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A_B_C

Apply Styles – Options behave strangely

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Hi there,

I must confess I still have a bit of a hard time to understand how the options available from the hamburger menu of a single paragraph (or character) style are supposed to work, even if they have been in the applications for quite a long time. Maybe it is because I never made any changes here, but used paragraph styles for paragraphs and character styles for proper substrings of paragraphs only. Anyway, there are five options for applying paragraph styles. You can apply a paragraph style

  • to paragraphs,
  • to paragraphs and preserve character formatting (i.e. formatting based on assigning a character style),
  • to paragraphs and preserve local formatting (i.e. formatting not based on assigning a character style),
  • to selected characters,
  • to selected characters and preserve local formatting.

From my understanding (supposing I get the logic here), I would assume that

  • (a) the first option and the second option are mutually exclusive, 
  • (b) the first option and the third option are mutually exclusive,
  • (c) the last two options are mutually exclusive, and
  • (d) at least one of these options has to be enabled.

Furthermore, with a view to my screenshot, I would assume that the following statements are true:

  • (e) When the caret cursor is blinking in a paragraph or when at least one entire paragraph is selected, the selected rules from the “yellow group” will be enacted.
  • (f) When a proper substring of a paragraph is selected, the selected rules from the “green group” will be enacted.

Is that correct?

Alex :)

 

Styles.png.cec44fcf802ce747cd029db634db6c90.png

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39 minutes ago, A_B_C said:

It doesn’t even work with a completely blank document (no text frame, nothing on the page)

Sorry A_B_C,
You completely lost me. You mean you want to apply Paragraph Styles to a blank document?

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Hi Seneca, 

when you have a look at my video, you will see that these menu entries have check marks or tick marks in front of them. And the presence of a tick mark in front of a menu entry means that you can toggle an option by selecting the respective menu entry. Usually.

For instance, I can toggle the bleed visibility by repeatedly selecting View > Show Bleed. The bleed area will be visible when there is a tick mark in front of the menu entry, and it will be hidden when there is no such tick mark.

By the same token, I would expect that the tick marks in front of the menu entries belonging to the hamburger menu of a text style indicate that I can select an applicability rule for that style. So when there is a check mark in front of, say, Apply “Style” to Characters, I would expect that, whenever I make a text selection and click the style in the styles list, the style would be applied to the characters of my selection. So I would just toggle this applicability rule by choosing the menu entry.

And obviously, I should be able to preselect such a rule without immediately applying it to a text selection. Hence, I should be able to toggle the option even with a blank document, just as I can toggle bleed visibility even if I haven’t set a bleed area yet.

I hope that makes sense. Unfortunately, I cannot explain the idea behind these menu entries to myself.

Alex :)

 

View.png.3e0f7b356b34729eeaaa097d7c06cffd.png

Styles.png.7e57750d2f70bbc9c8213df3176c95c5.png

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My understanding of how to use these text style options hovers around zero, but I think they are not 'global' to the document or page -- IOW, they apply only to whatever object currently has the focus, like a selected text box or some of the text in one.

In your video it does not appear the text or the text box is selected, so there is nothing for the style options to apply to.

Does that make sense?


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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In fact, there's no tick marks on Windows.

I select the desired effect (right-click + select) when I want to apply one of those. (Hoping not to select the badly placed option "Update…" that is near "Apply style xxx and next". :S )

2018-09-15_222843.png.97e2c472b489defe9f80f9c64653ec68.png

 

I'm testing Group styles and Base on styles, and I need to use "Apply xxx to characters" to override the selection formatting.
I'm hoping I'm just too clumsy to get my head around this right now, but it don't feel as natural as it was when switching for QXP to ID (and people using both know how the different ways to use style in those apps can be strange at first).

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Thank you, guys! The tick marks are terribly misleading! :o

Good to see they are not present in the Windows version. So these must be bugs. Once they are out of the picture, everything makes much more sense. I can even understand Seneca’s confusion now, when he noticed that I had intended to use these menu options on basically nothing. So I hope these tick marks will be removed from the Mac version in the next iteration. I was already getting nervous. O.o

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I didn't find those options in the shurtcut list, but it would be important to have them.

Depending of the layouts, I use (in ID)  Object styles with the option to apply paragraph styles (with next style checked) or linked frames with "Apply xxx and next" to format nearly all in a shortcut.

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23 minutes ago, A_B_C said:

I can even understand Seneca’s confusion now, when he noticed that I had intended to use these menu options on basically nothing.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if my "not 'global'" comment might be wrong, at least in the sense that if nothing has the focus, they become the default for newly created texts. That might explain the tick marks, if they are intended to indicate that ... maybe? :S


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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Yes … maybe … I really don’t know … :S

(I fear we will have to wait until Monday when the developers are back. Although Dave Harris was seen here today. These guys don’t even seem to have a weekend. :o)

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On 9/15/2018 at 4:49 PM, A_B_C said:

I fear we will have to wait until Monday when the developers are back.

Monday bump....


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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The menu options aren't rules for how styles will be applied in future. They are commands that will apply the styles when you select them. The ticks show whether the style is currently applied. If nothing is selected, the menu options refer to the current defaults. If you change the default and then create text, the text will get the new default.

So in a new document, new text frame with no style, the options in the [No Style] menus should be ticked, and nothing else in the other menus should be.

