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Designer 2.3
I'm trying to export my artwork to a PDF file including layers. Even if I check this option in to the export tab, the created PDF doesn't include layers viewed by any PDF reader. They only appear in Designer. Is there a way to export layers even for PDF viewers?

Regards

Edited by jimpap
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Welcome to the forums @jimpap

Some versions of the PDF format don’t allow for exporting with layers intact.

Also, if you have used Effects and/or some other functionalities then the export may not, in some situations, contain any layers because of rasterisation.

There may also be various other issues.

If you can share the AFDESIGN document then we can have a look at it and try to see what the problem is.
Otherwise we are just guessing at what the problem could be because of the many possibilities.

Also, can you give us screenshots of your export options so we can check them against what you are trying to do?

Note: Some PDF viewers may not handle layers so if you can tell us which PDF viewer(s) you are using we can check them (in a basic way) for ‘compliance’ with the exported PDF.

Note: Starting to export to a PDF version which allows for layers, turning ON Include Layers, then switching to a PDF version which doesn’t allow for layers will automatically turn Include Layers OFF, and it will not be automatically turned back ON when switching back to a PDF version that does allow for layers. (This is something that the developers might need to fix.)

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Hi @jimpap and another warm welcome to the forum,

2 hours ago, jimpap said:

I'm trying to export my artwork to a PDF file including layers. Even if I check this option in to the export tab, the created PDF doesn't include layers viewed by any PDF reader. They only appear in Designer. Is there a way to export layers even for PDF viewers?

You need to use Layers with a Capital 'L' in Affinity Designer created by either clicking the 'Add Layer' icon at the bottom of the Layers panel or via the Layer Menu using 'Layer > New Layer'.

Then when exporting to PDF ensure you have 'Include layers' enabled and you will then be able to view the Layers in any PDF reader that supports Layers, e.g., Acrobat Reader, Foxit PDF Reader, Evince etc.,

Note: If you're on Mac, Apple Preview doesn't support viewing Layers...

Note: Layers are only supported in PDF 1.5 and above...

Affinity Designer 2.4.2 | Affinity Photo 2.4.2 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.2
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.7.4, Magic Mouse

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Most importantly, please note the "Layers" that will be exported to PDF layers (OCG = optional content groups), and viewable e.g. in Adobe Acrobat and other viewers supporting these layers, need to be "Layer" layers: that is, specifically containers that in Affinity apps are called as "Layers" (with capital L). 

image.png.6fa2170882be14a3270c26f893350314.png

Layers_designer_v2.pdf

Additionally: if your intention was to share a PDF with layers with other applications, to maintain organization of the design, it is good to understand that e.g. Illustrator (at least up to CS6) does not read in OCG layers, at all (they are a different thing than native layers Illustrator uses):

Illustrator:

image.png.a7659126be5d1d4fe20635e3e2ad362f.png

It is interesting to note that Affinity apps themselves do read in the OCG layer structure when they open PDFs, so basically PDF specs themselves appear to support sharing OCG layer structure (at least some levels deep). Illustrator itself e.g. only exports top level layers to OCG layers.

But e.g. Inkscape does read in OCG layers and maintains layer names and hierarchy (at least to 2nd level):

image.png.ef5db8706d4f44aa3b060d296bb36bbf.png
 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Issue solved, thank you all for the super fast and deep analysis!!! 

2 hours ago, GarryP said:

export options

my export options were the default digital-small size with no altered options

2 hours ago, GarryP said:

which PDF viewer(s) you are using

was tested in PDF Xchange Viewer, WPS, and Acrobat Reader

2 hours ago, GarryP said:

share the AFDESIGN document

did so for future reference, I upload the original my first "erroneous" attempt, and a second version with PDFs including layers

@Hangman before posting this topic I read your answer to another, similar topic. Now, + @lacerto it is much more clear to me how "Layers" work. ("3rd degree" test?! - respect!)

Thank you ALL!

jp1.afdesign jp1.pdf jp2.afdesign jp2.pdf

Edited by jimpap
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  • Staff
On 1/7/2024 at 10:13 AM, lacerto said:

I now made a "3rd degree" test and it seems Affinity apps have an error reading in back what they write:

 

When reading the PDF back in:

 

That it is a reading error, can be proven if the same PDF is opened in Inkscape:

 

 

Hi Lacerto,

Would you be able to provide the .afpublisher file used in this demonstration so I can log this issue with our developers?

Thanks
C

Please tag me using @ in your reply so I can be sure to respond ASAP.

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15 hours ago, Callum said:

Would you be able to provide the .afpublisher file used in this demonstration so I can log this issue with our developers?

I seemed to have deleted it but re-created it now based on a generated PDF and the one attached below should behave similarly (it was initially a Designer 2.3.0 file but this one, created with 2.3.1, still seems to behave similarly, so [a PDF export created from ] it opens fine in Inkscape but a bit confused in Designer 2.3.1).

Layers_designer_v2_threelevels.afdesign

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