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Is there any way to lock guides?

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1 hour ago, A_B_C said:

So as long as I can grab a guide on the canvas and move it, regardless of the currently implemented behaviour, the system will be prone to accidental changes of any sort. Just have a look at my video below. It’s not a really long way to go from rotating a shape to moving a guide.

You could say the same thing about it not being a long way to go to switch from rotating a shape to resizing it. In fact, the distance you have to move the pointer to switch between resizing & rotating is smaller than between rotating & moving the guide, so doesn't that mean the app is more prone to accidental changes of that sort than the other?

If that's true, & you are so worried about accidental changes of any sort, then would it not be at least as important to provide a button to lock out either rotating or resizing an object with the Move Tool? If that is true, then why not yet another button to lock out skewing/shearing since that also can be done accidentally?

Besides, the pointer very obviously changes shape when switching among rotating, resizing, skewing, & guide moving modes. Isn't that sufficient to warn most users that they might be about to do something other than what they intended?

More to the point, if one is worried about preventing accidental changes of any sort, there is no end to the amount of 'goof proofing' that would be required.

2 hours ago, A_B_C said:

Personally, I am in favour of a guide system that would allow to attach guides to a layer, such that we can have different sets of guide systems in the same document that can be toggled on and off.

So am I. But that is yet another potential source for making accidental changes because someone might use the wrong guide set. For that matter, someone might turn off the snap to guides option or turn off snapping completely, or use a different preset than the intended one.

When you get right down to it, there is very little in the app that isn't prone to some sort of unintended use if a user is not paying enough attention to what they are doing, or to the feedback provided by the different cursors or status bar info or the various tool & panel icons. If users are not doing that, there is no fix for it.


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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No offence, R C-R, but I give up at this point. I put my trust in the developers that they will understand that having a guide lock option is a legitimate request. -_-

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43 minutes ago, A_B_C said:

No offence, R C-R, but I give up at this point. I put my trust in the developers that they will understand that having a guide lock option is a legitimate request. -_-

No offense taken, but while I believe this to be a legitimate request, I still think it is just one of the many such requests for 'goof-proofing' the app that would unnecessarily complicate the UI, making various kinds of 'goofs' more rather than less likely.

One of the things I like most about the Affinity apps is the 'less is more' nature of the UI. In particular, I really like that I can do so many different things with the Move Tool just by changing where on the canvas I use it, without having to go to the toolbar or worry about which buttons or modes are enabled. I have worked with apps that instead require the use of different tools for different functions -- even one that requires the use of separate tools to perform selections, translations, rotations, & so on, if you can believe that -- & they all feel archaic in comparison to the Affinity Move Tool.

I get that this does make some accidents more likely, & requires more care to avoid them, but I think it is a good compromise, one that lets me do much more faster than would otherwise be possible.

As always, YMMV.


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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Don’t get me wrong … I perfectly understand your intention, and I would wholeheartedly subscribe to the principles of usability and avoidance of clutter you are advocating so vigorously. I just don’t see why a simple menu option, as it was available in Pagemaker in the 1980s – and is, to repeat myself, available in every other professional graphic design app I am aware of –, should “clutter” the interface of the Affinity apps. I really don’t care for a button on the main toolbar. The developers could hide the guide lock option in a submenu, should it prove too difficult to create a layer-based guide system at the moment, but nonetheless, it would be a huge relief and a great improvement for my workflow, if I could just lock my guides. -_-

I think you have to acknowledge that the option of locking guides is present in these other apps for a purpose, and it is present there for over thirty years now. It is needed, it is simple and effective. I don’t see how the current approach could provide the same qualities. :(

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For me, it isn't just about avoiding clutter. It is also about avoiding the need to go into a menu or click a button to avoid doing something I can quite easily avoid doing simply by paying attention to the visual cues the app offers, & likewise about letting me do whatever I want to do when I want to do it without having to bother with checking anything that might otherwise prevent me from doing it.

2 hours ago, A_B_C said:

I think you have to acknowledge that the option of locking guides is present in these other apps for a purpose, and it is present there for over thirty years now.

In Affinity, the original issue users complained about was that one could not do anything under a guide on the canvas because it was above all other objects. That issue could have been & indeed briefly was resolved in the beta using the 'old school' method of adding a lock guides option, but that does have the drawbacks mentioned above; so at least to me that makes the current beta behavior a better, more elegant & less complicated resolution of that particular issue.


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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Based on the lastest Publisher beta, as far as I can tell no method to lock guides is available.

