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Affinity Publisher Tutorials

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I just started watching the Affinity Publisher tutorials and, I am sorry to say, they are awful!  I've been using Serif products for years and years and, in my experience, this has always been their biggest problem and weakest aspect:  Poor documentation.

For tutorials and documentation, you simply cannot assume the person knows the basics--or any aspect of desktop publishing at all.  You really do have to start at the beginning!  A good beginning is to go over the tool bar and all its parts and what they do and how to use them.  All the best tutorials start there.

These Publisher video tutorials go way too fast, assume you know a lot of things you don't and, as before, at least for me, close to worthless.

Can you PLEASE do this right?!  Start with describing the tools.

Thank you.

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The tutorials are meant to be quick introductions to show elements of the app for the beta. These will be replaced at time of release with more in depth tutorials. The app also has an inbuilt help that explains things like the tools which may be of use

thanks


Serif Europe Ltd - Check the latest news at www.affinity.serif.com

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My point exactly.  They are FAILING to INTRODUCE elements.  Instead, they are going right into using master pages, without ever describing what master pages are or how they work.  That's working with assumptions that people already know the basics.  Describing those elements would be introducing elements.

You simply cannot assume everyone coming to Affinity Publisher has used a desktop publishing program before and will automatically know the basics.  I've not used Adobe.  I'm basically clueless about how basic desktop publishing programs work.  And how am I going to learn if your tutorials start with the assumption that I know the basics?

It's wiser to start with the assumption that everyone coming to Affinity Publisher has NEVER used a desktop publishing program before.  It certainly won't hurt experienced users and it will bring in grateful new users.

Thank you.

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People who are interested in testing a non-production beta version of a specialised professional DTP app, should in my opinion know what they are doing. I expect the tutorials for the final release to be of the same great quality as for their other app. "Failing" is a very negative word.

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I agree about the tutorials. If you had made the interface there same as Quark or InDesign then they might be barely adequate but, for instance, I had to step thru the tutorial 1 frame at a time to see where the guy was clicking to get  multiple columns.

They are embarrassing for a professional company.

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For a counter-opinion, I am not a DTP expert, and have never used the other publishing tools, and I found the tutorials quite understandable and useful.

Of course, I also find the built-in Help files useful, so maybe I'm weird :)


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1903 (18362.145), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.404 and 1.7.2.424 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.1.404 and 1.7.2.424 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.1.404 and 1.7.2.422 Beta

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As someone who more or less has lived in InDesign for the last decade, and used Quark Express before that, I find these Tutorials VERY helpful in learning how to use the program.  As others have said, this is beta, and thus not for learning desktop publishing, but for putting the program through it's paces and finding bugs and making feature improvements.  These are very good tutorials for figuring out how to work with the elements, but they're not trying to teach you the fundamentals of desktop publishing. If you want to learn about Master Pages and Text Styles, there are lots of tutorials out there. After grasping the concept, you'll see that this video just shows you how to work with them in AP, which is basically the same way they work in ID, so you won't really be lost.

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I got image below for help. I didn't see a tutorial on the "built in help". I didn't hate the tutorials but I think they could use some improvements.

Since this is a new piece of software from relatively new company I don't think it is a good idea to assume it works like other software. Serif does a lot of things different from other DTP software.

Because it is difficult to tell if something is not working correctly if you don't know how it supposed to work, good tutorials would help in beta testing the software.

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 6.16.22 PM.png

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20 hours ago, Henri H said:

I have downloaded the Beta version of Publisher.

I found out that it is not possible to open or import InDesign files. I hope this will be possible with the final version.

Years ago i have worked with Adobe Pagemaker and made the transition to Indesign. In InDesign was ik possible to open "Pagemaker" and "Quark Express" files. That was a smooth and easy transition.

When Publisher will not be able to open or import InDesign files i can not open all my files that i have made over more than 10 years. That would be a huge obstacle.

So ...........

