object. Also consider with master page objects that they have + cause a certain layer hierarchy: Master layers by default are the bottom layer on every document page. To bring all page numbers to front you can finally move their master page layer with a few clicks in the entire document – whereas while working in your "empty" document every new layer will be created in the layers panel above the master layer.

If you like try this simple example … A4 brochure 3-columns.afpub


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

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9 hours ago, Starbase1 said:

Most pages are likely to have 3 columns of text, or two portrait images side-by-side, or one portrait image and some text beside

In brief, as I'm about to walk out the door....

3 Master pages

One with 3 columns of text laid out

One with 2 picture frames laid out

One with one picture frame and a text frame laid out

Assign one of the 3 master pages to the page you are working on depending on what you intend to create on that page 


Another master page can be created for, say, page numbers and assigned to all pages but you can do that at the end of the project if you prefer



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have a look through these tutorials: Here


Affinity Version 1 (10.6) Affinity Version 2.0.3 All (Designer | Photo | Publisher)   Beta;
OS:Windows 10 Pro 22H2 OS Build 19045.2728+ Windows Feature Experience Pack 120.2212.4190.0
Rig:AMD FX 8350 and AMD Radeon (R9 380 Series) Settings Version 21.04.01 
Radeon Settings Version 2020
20.1.03) + Wacom Intuous 4M with driver 6.3.41-1



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