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Newbie question about using text in Designer

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I am a rank beginner in midst of a trial for Designer. Could you give me a step-by step to create a simple piece.

Shapes, filled in different colors, say identical rounded rectangles

Inside these shapes, simple text in black. Text not to be shape fills or arty type, but plain, linear text.

Alignment of these shapes, and the text within the shapes.

Desired results: a set of colored shapes with the black text inside them visible over the colored backgrounds.

What should be my sequence of layers? I would assume Shape(s) covered by transparent-background text layer(s), but I cannot seem to achieve this. The text layer obliterates the shape. I am clearly doing something wrong, but what? This software seems to be what I want, but I am having a struggle breaking into it. 

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Hi mycroft,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create the shapes you can set their fill (and stroke colour if you want) from the Colour panel on the top right of the interface. You can also do it from the Fill colour well on the context toolbar right above the work area. Click on it to display a pop-up with a few control to choose/select the colour you want. To create the text above them, select the Artistic Text Tool or the Frame Text Tool depending if you want to work with just a couple words (for a button for example) or with a block of text respectively. Position the text over the rounded rectangles with the Move Tool (the text layer must be above the shape layer in the Layers panel otherwise the text will be rendered behind the shapes). To control the alignment of the shapes and text you can enable Snapping which will display smart guides to help you position/align the shapes in place. I advise you to take a look at the Official Affinity Designer Video Tutorials as they cover all those operations quite well. Let us know if you have trouble with any specific operation.

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Thanks MEB. I thought I had been trying this for several days with no success. Today, I tried again and it worked as I had expected and hoped!   I have no idea what is different! 

The past few days, I would build my shapes, style them with stroke and color fills and so forth. Then the text box I created on the layer above showed my text within a solid white text box, mostly blotting out the my colored, styled shapes.


I am not sure what is different today where my "text box background" is now transparent (showing the shape color inside the box as desired) as opposed to the ubiquitous white text box of the past few days. Can you point me to the setting that assures me I don't get the annoying white "text box" I had? What I have now has the Text "opacity 100% (the percentage controls the text only, as do the controls in the list). The text box and its white fill and black border are nowhere to be found. i am at a loss as to what is different from yesterday.


I have been working my way through the  excellent tutorials bit by bit, but the basic ones let me think I could do this simple test project.  I really appreciate your help,  

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Thanks for the suggestion, ABC, but I don't think so. I kept playing with it and exploring after I posted the above. I got into trouble again, and believe I triggered the “convert to text box” menu item while the shape and the text tool were selected. The shape immediately disappeared under the white text box, just what I remember from yesterday. Now I do not know how to turn off that “convert” selection when I create other shapes and try to put text in them. The text box is now always white again. How do I turn off the “convert to text box” control? I gave up a few minutes ago.....

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To be honest, I have a few troubles to understand what you are actually trying to achieve. Supposing you intend to create something like a button (rounded rectangle in the background, text on top), just have a look at my example. You will never have to convert your rectangle to a text box. Simply use two separate layers, the text layer being on top of the rounded rectangle.


Hope that makes sense …

Alex :)






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Thanks again Alex and MEB.

I am now more confused than ever. However, I believe I have found a clue for you to help me.

Your sample "button text" above is exactly what I want (Not really a button, but the effect is the same.)


I fired up a new document to test it.

Step 1: Created a shape.

Step 2: Filled shape with color.

Step 3: Select Text Tool at left; chose Frame Text Tool: clicked in Shape to start my text entering.

Result: the entire shape turned white. I could enter text, but colored shape was gone. In the layers list at right, the shape was gone, replaced by the text layer.

Went to Edit > Undo: The  top item was: "Undo Convert to text f..." (I assume "text frame")

The colored shape reappeared. 

Repeated a number of times, trying again with original shape, added new shapes, etc. Result after selecting the Text Frame tool turned entire shape white (I used "obliterated" in my original post). I could not get the text to appear on the original shape as in your "Button Text" above.


i went searching for the Menu item where I first saw the term "Convert to Text Frame" a couple of days ago, but could not find it.

Went back to same document. Something happened in the time I was searching for Menu item. 

Added a new shape, filled it, went to Text Frame tool and suddenly, it was behaving as I want it to. I could enter the text directly in the layer above the shape, retaining both shape, color, and text.

I do not know what I did to correct it. 

I do not know what I did to invoke the "Convert to Text Frame" in the first place.

The answer I seek is : Where is the "Convert to Text Frame" control? Something I am doing, or not doing, is apparently toggling this control.

Hope you can help.






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Hi Joan,


here is a video for you to watch. For your present purpose, there is absolutely no need to use the Convert to Text Frame command. Here is the explanation of the video:

  • Grab the Rectangle Tool and create a rectangle.
  • Apply rounded corners
  • Deselect the rectangle (it is not necessary, but it does no harm)
  • Grab the Frame Text Tool (or the Art Text Tool, it does not matter)
  • Now do not click the rectangle, but draw a text frame with the Frame Text Tool in another place. There is absolutely no need that you convert your rectangle into a frame for the text, it is rather counter-productive. Just keep things separate. One rectangle for the background, one frame for the text.
  • By drawing the text frame elsewhere, you will notice a text object appear in the layers list on the right, just above the rectangle item.
  • Now type your text into the text frame.
  • Finally move the text frame where it should sit. Since the text frame is above the rounded rectangle in the layers list, it will appear on top of this rectangle on the canvas.

Hope that makes sense now … :)





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Let me add this. When you click with a text tool within a selected shape (for instance, a rectangle), this shape will immediately turn into a text frame, and the shape will lose all its style properties, such as fill or stroke. You will notice that the text tool cursor shows a little pentagon with a “T” inside, indicating that you are about to make this transformation.


Transforming a shape into a text frame is mainly useful for creating irregularly styled text layouts, for instance triangle forms. But it is absolutely unnecessary for the purpose you described. :)




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Convert to Text Frame is on the Layers menu, about 3/4 of the way down, just below Convert to Curves.


The reason your shape was being converted to a text frame is because it was selected when you clicked inside it with the Text Frame Tool. So make sure it is not selected to begin with & when you draw out the text frame with the Frame Text Tool, don't click first & then click & drag as two separate steps (because the first click will select it).


2 minutes ago, A_B_C said:

You will notice that the text tool cursor shows a little pentagon with a “T” inside, indicating that you are about to make this transformation.

The Status Bar at the bottom of the workspace window also displays "Click to convert Curve to Text Frame" when the Text Frame Tool is over a shape.

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Thank you, thank you, danke, A_B_C and R C-R, for your answers. Now I understand what has been going on, and how to control my work. I never wanted to "Convert" in the first place, and and the selection of the shape was my downfall. As I didn't know what was happening to my shape, I had no idea how to frame my question. I will pay more attention to the bottom status bar now as well. I did note the layer issue at the right, and the change in Text tool shape, but didn't know what I had done to cause it. You have helped me enormously.  

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