 

23 hours ago, zorica3000 said:

I just started watching the Affinity Publisher tutorials and, I am sorry to say, they are awful!  I've been using Serif products for years and years and, in my experience, this has always been their biggest problem and weakest aspect:  Poor documentation.

For tutorials and documentation, you simply cannot assume the person knows the basics--or any aspect of desktop publishing at all.  You really do have to start at the beginning!  A good beginning is to go over the tool bar and all its parts and what they do and how to use them.  All the best tutorials start there.

These Publisher video tutorials go way too fast, assume you know a lot of things you don't and, as before, at least for me, close to worthless.

Can you PLEASE do this right?!  Start with describing the tools.

Thank you.

 

22 hours ago, zorica3000 said:

My point exactly.  They are FAILING to INTRODUCE elements.  Instead, they are going right into using master pages, without ever describing what master pages are or how they work.  That's working with assumptions that people already know the basics.  Describing those elements would be introducing elements.

You simply cannot assume everyone coming to Affinity Publisher has used a desktop publishing program before and will automatically know the basics.  I've not used Adobe.  I'm basically clueless about how basic desktop publishing programs work.  And how am I going to learn if your tutorials start with the assumption that I know the basics?

It's wiser to start with the assumption that everyone coming to Affinity Publisher has NEVER used a desktop publishing program before.  It certainly won't hurt experienced users and it will bring in grateful new users.

Thank you.

 


21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display. MacOS Sierra v. 10.12.6 (which I am not changing).  3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz.  Memory 8 GB 1867 MHz LPDDR3.  1TB Fusion Drive.  Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 1536 MB.   iPad Pro 12.9, iOS v. 12.3.1, Apple Pencil.  Affinity Publisher 1.7.1,  Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1.   

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Please, can’t we be a bit patient?  This download is a Beta.  It is not commercially-ready software.  It is supposed to give us the opportunity to try stuff out, to see what works, what doesn’t, and to suggest to the developers what we would like to have, or add, to make this software really superb.  In my humble opinion, the developers are being incredibly gracious — especially when comments are coming in a mile a minute.   It is understandable that anyone brand new to desktop publishing would be somewhat confused right now, but take it from somebody who started with Pagemaker, way back in the 1980’s.  This is going to be SUPERB.


21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display. MacOS Sierra v. 10.12.6 (which I am not changing).  3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz.  Memory 8 GB 1867 MHz LPDDR3.  1TB Fusion Drive.  Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 1536 MB.   iPad Pro 12.9, iOS v. 12.3.1, Apple Pencil.  Affinity Publisher 1.7.1,  Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1.   

Magic mouse.9_9

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15 hours ago, zorica3000 said:

For some reason I don't believe you.  I also don't think you tried doing anything with it, like lay out a book.  

I really don't think that you should attempt anything, especially learn a software that is not intended to be used by someone who never used some kind of similar software before. The tutorials explain just enough so we get brought up to speed, so we can test the heck out of Publisher.

Please wait for the actual 1.0 release before judging the tutorial section and don't get so defensive and call someone a liar.

Edited by TamasC
Additional info added

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I would like to support what jmwellborn says about being patient and give AP a fair chance.

As someone who has used Adobe software since it first appeared, and Pagemaker before that, I can remember how difficult those programs were for early adopters. Not to mention Quark! Well I never did like Quark overmuch and the need for expensive third party software to get it to even shake hands with anything non-Quark was a real pain.

Already I can see some real promise in what Affinity have created. It will take a bit of work yet to iron out any bugs and, of course, the real proof of Affinity's program will be in how much notice is taken of what we, the future users, say.

All in all, I don't think you can realistically compare AP in Beta to those (much) older, wiser packages at this early stage. It is early days yet - I believe (I hope) better things are yet to come.

No, I don't work for Serif/Affinity or have any connection to them, it's just that I am grateful they have allowed free access to their beta program and thereby given me the opportunity to share in its early development.

