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Error export PDF - Designer 2.1.0 on MacOS


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Hi @CristianR,

I think we will need a little more information about your Designer document... Firstly, is this a file you can upload to the forum so we can take a look at what may be causing the issue?

If not one of the moderators can provide a private Dropbox link for you to upload your file to if you request one by replying to this post.

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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Same issue here. After upgrading to 2.1.0 it stopped to export pdf with that same error message.

I tried to save on different folders (outside iCloud), such as Dropbox or Downloads, to no avail.

Please help because I have some urgent work and I cannot save them!

Is there any way to downgrade to a previous version which doesn't have this bug?

(attached one of the document I want to export)

Astucci_standard.afdesign

Edited by Thomas Serafini
I attached the document which generates the error
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Hi @Thomas Serafini,

I very much suspect that your Designer file has become in some way corrupted. Copying and pasting the contents from the file you uploaded to a new document then exports it without any issues... :)

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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Hi @Hangman,

thank you for checking. Almost all my designs saved with the 2.0.3 version, when opened with the 2.1 cannot be exported in pdf. Can't imagine that all of them are suddenly all corrupted. I tried several of them, when faced the export issue for the first time, trying to understand how can I solve.

The file I attached was just an example, I can send so many other with the same export problem.

I have many designs created with the 2.0.3 which I can open and export with the 2.0.3 but I cannot export with the 2.1, so I don't think they are corrupted.

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Hi @Thomas Serafini,

Have at any point the files you are having issues with been either directly saved or stored on a cloud drive, external drive or NAS? If they have that would be the first likely candidate for potential file corruption, if that is indeed what is happening here (which equally may not be the case).

Are you happy to upload a couple of other files exhibiting the same issue so we can take a closer look at what might be happening here.

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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On 5/24/2023 at 12:50 PM, Hangman said:

Hi @CristianR,

I think we will need a little more information about your Designer document... Firstly, is this a file you can upload to the forum so we can take a look at what may be causing the issue?

If not one of the moderators can provide a private Dropbox link for you to upload your file to if you request one by replying to this post.

This is an example.

giro isola k.afdesign

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In case you need for testing, I think I found a way to consistently reproduce the issue:
1. Import the second page of one of the attached pdfs
2. save the project in a .afdesign file
3. open the .afdesign
4. Export to PDF fails

The same steps in Affinity Designer 2.0.3 works with no issues.

Astucci_standard_ad76e7a1f96c56a58a95191eb4c80e02.pdf Astucci_standard_5821a4ac539c9ebe055642bee983b292.pdf

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Hi @Thomas Serafini,

This definitely appears to be a bug, I'm seeing the same issue with both your files following the steps you outlined regardless of whether the PDF is opened or placed. No PDF Preview is generated and the file fails to export but as you say it's fine in earlier versions of Designer.

One of the moderation team will log this as a bug, or add your report if it's already a known bug.

Many thanks

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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Hi @CristianR,

Out of interest, does your Designer file also originate from a multi-page pdf file? I'm just wondering if the error you are seeing is a result of the same bug?

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Staff

Thanks for your posts, this problem has been reported to the developers

2.1.0 has improved handling of information fields from PDFs than 2.0.4 was, but unfortunately the information in these PDFs is causing a problem on export. If you open the PDFs (in Publisher) and look in 

Window > References > Fields
Note that the Subject field has 2 unsupported characters. If you delete those and press ENTER (to force the Subject field change to take, which is a separate bug) the file should export as expected

 

If you do not have publisher, perhaps someone here can tweak your .afdesign file to remove those characters (in any files you need to export, sorry)

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon

 

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Hello,

 

 I have the same problem on affinity publisher after opening an existing PDF. failed to export PDF.

I went back to 2.0.4 version which works fine

 

PS : The workaround in the references > fields panel works

Edited by grabuge
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Hi @Patrick Connor,

I'm confused... :)

The source files, from both users, are Affinity Designer files and neither export to pdf without generating a The file could not be created error message... Opening both AD files in APub and exporting to pdf generates the same The file could not be created error message.

