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Global Symbols? A.K.A. Symbols shared between documents?


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Assets provide a great way to use the same graphic elements in multiple documents but unlike symbols they are not linked, so changing one instance of an asset placed in one document does not change any other instance, either in that document or in any others that use the same asset.

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  • 2 months later...

It would of course be useful to have a global set of symbols that can be changed and synched across documents.

How would this work? I might have dozens of documents that used one or more global symbols. If I edited any of them in one document, I may not even remember all the other documents that included them, nor would I necessarily want the edits to be applied globally to all of them.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm also looking for the combination of Symbols and Assets, or call it Linked Assets or something like it.

 

Use case:

I have created a logo that is used in multiple documents.

When changing the logo, all documents where an instance of that logo is used, should be updated.

 

The updating of those documents should be done when opening a particular document. Of course, this could be accompanied by a message ("Do you want to update linked assets"). This will mitigate the issue brought up by @R C-R

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The updating of those documents should be done when opening a particular document. Of course, this could be accompanied by a message ("Do you want to update linked assets"). This will mitigate the issue brought up by @R C-R

It still could be problematic if there are dozens of documents using some combination of the same assets. Consider for example a document that includes not just a linked logo but also several linked ones that you do not want updated for that particular document. To cover that situation, the app would need to provide a way to select which assets to update & which to leave as is.

 

It could get very complicated.  :unsure:

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would also like to have that feature. If you add a Symbol to a document and don't want it to sync, you can simply unlink it. It you use lots of global symbols and can't keep track of where they are used, it's a) not much different than having a single document with lots of artboards, and b) it's the users responsibility to not make things overly complicated.

One way to implement this, by the way, would be to allow "Place Image" to link an image instead of embedding it, and refreshing whenever the source file changes. Then, your global symbol would be just a document that contains that symbol only.

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On 9/16/2019 at 4:08 PM, nonresidentalien said:

I would also be in favor of such a feature.

 

 

On 5/8/2019 at 4:19 AM, Apfel said:

I would also like to have that feature. If you add a Symbol to a document and don't want it to sync, you can simply unlink it. It you use lots of global symbols and can't keep track of where they are used, it's a) not much different than having a single document with lots of artboards, and b) it's the users responsibility to not make things overly complicated.

One way to implement this, by the way, would be to allow "Place Image" to link an image instead of embedding it, and refreshing whenever the source file changes. Then, your global symbol would be just a document that contains that symbol only.

You need to post your feature request in the Feedback, Feature Requests and Suggestions Forum.

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  • 1 month later...

For me Symbols are strange experience but maybe I don't want how to use them Affinity way. It looks like good start but with many missing pieces.

1. I miss Replace Symbol functionality. I can't understand why its not there.

2. I miss Edit Symbol. Why I can't just something easy way. I have to dig into groups or something.

3. Why there is no Symbol tools in Publisher. I can't even drag them to the page.

4. I don't understand how symbols are refereced. Sometimes I change them and I it seems some of them are in wrong place.

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27 minutes ago, grzessnik said:

3. Why there is no Symbol tools in Publisher. I can't even drag them to the page.

 

Switch over to the Designer Persona.

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I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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7 hours ago, grzessnik said:

1. I miss Replace Symbol functionality.

Open the "Symbol" layer in the Layers panel and replace its content.

7 hours ago, grzessnik said:

2. I miss Edit Symbol.

Ditto.

7 hours ago, grzessnik said:

4. I don't understand how symbols are refereced. Sometimes I change them and I it seems some of them are in wrong place.

?
Please explain, post a screenshot, screencast, an example document etc.

~~~

As for:

On 10/22/2016 at 1:03 AM, rchrdnsh said:

is there any way to share symbols between multiple documents?

Yep:
Save a symbol as an asset.

It's really that simple!™ ;)

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I too would like to see this feature added. I'm sure the clever brains at Affinity could get this working well and it would be another killer feature. I'd expect it to be a little like resource management in that;

When a document that contains a shared symbol that has been updated is opened, the user would be prompted to update to most recent symbol or detach symbol. How hard can it be - have you seen the progress that webflow has made over the last few years?

I suppose the only hurdle that Affinity would have is that it would require somer kind of cloud system storage where the data relating to the status for the symbol (updated symbol or not) lives, and this could be expensive. However, this approach would open up another entire would of functionality such as being able to sync preference settings and assets between computers etc... 

Please, please, please, make this happen - Affinity, strive for greatness and show those oversized corporations how it's done!

 

EDIT: I would be willing to pay a small monthly fee for this functionality - I think transparency is key, server space costs money...

 

Finally – The Assets pane performs a completely different function from Symbols so don't know how this was added into the conversation!

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Not sure what you are asking for is actually a 'feature' -- Isn't a "global symbol" just a linked file?

I create my logos in Designer, using my own folder structure, and then place them as linked in Publisher. Done.

Might be missing or misunderstanding something though ...

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10 minutes ago, Jens Krebs said:

Not sure what you are asking for is actually a 'feature' -- Isn't a "global symbol" just a linked file?

I create my logos in Designer, using my own folder structure, and then place them as linked in Publisher. Done.

Might be missing or misunderstanding something though ...

I create my logos in Designer, using my own folder structure, and then place them as linked in Publisher. Done.

Not really. That involves too many additional steps and this request was to simplify the work process for Symbols, not make it more complex. Currently Symbols are easy to use and update (albeit with mixed results sometimes) as they are contained within the document file.

The customer doesn't need to know that the file is stored globally, just that when they update the symbol in one document, when opening another document that uses the same symbol, it updates. This would be helpful in many ways when creating documents that rely heavily on a library of assets.

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5 hours ago, robskinn said:

The customer doesn't need to know that the file is stored globally, just that when they update the symbol in one document, when opening another document that uses the same symbol, it updates.

To me, this sounds just like linked files, except possibly for the "stored globally" part. If by that you mean somewhere on a cloud server, I think that would be problematic for several reasons, including accessibility issues & privacy/security concerns.

Affinity Photo 1.10.5, Affinity Designer 1.10.5, Affinity Publisher 1.10.5;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
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6 hours ago, robskinn said:

That involves too many additional steps

What do you mean with "additional steps"? – To make a symbol globally available you would need to give it a unic name and choose a file path. To avoid choosing a file path they either would be stored all at one predefined place (e.g. Affinity user library folder) or you create a link in your file system which is available on 1-click.

In what aspect do linked document's differ, especially since it seems to make you avoiding this way of both globally available and auto-updated Affinity design work?

If I create a symbol in AD, save it as .afdesign, place that in APub, I can edit the symbol via a double-click (its .afdesign opens in APub), change and save it. Apub informs me in the .afpub which is using this symbol about my symbol's original being auto-updated:

255038927_symbolupdateinfo.jpg.6f544baf620b9ab1ccce2f9d5f8e4ecf.jpg

 

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@thomasoI'll hold my hands up and confess that I didn't know that you could use embedded .affinity files in this way. I've certainly learnt something valuable today. I'll re-think the way I manage my assets from now on and thanks for taking the time to explain it!

BW

Rob 

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2 minutes ago, robskinn said:

I didn't know that you could use embedded .affinity files in this way. I've certainly learnt something valuable today.

Why embedded, not linked? I guess if you embed the file then it doesn't update if its original file changes, because embedded = not linked.

And what did you actually understand / misunderstand when you replied to @Jens Krebs's initial hint of linked documents?

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1 minute ago, thomaso said:

And what did you actually understand / misunderstand when you replied to @Jens Krebs's initial hint of linked documents?

It was not clear to me that a linked resource / file is treated in the same way as a linked image would be in publisher, in that, if it is updated outside of the original file I'd get a prompt from the resource pane that it has changed. 

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7 minutes ago, robskinn said:

It was not clear to me that a linked resource / file is treated in the same way as a linked image would be in publisher,

Doesn't the term "linked" define this unambiguously to you?
Interesting that you replied positively to my questions with using "embedded" – though this is actually rather an opposite to linked.

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