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My experience – 32pp booklet designed in Publisher beta and digitally printed

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Having waited eagerly for Publisher to arrive, I didn't hesitate to download the first beta and test it out. Rather than just 'tinkering around the fringes', I decided to give it a proper test by designing and laying out one of my portfolio photobooks, which would normally be done in InDesign, and then have it digitally printed by a commercial printer. In effect, I treated it like I would all other jobs I do for my clients.

My experience of Publisher, from a professional perspective, was actually surprisingly good (as far as beta software goes). As a highly experienced PageMaker, QuarkXpress and InDesign user (from the v1.0 days) the learning curve was very minimal. The end result was that this initial beta release managed to produce a professional product that I would have no qualms releasing to a paying client. However the journey involved to reach that point was, obviously, not straight forward – but by no means remotely anywhere near as painful as some of the discussions on here would indicate. Without trying to 'blow my own trumpet', I will readily admit that it does require the kind of mindset that is capable of coming up with multiple workarounds and and when required.

Aside from some of the initial issues that many had reported (ie. master pages, lack of visible bleed guides, sliders staying visible etc), the main obstacle that I had was at the output stage because I was unable to output a final press-ready PDF with reliable bleed settings on every page/spread. Some pages would output WITHOUT any bleed, some only output with about 1mm of bleed and some would output with the full 3mm that was set throughout the document. In the end, my workaround was to create a template document with my own trims and bleed on it. 

The second most frequent problem I came across was the instability of the application – there were A LOT of randomly occurring crashes which, if it wasn't for recovery files, could have been a massive problem. Whilst I fully expected beta software to crash, I didn't anticipate so many (more than 12) during this process.

Less of a 'user experience' and more of a future file management issue is that the file sizes are HORRENDOUSLY MAHOOSIVE. Despite having all images linked instead of embedded, this 32pp layout resulted in a whopping 1.5GB .afpub file. As a comparison, a previous 96pp photobook with the same spec created in InDesign resulted in a 50MB .indd file.

There is so much more that needs to be fixed and implementd but, overall, if the first beta of Publisher is already capable of this standard then I am going to chomping at the bit for the full commercial release.

The Inflatables – AFPUB.jpg


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2 minutes ago, dalan_fsu said:

I'm gonna need a close up of some of those other pages.... for research purposes.  ;)

Riiiiiiight… I totally believe you. Honest. :4_joy:

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Yes. I am of similar background and experience. By way of a try-out, I have just done  a little 24pp A5 with lots of photos, but found that the app is fairly stable, without any of the glitches mentioned; maybe latest patches have fixed things. However, my booklet came out at 1.77GB even with all pix linked. This does need fixing. Having said that, Affinity Designer also produces some massive files, so that needs looking into as well.

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Same experience here..
I didn´t try to produce a real Book... only reproduced a part of an Architectural Brochure....  with about 50 images included..

I saved it embedded and linked...  and after linking, the filesize stayed at about 1.7 Gb..      if i would Guess,    i think , publisher leaves the files also embeded somehow in the document even when it is linked...

this should be corrected..

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