Going to Window > References > Fields, the Subject field appears to be empty, but simply clicking in the Subject field, without selecting anything or hitting the delete key followed by the Enter key then allows one of the two files (but not both) to be exported to pdf but and it's not consistent which file can or can't be exported after simply clicking once in the Subject field. To export the second file which can be either of the two, you do have to click in the Subject field and hit delete before the second file can be exported.

Looking at both pdf files provided by @Thomas Serafini by opening them in Publisher and going to Window > References > Fields, again, the subject field appears to be empty but following the same process does then allow the opened pdf files to be re-exported to pdf.

@Thomas Serafini suggests the files were created with the 2.0.3 but I'm unsure if this means they were created using third party software, exported to pdf and then opened in AD, the metadata for the two pdf's he supplied shows both the Content Creator and Encoding Software as pdf-lib (https://github.com/Hopding/pdf-lib) rather than Serif Affinity Designer and PDFlib+PDI 9.3.1-i so I'm curious, do we know the source of the two unsupported characters, i.e.,

  1. How and when are these characters being generated?
  2. How are you able to see them in the Subject field under Window > References > Fields in Publisher when the field appears to be empty?
  3. Why does simply clicking in the Subject field without deleting anything allow one but not both files to be exported to pdf?
  4. Why do you have to click in the Subject field and hit delete to export the second pdf file?

Is this not an Affinity software bug rather than a specific pdf issue or am I missing something here...

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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15 minutes ago, Return said:

This is what I see on windows(11)
You can clearly see the two characters in the subject field.

This is not the case on macOS as shown in the screen recording which was the reason for asking the question... :)

When you single mouse click in the Subject field where does your cursor appear, after the two characters or as per macOS before them, i.e., at the start of the of the Subject field text entry box?

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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  • Staff

Apologies, just to clear things up:

33 minutes ago, Hangman said:

The source files, from both users, are Affinity Designer files and neither export to pdf without generating a The file could not be created error message... Opening both AD files in APub and exporting to pdf generates the same The file could not be created error message.

The PDF import change implemented in 2.1.0 affects both Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher, however only Affinity Publisher has the Fields Studio available, and therefore Publisher is unfortunately currently required in order to workaround this issue. Our team are working to resolve the invalid characters being imported into this Subject field and hope to have this resolved in an upcoming update.

35 minutes ago, Hangman said:

Going to Window > References > Fields, the Subject field appears to be empty, but simply clicking in the Subject field, without selecting anything or hitting the delete key followed by the Enter key then allows one of the two files (but not both) to be exported to pdf but and it's not consistent which file can or can't be exported after simply clicking once in the Subject field. To export the second file which can be either of the two, you do have to click in the Subject field and hit delete before the second file can be exported.

This is a difference between macOS and Windows in how this bug manifests in Publisher - the invalid characters are imported with the PDF on both OS's, but only on Windows are these shown within the Fields Studio. This is also logged with the team and should be resolved when fixing the aforementioned invalid character import.

38 minutes ago, Hangman said:

How and when are these characters being generated?

I'm less certain of the specifics here, I believe this is due to a change in the PDF importer in 2.1.0, and can affect a variety of PDF files being imported - but is not triggered with all PDF files.

As I understand it, this means that both PDFs generated by previous versions of Affinity, or by other applications could trigger this issue when importing into 2.1.0.

Unfortunately I don't quite know enough about the PDF library / importer change that Affinity uses to confirm the exact origin of these characters, as they aren't shown when inspecting the PDF 'Subject' with other PDF applications (such as Acrobat).

41 minutes ago, Hangman said:

How are you able to see them in the Subject field under Window > References > Fields in Publisher when the field appears to be empty?

Covered above.

42 minutes ago, Hangman said:

Why does simply clicking in the Subject field without deleting anything allow one but not both files to be exported to pdf?

Why do you have to click in the Subject field and hit delete to export the second pdf file?

