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Affinity Designer 2 User Guide


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I have been searching the online Designer instructions and not finding answers to any of my questions.  I really don't have time to watch all the videos in hopes my rather specific confusion will be addressed.  I would REALLY like a downloadable, searchable, user guide so I can quickly locate the instructions I need.  Affinity is so far removed from the former Draw+ that that manual is no help.    Please advise if there will be such a tool in the near future.

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Welcome to the forums @GrandToDo

If someone were to write such a user guide, how would they know – in advance – to write it in a way that addresses your specific current needs?
Everyone has their own specific needs and those needs change depending on what they are trying to do at the time.

It might be better if you start a new thread, telling us what your current problem/issue is, giving as much detail as you can, and then we can advise on that specific thing.
Then, when you later have a different specific problem/issue, you can start a new thread for that, and so on.

Note: Most of the issues/problems mentioned in the forums are not new ones so it’s best to search with good keywords first before making new threads.

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10 hours ago, GrandToDo said:

I would REALLY like a downloadable, searchable, user guide so I can quickly locate the instructions I need. 

The Help files, both within the application and online are searchable. Or you can start from the Contents and drill down.

But the problem, as with any guide, is knowing the right search terms, which is also a learning exercise.

-- 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 17.5, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.5

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  • 9 months later...
On 2/2/2023 at 7:35 PM, GarryP said:

Welcome to the forums @GrandToDo

If someone were to write such a user guide, how would they know – in advance – to write it in a way that addresses your specific current needs?
Everyone has their own specific needs and those needs change depending on what they are trying to do at the time.

It might be better if you start a new thread, telling us what your current problem/issue is, giving as much detail as you can, and then we can advise on that specific thing.
Then, when you later have a different specific problem/issue, you can start a new thread for that, and so on.

Note: Most of the issues/problems mentioned in the forums are not new ones so it’s best to search with good keywords first before making new threads.

It is not necessary to know what anyone's specific needs are to write a good manual.

Simply provide a logical order, breakdown and an index.

It is much faster and more systematic to scan through a book (which allows notes to be added) than videos or online Help files.

It also is a good check for software publishers to write manuals, it helps resolve UI/UX issues and is a way of testing just how easy it is to understand and use an App. Particularly in the case of Publisher which is a DTP App to create manuals and other documents.

I'm surprised the software development team does not create a manual in parallel with the software development, as it tracks what has been done and what needs to be added. The problem is developers find it hard to put themselves in the place of Users and find it a chore to explain themselves.

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16 hours ago, Peter Breis said:

It is not necessary to know what anyone's specific needs are to write a good manual.

Simply provide a logical order, breakdown and an index.

I have lots of apps on my Mac, yet essentially none of them provide what I think you are describing. Most of them provide help files; a few not even that.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.0 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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Quote

don't have time to watch all the videos in hopes my rather specific confusion will be addressed.

In that case, why not do a [ edited to add ] google search on Affinity Designer + what it is you want to do.

That's what I did when I "taught myself" Affinity Publisher. Now I'm a Publisher expert in my own mind. Ditto for Photo, but I found it much more intuitive to use - although using those search terms also helped a lot.

+++

Oops. I just noticed this is a 10 month old thread.

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On 2/2/2023 at 10:55 PM, walt.farrell said:

The Help files, both within the application and online are searchable. Or you can start from the Contents and drill down.

But the problem, as with any guide, is knowing the right search terms, which is also a learning exercise.

I reported to Affinity Support that Search fails in Help on the Mac. They are aware of the bug. But not much "Help" 🤷 meanwhile.

The Help pages lack key details that make it hard to follow.

I was trying to format/size cells in Tables the exact details that the Table pallet was hiding from me with no indication that there were more fields below if I only pulled down the window.

When I write a manual I show the full path from the App menu down to the exact location of the Input wherever that may be.

Edited by Peter Breis
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2 hours ago, Peter Breis said:

I guess I am older than you 😊.

I can remember when Apps had manuals and how useful that was. Both to the developer and the User

I am old enough to remember when many apps came with thick paper manuals, some even with several of them. Some had extensive indexes, some not. None of them included multiple language versions so you had to order the version for your country or area if one existed or make do with one written in some other language & hope for the best.

