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No real documentation is a PITA!

I don't know how many (too Many!) times I have looked at the help to find it of no help!

Now I'm looking to find out what the sponge brush does. Is it in the help NO! Are any of the tools in Help NO!!

Don't you think it's time for a paid app to have proper documentation?

I know there are the acclaimed tutorials but just try to find one single thing good luck.

COME ON Document the apps.

 

Mac MacBook Pro 15 in.  OS X 10.9.5, Mid 2012 456.77 GB Affinity Design and Photo.

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?? I typed "sponge" into the search box in the Affinity Photo Help window & the first item suggested was "Sponge Brush Tool. Clicking on that opened the help page shown in the attached screen shot.

 

Tip: the search box in the help window works much better than the search box in the Help menu item.

post-3524-0-88313200-1457752515_thumb.png

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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"Tip: the search box in the help window works much better than the search box in the Help menu item."

 

I think I need to explain more about what I meant by that. I have noticed that it can take a while before searching with the Help menu item shows anything besides Menu Items, particularly if the separate Help system window isn't already open & displaying the app's help topics. For example, it took around 6-8 seconds before any of the items in the Help Topic section appeared for the simple searches shown below:

post-3524-0-48978100-1457754992_thumb.png

 

There is also often a delay when using the separate Help system window for searches, but at least there you usually get the spinning wheel "wait" icon indicating it is still searching for relevant help topics (sometimes both locally & on the Internet), & the delay before the help topic 'hit' list appears frequently is shorter than with Help menu searches.

 

This is not limited to the Affinity apps. Many apps that rely on the OS X help system to display help items do the same thing. From what I can tell, this is the result of several things, including how extensively the topics are indexed, how many help files there are for the app, & how quickly a transaction between a remote help file server & the local computer can be completed if that is involved.

 

Anyway, the point of all this TL;DR blather is you need to be patient when using the help system if you want to see everything it can (eventually) provide.

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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All well and good but does not answer the question as to when we will get proper Documentation.

As for the help on my slower Mac Mavericks Help is slow to load if it does load the first time usually have to open twice if I had a pdf there it would be opened.

Mac MacBook Pro 15 in.  OS X 10.9.5, Mid 2012 456.77 GB Affinity Design and Photo.

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I sympathize with your difficulties using a slow Mac but it is true that all the tools are documented in Affinity Photo Help. It may seem like putting it all in one massive PDF is a good idea but there are some problems with that.

 

The OS X help system actually is organized into "books" that are very similar to web sites, in that they are comprised of numerous html documents, jpeg & png image files, Javascripts, & css stylesheets. Like web pages, this makes possible links between topics (like in the "See Also" section at the end of most topics) that do not require everything to be loaded into memory at once. It also makes possible interactive stuff like the before/after sliders in the images that illustrate some of the topics, & probably most importantly file & memory efficient multi-language support.

 

You can see how it is all organized by opening /Applications/Affinity Photo.app/Contents/Resources/AffinityPhoto.help/Contents/ in a Finder window (using the Finder's Go menu "Go to folder..." item & entering that file path):

post-3524-0-28748500-1457866820_thumb.png

Notice the sizes of the folders, particularly the "shared" one that contains everything common to all the language versions. 19.7 MB plus the 3 to 9 MB or so of the files needed for any of the supported languages may not seem like too much to put into one PDF document, but the problem with that is hundreds of those files are compressed jpegs, so displaying them in a large PDF means the decompressed images would have to be expanded & placed in active memory. On a slow system with not much memory installed, this would result in sluggish performance, not just for reading the PDF but for every open app.

 

Once you know that the Affinity Photo Help "book" is organized like a web site there is one trick you might find somewhat useful (but see below). Open the "lproj" folder for your preferred language & look for the index.html file. (For example, for U.S. English it would be the "en-US.lproj" folder & the full path to it would be /Applications/Affinity Photo.app/Contents/Resources/AffinityPhoto.help/Contents/Resources/en-US.lproj/index.html)

 

Double-click on that file & it should open very quickly in your default browser, ideally Safari. Add a browser bookmark for that page. (It will be converted into something like "file:///Applications/Affinity%20Photo.app/Contents/Resources/AffinityPhoto.help/Contents/Resources/en-US.lproj/index.html") & give the bookmark a name (I use "AP Help").

 

Do this & you can quickly open the main AP help page in your browser whenever you want, & it should not hog so many system resources that it slows down everything else.

 

There is one problem with this: you lose the search function the help system provides so you will have to rely on the table of contents sidebar & the links in the help pages to navigate through the topics. But that isn't entirely a bad thing because the ToC is organized into topics much like a manual would be, & because everything is a web page the browser back & forward page buttons, links, etc. all work like they would for any web site. You can even add more bookmarks for topics you want quick access to, maybe in a bookmark folder you can access from Safari's sidebar or whatever.

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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  • Staff

All well and good but does not answer the question as to when we will get proper Documentation.

 

Hi, both Photo and Designer ship with comprehensive help documentation that does provide information on each tool, filter and adjustment available. It is also searchable, but the search mechanics are somewhat out of our hands as they are part of Apple's Help app (this is in reference to speed and caching issues). All we can do is index the topics accurately and make them easier for users to find.

 

A printed handbook for Designer is in development, with one planned for Photo later, but any suggestions to make the help more accessible are always welcome. Are you able to explain your initial difficulties with the help that led to not being able to find what you wanted?

 

Thanks

Product Expert (Affinity Photo) & Product Expert Team Leader

@JamesR_Affinity for tutorial sneak peeks and more
Official Affinity Photo tutorials

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I see the frustration if the search function is slow.

It's possible to print the "help section" and use it as a handbook.

- Affinity Photo 2.3.0
- Affinity Designer 2.3.0
-Affinity Publisher 2.3.0

 

MacBook Pro 16 GB
MacOS Sonoma 14.1.2

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A printed handbook for Designer is in development, with one planned for Photo later, but any suggestions to make the help more accessible are always welcome.

What might be helpful is to put the help topics on the web, similar to how Apple does for their Photos app at https://help.apple.com/photos/mac/. Basically, it would be the same thing as the local version like I explained how to use in my trick, but with the addition of the all important search button at the top & the supporting javascript so the topics can be searched.

 

This not only might help work around the slow response of the built-in help system but also would make it possible for prospective buyers to access it at their leisure without worrying about running out of time with the trail version. It would also make it accessible on iPhones, iPads, PC's etc. from anywhere there is an Internet connection.

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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@ R C-R: That is a fantastic idea! "It would also make it accessible on iPhones, iPads, PC's etc. from anywhere there is an Internet connection."

Late night reading on my iPod or iPad.

Mac MacBook Pro 15 in.  OS X 10.9.5, Mid 2012 456.77 GB Affinity Design and Photo.

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