I suspect this is an extension of the fact that these invalid characters are not shown in this dialog, and therefore in certain circumstances simply clicking in the dialog is enough for the app to detect an empty input field, whereas in other files you have to actually remove these hidden, invalid characters. As above our team resolving these invalid characters being imported in the first place should resolve this, as there should then be no hidden/invalid characters in these fields at all.

I hope this helps :)

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Hi @Dan C,

Many thanks for the comprehensive and detailed reply, that all makes a lot more sense now... :)

I was curious as to the reference to the Hopding/pdf-lib in the two pdf files uploaded by @Thomas Serafini, does the reference relate to the updated pdf library/importer Affinity now uses or is this more likely from the software originally used to generate the pdf files?

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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  • Staff

No problem at all!

12 minutes ago, Hangman said:

I was curious as to the reference to the Hopding/pdf-lib in the two pdf files uploaded by @Thomas Serafini, does the reference relate to the updated pdf library/importer Affinity now uses or is this more likely from the software originally used to generate the pdf files?

Inspecting the files in Acrobat, it appears as though these PDFs were created by 'PixartPrinting S.P.A' in an application that was not Affinity, hence the PDF library used is not Affinitys.

I too am curious as to the users exact workflow, as I have imported their PDF into Publisher 2.0.4, where the Fields are not imported, then saved the .afpub file and opened this in 2.1.0. This file then exports as expected in 2.1.0, as the Subject Field was never imported :)

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Hi @grabuge,

Would you be able to upload the pdf file you're using so we can take a quick look...

Could you also confirm the source of your pdf file, i.e., the software used to create it?

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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Hi @Dan C and @Patrick Connor,

So, it turns out the cause of the pdf export bug is quite straightforward... it's caused when using either a zero width no-break space and/or accented characters in the Subject field of an Affinity Publisher document...

Taking a look at the pdf template file metadata for the files uploaded by @Thomas Serafini which were downloaded from pixartprinting, when you look at the Subject entry, (shown as Template in Acrobat), the template itself uses Hex code to define the majority of fields...

At the start of most fields, i.e., Creator, Title, Author and Subject, the Hex code starts with FEFF which is the Hex code for a zero width no-break space. When included in the Subject field of an Affinity Publisher document you will see The file could not be created error message when attempting to export an opened pdf file.

Note 1: This only affects the Subject field in Publisher, other fields using zero width no-break space or accented characters are not affected...

Note 2: On macOS, if the Subject field is populated with either a zero width no-break space or accented character, when the exported pdf is opened in Publisher the Subject field appears to be empty, I'm assuming on Windows this is where the two empty (rectangle) characters are displayed?

ExifData800.png.5e3c04c7fb4070bae6e8bf918c4c8052.png

Note 3: Please excuse the apparent 'pauses' during the screen recording, this is down to fans kicking in (something to do with the excessive UK heatwave we're enjoying at the moment, read 20°C or maybe just poor QT performance on Intel Macs in general)... 🌞

 

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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  • Staff

Thanks @Hangman that's very helpful information indeed.

@Dan C

Please make an additional bug report on the failure to import these fields correctly, which then exposes the export bug (Note, even if these characters start importing correctly from this sort of file, the export bug will still needs fixing for when these sort of characters are pasted into the fields values for example)

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon

 

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16 hours ago, Hangman said:

Hi @grabuge,

Would you be able to upload the pdf file you're using so we can take a quick look...

Could you also confirm the source of your pdf file, i.e., the software used to create it?

Hello, mine too was created by pixelartprinting. here it is attached

 Interesting to note that preview also fails to appear in the export window.

 

The day before, I had the very same problem with another PDF (I must be very unlucky and was about to ask for a refund - we just got 20 licences) that had been sent by an engineering company we work with.

here it is attached as well. it seems it has been created with PDCreator Free 5.0.1 (says the description). I erased some of the sensitive content as it is work in progress.

 

 Simply open any of those two pdf in publisher and try to export to PDF. modifying the field fixes it.

 

roll up.pdf zoning copy.pdf

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