But just like the current help topic stuff, if you didn't know the proper terminology for something the index or ToC was not of much help so you had to spend time studying the manual chapter by chapter until you (hopefully) found what you needed to know.

I don't think there is any way around that.

3 hours ago, Peter Breis said:

I was trying to format/size cells in Tables the exact details that the Table pallet was hiding from me with no indication that there were more fields below if I only pulled down the window.

If you mean scrolling down to see the other items in the Table panel then like for other panels whose windows are too small to see all of its options, you can scroll down to see the rest. Note that on Macs, you have a System Setting that controls if the croll bars are always shown, shown only when scrolling, or shown automatically so I suggest that at least while learning apps like the Affinity ones to set that to 'always' so you can see at a glance if there is more than is visible.

BTW, if you search the APub help on "Table" the 4th item down is Table Panel, so for that panel at least the help should tell you pretty much all you need to know about using it.

3 hours ago, Peter Breis said:

When I write a manual I show the full path from the App menu down to the exact location of the Input wherever that may be.

If you mean finding menu items, if you are on a Mac you can use the search field in the Help menu to find any item on any of an app's menus by just typing the relevant term (like "table") & then moving the mouse pointer over any of the items it shows. This opens the menu or submenu with that item & you get a big blue floating arrow-like marker next to the item. That's about as quick & easy as it gets -- no need to open any manual, electronic or otherwise. (This is a feature of the macOS & works for all apps, not just the Affinity ones.)

All that said, I completely agree that the Affinity help is incomplete & needs more work particularly for better search results.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.0 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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Thanks for the reply R-C-R. 😊

There is unfortunately a bug in Affinity's Help, it is neither finding searches of things I can see listed in the Help, nor taking me to them. Help works for other Apps as expected.

I did eventually find the Table settings. it took me 2 days to stumble on it and then I had fun trying to find it again. The problem was the dark UI was hiding that there was a slider in the side of the Inspector and nothing else indicated that settings i wanted were hidden below.

Since then I have found another bug in Affinity's Apps. I was using an external 4k display for my work area, with settings on my Macbook Pro display. With the display unconnected Affinity does not reset the position of windows. My work area is still being displayed on the non-attached 4k display with no way I can find to get it back on my Laptop display without reconnecting the display. Naughty, naughty Affinity!

Whilst I have alternative Apps, I am trying to learn and use Affinity's. They are improving with the latest versions but still feel unpolished and unnecessarily difficult. 🤷

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2 hours ago, Peter Breis said:

There is unfortunately a bug in Affinity's Help, it is neither finding searches of things I can see listed in the Help, nor taking me to them.

If it really was a bug in the Affinity apps why would the online help work for me to find for example the Table panel help page? This is what I see when as mentioned above I search on "table":

tablesearch.jpg.df6c9c5eb8e49b8e5a9dac3308ff70c2.jpg 

As you can see, the forth item is for the Table panel, the same link I included in my post above. So it is not clear why this is not working for you. It might help if you post a screenshot of what you get if you enter "table" in the search field at https://affinity.help/publisher2/en-US.lproj/index.html (or whatever the equivalent is if you are not using US English).

But if nothing else works for you, you could try opening Affinity Publisher 2 Help from the app's Help menu, & in the column on the left find the Panels category, click the disclosure triangle next to that, & you should see the help topics for each panel listed in alphabetical order. You may have to scroll down to see the table entry because the list is so long.

2 hours ago, Peter Breis said:

The problem was the dark UI was hiding that there was a slider in the side of the Inspector and nothing else indicated that settings i wanted were hidden below.

While there are a lot of contrast problems in the UI (& if you check you will see I have been complaining about that almost since day 1 of the first release), for me on my Mac in the Dark UI the scrollbar is quite visible:

scrollbar.jpg.98728ff8b1d556a51894731ce06ec13b.jpg

I'm not sure why it isn't for you, at least if you are using one of the System Settings options to show the scroll bars.