Here is why the current guides and columns implementation is a rather misguided one (pun intended ;-)

First, let's list @R C-R's objections to a guide lock feature:

  1. perform many different tasks with the move tool based on canvas position;
  2. accidents are more likely &  this workflow requires more care, but works faster than otherwise would be possible;
  3. avoids the need to open a menu or click a button to lock guides (extra work), and vice versa no need to deactivate a guide lock (less work) and prevents me from being unable to work with existing guides.
  4. adds interface/workflow clutter, making goofs more likely
  5. what would prevent the user from accidentally push a lock guides button? A lock guides button is just as prone to accidental mistakes as, for example, the layer lock button.
  6. the current visual cues and hints are more than enough to warn the user and prevent the user from accidentally moving guides with the move tool
  7. adding this lock guides feature may result in endless amounts of 'goof proofing' (because preventing any sort of accidental change would require this: where does one stop?)
  8. the user is just as prone to accidentally move a canvas guide, as they are mistakenly clicking a lock guides button

Next, let's assume we work with a simple magazine-type layout template, consisting of multiple grids (and I would like to emphasize that this is a very simple grid-based layout). As anyone even remotely familiar with layout design is aware of, good layout grid controls are a basic ingredient):

page_grid.thumb.png.736f6c413835a042019990d9e8bc974f.png

Now, before I discuss @R C-R points, this already highlights one of the issues we encounter with Publisher's "innovative" new columns approach: only ONE (1) column grid may be defined per master page (or per page). In page layout design more often than not multiple page grids and sub-grids are defined on any one page and/or page template.

I solved it here by first creating a 12-column grid, then placing guides, and then create a four-column grid. That's as far as I can go: if I want to create another 8-column grid at the top third of the page, or a sub-grid to define image positioning on the right of the text columns, and another one on the left, I encounter several challenges in Affinity Publisher:

  1. The space/layer in which guides live is a "special" guide layer. Only one (1) set of guides can be defined on this "guide plane".
  2. It is impossible to create multiple guide sets. It's either all guides, or none that are visible.
  3. [2] would be somewhat workable if guide presets could be saved. They cannot, so it is not possible to quickly switch between guide sets.
  4. Guides do not really behave like other objects. For example, it is not possible to select multiple guides, and move these simultaneously.

These issues are prevented in other design applications (such as InDesign) by basically treating guides as more or less regular objects. Guides can be placed in any layer. Multiple guide sets can easily be managed with multiple layers.

So what about that snazzy novel Column Guides approach in Publisher? As far as I can tell, it is a work-around to provide a solution for Affinity's limitation that only one set of guides can be defined on the "guide plane". At first glance, it seems like a pretty attractive solution: it is non-destructive, and separating the guides plane from this new grid plane solves the immediate "only one set of guides" limit. And those visually attractive solid columns provide for some nice eye candy in Affinity promotional videos!

But examining this from a workflow point of view, it only exacerbates the entire page layout grid and guides workflow: 

  • still only one guide set possible at any time per page or master page
  • still only one page grid possible at any time per page or page master
  • to work with multiple page grids, the user must create additional master pages, a less than desirable and convoluted workflow taking much more time
  • a quick temporary grid just can't be done without destroying either the guides or overriding the master page's column settings.
  • it is not possible to create guide systems based on selections.

In a sense, Affinity Publisher new Column Guides, being separated from the guides, are really sort-of attempting to find a solution for a problem that never existed, if multiple guide layer/sets would be possible on the same page or master page.

To say that 1 guide set and 1 column/row page grid are enough in page layout design is... Well, it is madness, and displays a complete lack of understanding how layout (semi)professionals work, in my opinion.

The sensible solution would be to either introduce groups in the layer guide manager, and allow these to be individually activated and deactivated on demand, or just drop the current approach, and implement guides as objects which can be used in layers.

 

Anyway, let's return to the topic at hand: the option to lock guides and @R C-R's list of objections to having such an option.

Even the above 12-column grid is a simple and commonly used one. Publications may go up to double that, btw, and introduce many subgrids in InDesign for various things.

Users tend to move things by grabbing the center of the object. In particular when a cross is displayed (check the image objects) a user's eyes will be focused on the center, and they will start dragging from that point. Because two guides are positioned near the center of these images, it becomes exponentially more common for a user to accidentally drag one of the guides, instead of an image object. This immediately is a counter-argument to points [2], [6], and [8]: users will not carefully position their mouse cursors and wait for a visual cursor hint to pop up and then move the object. Users do not wish to or will not second-guess this type of drag and move action: it is kinetic memory at work here, and a user expects the object to move when they move the mouse cursor on top of an object. The focus of the action is the image boxes, not the guides. 

(within this context it is interesting to note that this is related to the selective attention test behaviour and the famous invisible gorilla experiment: humans focus on what is important to them, not on secondary fluff - in this case, guides are not important to think about or focus on).

The result is predictable: users WILL grab those guides by accident OFTEN. They can't help themselves, and they are not to blame: that is just how users visual systems and cognition works. This is why a lock feature is absolutely essential, and why any other design application in the market includes one.

It also means FAR more work to correct mistakes, and this is a counter-argument to point [2]'s assertion that without a guide lock option a user would work faster than otherwise possible. It depends on the situation, of course, but in complex page layouts with many guides this is obviously not true. Even handling a simple page layout with a couple of guides which happen to be close to the center of objects create many more accidental mistakes than expected.

