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Improve usability of Affinity Designer

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I am currently using the Affinity Beta for PC and altough I am thinking to switch from Illustrator to Affinity Designer, there are some points that could need some polish. Most of them are minor UI changes.


One of them, and maybe the biggest, is how Affinity handles layers.

I cannot count how often I just wanted to drag one layer on top or below a certain one and ended up masking them or grouping together.

I know there is a dedicated button to do that but I want to know exactly where my layer is right now and not guess and count how often I pressed to "move layer up" button. 


Second issue I had is the way Artboards are managed.

Right now they simply behave like a regular layer which often leads to unwanted selections or movement of the artboard, when I just wanted to select an object.

This could be easily improved by giving the Artboard tool more "power" and just allowing to resize or change artboards when the Artboard button is clicked.


Otherwise I like the clean UI of Affinity Designer very much and hope that the developers will improve the software wisely and avoid it to become a second Photoshop or Illustrator with 1000 hidden menus and functions nobody can find anymore. 


Keep up the great work!



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Hi Duskolo,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

Thanks for your feedback.


Regarding layers: you can control exactly where the layer will be positioned within the Layers panel. Just pay attention to the horizontal cursor movement. Moving it left or right let's you define exactly where the object will be placed - you should see a blue horizontal line/indicator changing position when you move the cursor horizontally to tell you where the object will be dropped.


Regarding the Artboards, there's no way to accidentally select an Artboard on the canvas with the Move Tool. You can only do this with the Artboard Tool.

This mean there's only two ways to select them:

- the user changes to the Artboard Tool and click on them on the canvas

- the user explicitly select the Artboard from the Layers panel no matter the tool used

Both cases imply conscious actions from user's part.

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  • 1 month later...

Being very new to AD, the handling of artboards is the first problem I've encountered. I've seen by searching the forums that there's been many like me who favour Illustrators abstracted artboards and don't at all like them mixing with layers. Is there a way to eventually see an option to 'hide' artboards from the layers panel hierarchy? This would surely accommodate both types of users.

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I don't fully understand the artboard tool in Designer compared to Illustrator. I'm used to using it similarly as changing the canvas size manually in a bitmap program. When I find the document size I'm happy with in Designer, I click "Delete" to remove the artboard from the Layers panel and remove the gray background. I then have the document size I want to work with, but I'm not sure if that's the proper thing to do.


As for the second issue, I can relate. I love having the ability to create various sublayers, but the overall Layers panel is a bit slow and the indicators are not too clear. Not a big issue though.

The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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