2 hours ago, Peter Breis said:

Since then I have found another bug in Affinity's Apps. I was using an external 4k display for my work area, with settings on my Macbook Pro display. With the display unconnected Affinity does not reset the position of windows. My work area is still being displayed on the non-attached 4k display with no way I can find to get it back on my Laptop display without reconnecting the display.

This is a known issue that they hope to fix eventually. There is a workaround but I do not know what it is, so a forum search may help you find it if some other user does not mention it in a new post here.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.0 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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Are you using an M series Macbook Pro [Sonoma]?

I reported the Help search problem to Serif support complete with screensnaps and they say it is a known bug.

AffinityHelp01Searchterm.png.6ab05263aa5525821ee577e4a1dfbfdc.png

AffinityHelp02Searchresult.png.1b9aee343eace31b385c5f3a73c373f2.png

AffinityHelp03Resultofclickingon22AffinityPublisher222.png.9e6f155725a59aa61ecc89f87d426e70.png

The Help search works for other Apps.

I will test some of these issues on my Dell Latitude to see if it is different under Windows 11.

Edited by Peter Breis
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21 minutes ago, Peter Breis said:

Are you using an M series Macbook Pro [Sonoma]?

No, as my sig below my posts show, I am using an Intel iMac running Catalina.

Regardless of the Sonoma bug, what happens if you use the search function in the online version of the APub V2 help? Try it in https://affinity.help/publisher2/en-US.lproj/index.html or https://affinity.help/publisher2/English.lproj/index.html or whatever other language version you use.

EDIT: You can also use the Contents section of the online help & as above expand the Panels section & scroll down to the Table panel entry & open it, like with https://affinity.help/publisher2/en-US.lproj/pages/Panels/tablePanel.html for US English.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.0 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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It is not a Sonoma bug, as I said other Apps search works, this is specific to Affinity.

On-line search works because it is using browser engine not Apple's Help library.

I appreciate there might be work arounds, which I will use, but it is a distraction from getting things done.

Reminds me of working in Linux. Spending more time searching bug/UI/UX glitches than on work. 🤷🏻‍♂️

I can do all of this much, much faster in Pages, just thought I'd have a try with the latest version 2.2 of the Affinity Apps to see if they are useful. I also have the Adobe Apps.

If I can overcome the problems with the Affinity Apps, I might use them on my PCs where I do not have Apple's creative/productivity Apps.

Was also going to experiment with MsOffice and the Google Apps.

____________________________________________________

How do I set up my sig. I have been hunting for where to do that but can't find it.

Edited by Peter Breis
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2 minutes ago, Peter Breis said:

It is not a Sonoma bug, as I said other Apps search works, this is specific to Affinity.

By "Sonoma bug," I just meant a bug in the Affinity apps that affects Macs running Sonoma.

3 minutes ago, Peter Breis said:

On-line search works because it is using browser engine not Apple's Help library.

Just to be clear about it, it isn't Apple's help library; it is the HTML-based help pages Serif created & put online to support the Affinity apps. You can access the web portal from within the apps from the Help menu: choose the "Affinity Publisher 2 Learning Portal" item & in the web page that opens, scroll down to where it says "Online help (V2)" & click the Online Help button. You might also want to create a browser bookmark for it as I have, for quick access.

That portal page also has links to the YouTube videos & QuickStart guide, which may be useful for learning more about how the apps work.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.0 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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Understood, but macOS has a Library that does all the hard yards of finding and linking to menu items in Apps etc, that it appears Serif did not use.

I am well aware of the Affinity documentation and videos and have them all downloaded and will go through them.

I am also aware that many people like using YouTube videos to learn new subjects, I use them myself, but for in-depth learning of software nothing beats or is faster to consult well written documentation in book form that you can correct and annotate.

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Ich verstehe diese Diskussion nicht, die Hilfe die in Affinity Programmen unter F1 zu finden ist ist für mich eine der besten Hilfen die von Programmherstellern geschrieben wird.
Alle Benutzerhandbücher die von Externen Verlagen geschrieben werden sind doch nur der Abklatsch mit anderen Worten der Affinity Hilfe unter F1,
Das Problem ist bei diesen Büchern bei der nächsten Update Version kann man diese in den Müll werfen weil nichts mehr richtig beschrieben ist!