Points [4], [5], [8]: As long as the guide lock option is hidden in a meaningful place in the GUI, accidentally turning it on (or off) becomes nigh-on impossible. For example:

lock2.png.7e7720bb8724bd87a6c636c3a2d6ec5c.png

To lock layers would take a number of conscious steps: Open the menu. Navigate to the Guides menu option. Click. Navigate to the Lock Layers option. Click. Close the window. Too many steps to "goof up" accidentally. Or at least, not very likely. That said, an unsuspecting novice user might find it troublesome to discover guides in a document sent to them cannot be re-positioned. My opinion is that this negative user scenario does not outweigh the positives of a guide lock option for the far majority of users and user scenarios, as proven by other design applications.

As for [4]: We must distinguish between GUI clutter and workflow clutter/inefficiencies. Yes, it does add one more checkbox. Does it clutter the GUI in the above example? I don't think so. It feels like a logical addition. As for the workflow with guides, it would be improved, as already stated.

Besides, novice and low-level users wouldn't even notice this option, because they would probably hardly open this dialog (excepting the user scenario mentioned earlier). Which means nothing essential is lost in either GUI or workflow, and important control over workflow is gained.

[1] [perform many different tasks with the move tool based on canvas position]: nothing would change in this regard if a guide lock feature is implemented. Indeed, it would simplify working with this tool and having many layout elements with a large number of guides. Currently, the only option to prevent accidental guide repositioning in a document with many guides is to switch to the node tool. But the node tool hides text boxes, and cannot be used to move vector objects (other than the "live" vector objects, which is an inconsistency if you think about it).

In short, without a guide lock option the user may actually be forced to use the node tool.

[7] [adding this lock feature may result in endless goof proofing - where does one stop?] No-one in this discussion asked for more than a simple guide locking feature. And I think I have disproved your assertion that a guide lock option would be "goof proofing": instead, it is an expected and common useful addition to assist in complex layout design control. A layer lock option achieves the opposite: it improves the usability of Affinity as layout design software.

Conclusion: a simple guide lock option solves many workflow issues related to Affinity's three apps when dealing with more complex and controlled layouts. Even in relatively simple layout design guides may be accidentally selected instead of the content, depending on the visual status of the document. It also wouldn't increase either GUI clutter or cause an inefficient or confused workflow - rather the opposite.

Aside from this, in my opinion the Affinity Publisher devs are attempting to find a solution for a core issue in all their applications: the single-layered guide plane. The current columns solution works okay for simple layouting, but is merely a work-around for not having to deal with that core issue. My opinion, of course. I am sure many Publisher users will laud this as the most innovative thing ever to be seen in a publishing application. In the meantime InDesign runs circles around Publisher for complex page layout design controls.

[apologies for this rather long piece :-) ]

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I realy liked the lock guides button in the beta. Why not place the button in the costumize toolbar options, if you want to use it drag it in, and if you are affraid to hit this button by accident don't drag it in. Everyone happy :D


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Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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Missed that discussion, but i see that @>|< came up with the same idea. So this must be a great solution ;)


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philips 272p 2560x1440px on intel HD2500 onboard graphics

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10 minutes ago, dutchshader said:

Missed that discussion, but i see that @>|< came up with the same idea. So this must be a great solution ;)

What I found most interesting about that topic (& the reason for the 'stir the pot' emoji) is there were multiple suggestions regarding how guide locks should be implemented ... & objections to each of them.

There were at least four suggestions for where the toggle should be placed, including in the Snapping Manager, on one of the app menus, on the toolbar, & in the Guides Manager. Several people favored a modifier key to unlock & enable moving the guides instead of or in addition to a toggle. Two users, including @paolo.limoncelli of Daub Brushes fame, favored Xara style guides layers.

@Patrick Connor really stirred the pot by mentioning that "long term," it might be possible to lock/unlock guides individually, suggesting that there are still more changes to come in the Guides implementation/functionality.

Something else I noticed from the various comments in both topics: some people use Guides more or less like a second or supplemental form of Grids, usually set once & rarely changed; while others use them more dynamically, adding/removing & moving them on-the-fly as needed. This is probably at least part of the reason there are so many different ideas about how guide locks should be implemented, or if this feature really is needed.

Just some more stuff to think about....


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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I know that there are many options on how to lock guides, but since the code for the button is allready there, for now i think it is easy to implement.


intel core i5,  16GB 128Gb ssd win10 Pro Huion new 1060plus.

philips 272p 2560x1440px on intel HD2500 onboard graphics

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I think having guide presets would be a great idea and also being able to layer guides.


iMac 27" Late 2015 Fully Loaded, iMac 27" Mid 2011 both running High Sierra 10.13.6 - Affinity Designer/Photo, Publisher Beta 1.7.0.140, Illustrator CC, Inkscape, Blender, Sketchup, Pepakura Designer, MTC, Pixelmator & Pixelmator Pro + more... XP-Pen Artist-12, - iPad2 iOS 9.35 B|  Instagram & Flickr - Affinity Designer (ADe) Tutorials - Affinity Photo (APh) Tutorials - Public Domain Images

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On 2/15/2019 at 12:49 PM, dutchshader said:

I know that there are many options on how to lock guides, but since the code for the button is allready there, for now i think it is easy to implement.

A Lock Guides toggle is in the View menu of AD beta 1.7.0.6 for macOS, so it'll be coming to the Windows version soon.

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