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As a technical writer with over 30 years experience, I spent much of that time using FrameMaker to write technical end user documentation.  I see a lot of potential in the new Affinity Designer. As with any tool, becoming proficient takes a lot of practice, patience, and study.  When approaching a new DTP tool, the first thing I want to understand is how the tool facilitates the layout of the page and the flow of the text across those pages: How do the Master pages work to control that flow? Once I understand the text flow, then I start to go through how the paragraph and character catalogs are set up and how they interact with one another.  Finally, I need to understand how the automatically generated content (TOCs and Indexes) are managed. Last is how the pieces of the book are managed. 

I've viewed most of the tutorials and for an application that is in Public Beta ahead of its first launch, they are good to orient you to some of those topics but there needs to be more to really help the user master the tool.  I didn't expect to see the full breadth of tutorials needed to fully use this application for commercial work.  I've also been using AF Photo and Designer for a while now and people are still adding new video tutorials on how they completed tasks in those applications.  Finally, I fully expect that Serif will create the master Workbook for Publisher similar to the ones they created for Photo and Designer.

To @zorica3000, I would ask for patience as the new application is developed and enhanced.  The current tutorials are short, have gaps and do assume a certain level of basic knowledge, but I think that over time the Affinity team will be adding to the library of videos (as will the user community).  I was actually pleasantly surprised by the number of tutorials available for a public Beta.  Based on my experience, the technical documentation and training are usually the last things that people focus on.  I was lucky working for large software companies that had dedicated staff to develop the documentation and training materials.

To @BalsallHeathen, I am so with you on Quark.  

I'm not affiliated with Serif or Affinity in any way, other than a happy customer who likes what they are creating.

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On 8/30/2018 at 4:59 PM, Jens Krebs said:

People who are interested in testing a non-production beta version of a specialised professional DTP app, should in my opinion know what they are doing. I expect the tutorials for the final release to be of the same great quality as for their other app. "Failing" is a very negative word. 

Yo are right, Jens. That's not fair. The tutorials are fine with me, nice presentation and straight to the point.

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Can I just add that these are beta only tutorials made by the managing director so that there is something to see rather than nothing. The documentation team will produce replacement official tutorials (with closed captions in all supported languages) in preparation for release and when the features are settled. I am pleased that they are helping some users out, but they are not definitive. 


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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I think Ash did a great job! Without his tutorials I would have struggled to know where to begin.


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Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.1.404 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.1.143 • Designer for iPad 1.7.1.1 • iOS 12.3.1 (iPad Air 2)

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What most of you missed is the fact that Serif NEVER had good documentation.  What I fear is that Affinity Publisher won't either.  This will make it very hard for me -- a non-professional -- to use advanced features.

Simply put, I want Affinity to put out documentation that is as good as what is available for Quark XPress and InDesign.  For example the QucikStart guides by Peachpit Press:  https://www.amazon.com/QuarkXPress-Windows-Macintosh-Elaine-Weinmann-dp-0321358279/dp/0321358279/ref=mt_paperback?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1535900373

Years and years ago I searched for a desktop publisher that was easy to use.  I am a writer and wanted to lay out my own books.  I found PagePlus and was immediately in love -- until it came to laying out my book and trying to find out how to do certain things.  I bought ALL the documentation books Serif had:  100% useless.  There just wasn't enough specificity.

As I said, given Serif's history, I am afraid they simply won't put out a really useful book on how to use the program.  And that's what I need.  What would be wrong with having a guide that can teach someone who has never used a desktop publishing program how to use it?

Of course if you've been using InDesign and Quark for years, this is probably a breeze for you, but you're not the only people who will be using this program.  And don't forget, there are people like me who've used PagePlus and want Affinity Publisher to be way better and easier to use than PagePlus.  And of course, with lots of people doing self-publishing, there will be more writers wanting to lay out their own books who have never used a desktop publishing program before. 

So, this is not a matter of patience . . . it's a matter of Serif history and whether they will do something different with Affinity Publisher.

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, zorica3000 said:

As I said, given Serif's history, I am afraid they simply won't put out a really useful book on how to use the program.