Wenn ich denke wie viel sich seid November 2022 geändert hat. Da kann nur die mitinstallierte Hilfe halbwegs helfen, obwohl das meiste erklärt sich von selbst, man darf nur niemals die Programschritte von Adobe zum Gedanken machen, Adobe kann es nicht!

I don't understand this discussion, the help that can be found in Affinity programs under F1 is for me one of the best help written by program manufacturers. All user manuals written by external publishers are just copies, in other words, of Affinity Help under F1, The problem with these books is that with the next update version you can throw them in the trash because nothing is described correctly anymore! When I think how much has changed since November 2022. Only the help that is installed can be of some help, although most of it is self-explanatory, you just should never think about Adobe's program steps, Adobe can't do it!

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34 minutes ago, Peter Breis said:

Understood, but macOS has a Library that does all the hard yards of finding and linking to menu items in Apps etc, that it appears Serif did not use

Actually, that is exactly what Serif used for finding menu items -- since it is built into the macOS, there is no way of avoiding it.

So what I think you mean instead is the HTML-based help book support built into the macOS & the locally stored help topics displayed by the Help Viewer app. While Apple does provide a lot of info about how to construct the help books, authoring help books is not as simple as it might seem, as this archived developer doc explains.

In particular, if Apple changes something fundamental like how Help Viewer app works in a new version of the macOS, then help books may need to be revised, particularly if there is some bug introduced in how the indexes are searched or whatever.

Note that I'm not saying it is Apple's bug that prevents it from working, only that it is a possibility that Serif will have to look into before getting it to work in Sonoma.

Meanwhile, if you have an internet connection, you can use the online help. I think you should also be able to open help book topics in a browser directly from the help bundle stored in /Applications/Affinity Publisher 2.app/Contents/Resources/AffinityPublisher.help/Contents/Resources/ in the appropriate language sub folder found there, but I have no way of testing that on Sonoma, or if the search function would work if you did that.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.0 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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There is a known bug with searching Affinity v1 and v2 help in Sonoma. This is an Affinity-specific issue on Sonoma. The same single result will be shown regardless of what you type into the search field.

For now you must use the online help at https://affinity.help and search from there.

 

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33 minutes ago, Westerwälder said:

I don't understand this discussion...

The problem for @Peter Breis is that the search function for the locally stored help topics on Macs running the Sonoma version of the macOS do not work correctly.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.0 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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5 minutes ago, MikeTO said:

For now you must use the online help at https://affinity.help and search from there.

It may be possible for Sonoma users to open the locally stored help book files in a browser from the file path I mentioned above (basically the same path @walt.farrell mentioned here). It would be interesting to know if searching works any better if done that way....

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.0 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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4 minutes ago, R C-R said:

It may be possible for Sonoma users to open the locally stored help book files in a browser from the file path I mentioned above (basically the same path @walt.farrell mentioned here). It would be interesting to know if searching works any better if done that way....

It's opening in Safari so search works fine. It's only when it's opened in the macOS help viewer that there's a problem.

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6 minutes ago, R C-R said:

Das Problem für@Peter Breis liegt daran, dass die Suchfunktion für die lokal gespeicherten Hilfethemen auf Macs mit der Sonoma-Version von macOS nicht richtig funktioniert.

Überteuerte Hardware mit vielen Software Problemen und für mich vollkommen unbedienbar, habe vor einiger Zeit bei einem Fotofreund was erklären sollen auf dem Mac. Unmöglich, weil unbeschreiblich lahm!

Overpriced hardware with lots of software problems and completely unusable for me. Some time ago I had to explain something to a photo friend on the Mac. Impossible because it's indescribably lame!

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2 minutes ago, Westerwälder said:

Overpriced hardware with lots of software problems and completely unusable for me. Some time ago I had to explain something to a photo friend on the Mac. Impossible because it's indescribably lame!

I have no idea what you mean by that but if you are referring to the price of Macs, a lot of people think they are neither overpriced for what they offer nor have anywhere as many OS software problems as Windows.

Of course, YMMV.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.0 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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You can also point Safari or other browser of your choice to the Help files that are supplied in the application, if you want access to them while offline.

For more info: 

 

-- 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 17.5, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.5

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