I'm afraid that this statement just doesn't stand up to examination. The Designer and Photo workbooks are exemplary and I have no reason to doubt that there will be one in the pipe for Publisher. Additionally, I have found the video tutorials for both those apps enormously helpful.

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6 minutes ago, zorica3000 said:

...

Simply put, I want Affinity to put out documentation that is as good as what is available for Quark XPress and InDesign.  For example the QucikStart guides by Peachpit Press: ...

Yes, but gone are the days that there was 2 years between releases. Nowadays releases in ID & Q are yearly and less in the case of ID. It makes little sense from a publisher's point of view to fund such good 3rd party documentation and so there are way fewer 3rd-party document writers producing them. There are exceptions. In the 1990s and back, 3rd-party documentation always went further than even the great manuals that shipped with the software.

In the case of Adobe & Quark—which can/should also apply to Serif—a good documentation team can, and should, produce more in-depth documentation that is expanded more than what the help files contain. They should go into the hows, whys and provide examples of those functions the application contains. This documentation should be available as at least PDFs as the application(s) themselves grow. It should be an iterative process that as documentation is updated one can download that updated documentation. Or, as in the case of Quark & Adobe, have both updated web versions & pdfs.

Mike


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

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2 minutes ago, Wireman said:

I'm afraid that this statement just doesn't stand up to examination. The Designer and Photo workbooks are exemplary and I have no reason to doubt that there will be one in the pipe for Publisher. Additionally, I have found the video tutorials for both those apps enormously helpful.

Yes, and for a greater delivered cost than the applications you can own these out of date publications. At least if you live in a delivery zone...


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

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10 minutes ago, zorica3000 said:

it's a matter of Serif history and whether they will do something different with Affinity Publisher.

I doubt it, they did not do it with Affinity Photo or Designer.

Your best hope is that someone else (not Serif) writes a book specifically as...  "A Beginners Guide to Desktop Publishing using Affinity Publisher"

Until then, you'll just have to figure a lot of it out for yourself, using the limited tutorials and help from this forum.

Especially so whilst the product is in it's beta phase


Due to the ongoing Brexit negotiations, punctuation, spelling and grammar will be used sparingly until further notice.

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3 hours ago, zorica3000 said:

As I said, given Serif's history, I am afraid they simply won't put out a really useful book on how to use the program.  And that's what I need.  What would be wrong with having a guide that can teach someone who has never used a desktop publishing program how to use it?

I think you've got the wrong approach, you need to find specific training/lessons with someone able to explain to you how to do it and able to guide you and to answer your questions.

The most usefull book I read long ago were about Illustrator/Photoshop and QXP, and I read them away from any computer to really take time to understand and memorise things. It was the same as Serif documentation: each menu, option being explain.

Later, if I searched a fonction/option that I know existed, I only had to look at the index to find where it was in the menus.
When switching to a new app, the important part is to know the new name of features we usually use, and to check for new one, but basically it's the same in disorder (menus are differents, names too, etc.)

 

What do you need to do a (simple) book?

  • Simple Master pages to put your page numbers, title and author infos,  and (?) some decorative objects
  • Perhaps another one for the begining of each chapters
  • Understand how to apply master pages to your pages
  • How to create sections
  • How to create a main text frame on a page
  • How to have your text flow and add automatically pages and text frame (autoflow)

Those are covered in Affinity Publisher Help.

Once you'll be at ease with this, you'll try learning more complexe things as modifying, creating new Text Styles, etc.

You'll be able to add the first and last pages.

 

Since for now APublisher only accept pages of the same size in a document, you'll have to work on a cover on a different document, not made with 3 pages, but only one (which width = backcover width + spine width* + cover width)

* Depending of the final number of pages in your book, your printer should tell you the expected with for the spine.

 

Next stage you learn to add pages with pictures, pages with text and pictures and legend, etc.

Stay calm and procede with methodology, stress don't help. If you were able to do it in other apps, you'll do it with Apub :)

And the forum is here to help you with specific questions when you bug on a problem like everyone of us.

Edited by Wosven
Spine! said αℓƒяє∂ :)

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