If you apply Body, then in the menu for paragraph [No Style] the option to remove Character styles is ticked because there is already no character style, and the option to remove Paragraph styles is not ticked because there is a paragraph style to remove. If you select that option and look in the menu again, it becomes ticked. If instead you look in the menu for Body, the option for Apply "Body" to Paragraphs should be ticked because Body is the current paragraph style, and everything else is unticked.

Currently the options Apply "Body" and Preserve Character Formatting, and Apply "Body" and Preserve Local Formatting, are never ticked, which I think is correct. If you apply a character style like Emphasis, then the option Apply "Emphasis and Preserve Local Formatting does become ticked for the Emphasis menu, which is inconsistent and a bug.

Be aware that a paragraph style can be applied to a character range. In that case you can get two options ticked in the menu, for the two ways the style is applied.

Currently applying a paragraph style overrides formatting from character styles. This is a bug that will be fixed in the next beta. Applying a paragraph should leave formatting from character styles alone, but it normally overrides local paragraph formatting and character formatting that is not from a character style. That's what should happen if you click on a style in the Text Styles panel, or select one from the text context toolbar, or with a short-cut. The menus call this Apply "Body" to Paragraph. Apply Body to Paragraph and Preserve Character Formatting will just change paragraph options like indent and alignment. Apply "Body" to Paragraph and Preserve Local Formatting should not override any changes you made since applying the previous style.

That's how it is intended to work. If Windows never shows tick marks, that's a Windows bug.

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Okay, so I had a look at the entire styles logic a second time. To be honest, I believe this approach is still not as straightforward as it could be. In my opinion, one of the main problems that still has to be solved is the use of tick marks. What you are doing with these tick marks is not only inconsistent with the Human Interface Guidelines for macOS, but also with your own use of tick marks in other places of Affinity Publisher. Let me explain.

According to the Human Interface Guidelines for macOS, a menu item that has a tick mark next to it is called a “toggled menu item.” Selecting such a menu item will toggle an option, that means, it will switch between two states (an “on” and an “off” state) when chosen, and Affinity Publisher uses such toggled menu items in many places. For instance, when I select a string of letters in a text frame and choose Text > Character Traits > Italic, my action will have two effects:

  • the italic style of the present font will be applied to the selected letters
  • and secondly, the menu item Text > Character Traits > Italic will receive a tick mark.

Now you are basically right in saying that this tick mark has an indicative function that is tied to a certain selection of letters. Whenever I select italicised text, the tick mark will appear next to the menu item Text > Character Traits > Italic. Whenever I select non-italicised text, the tick mark will disappear from the menu item Text > Character Traits > Italic. So far, so good.

But there is a huge difference between the mentioned menu item and the menu items that belong to the hamburger menus of the text styles. These are not toggled menu items in the previously discussed sense. They might be indicative for the properties of a certain selection of letters, but I cannot toggle the application of these properties by repeatedly selecting the same menu item. Rather, I have to use an entirely different menu to remove the property and the respective tick mark. This is not only against the Human Interface Guidelines for macOS, but also against your use of menus tick marks in other places, as discussed above.

I hope my description will make the issue sufficiently clear. What looks like a toggled menu item is actually not a toggled menu item. I predict this will create great confusion among users as soon as they really start to work with the text styles system. I hope you will be able to change this before you release the app to the public.

Alex :)

 

https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/macos/menus/menu-anatomy/

Toggled-Menu-Items.thumb.png.d8a9d2377f3c5d96df0173eb11488458.png

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And the next problem is that the text styles panel seems to be so bug-ridden at the moment that it is hard to predict what will happen when you take a certain action. Or at least, I cannot make sense of some actions. Maybe I still don’t get it.

For instance, prior to making the video below, I reset all user defaults as well as all text styles through the preferences. Then I did a factory reset of the defaults through the menu. Now I created a text frame, typed in a word and selected the paragraph style Bullet 1. But why is the font changed to Adobe Jenson? I had once used it as a default font, but this should have been cleared by resetting everything. And when I use Paragraph: No Style and remove the bullet style from paragraphs, why does the bullet still appear? I cannot make sense of that. It seems that No Style doesn’t remove the bullet property. :/

 

Bullet.png.8bb438037f55dd107ef5842081014bc8.png

 

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1 hour ago, A_B_C said:

Or at least, I cannot make sense of some actions

See what you get when you click on Paragraph Style [No Style] and Character Style [No Style] before anything else.

Start from scratch. I can confirm that sometimes certain preferences set in the Paragraph Panel, not Paragraph Styles panel carry through to the Paragraph Styles.

It seems to me that to set most of your styles through Paragraph Panel and then updating the Style in Paragraph Style panel has a chance of greater success, but your mileage may vary.

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+1 for @A_B_C

It's confusing. In the long run, it's easier to keep simple options, they'll be easy to rememberand use.
I've got an example with one of my ID script: I thought of at least 7 ways to use "Apply Object/Paragraph styles" depending of selection. In the long run I  only use 3 of them, and use other means of 1-2 more clicks to get the same result as the options I don't use.

If options are easy to understand and memorize, they'll be used.

Another problem is to be able to apply paragraph style to a part of text in  a paragraph, resulting in 2 or more paragraph styles applied to a paragraph.
This should be done only with character styles, or we'll spend time debugging/correcting documents made by people who won't understand this or that'll work fast without respecting styles and layout (this happens a lot in ID with people only using the pipette for “applying” styles).

DTP tools are complex and there's a lot to learn to get beautifull result. That's why I think the tools should help, permitting complex results with clear and well defined options.
I don't know how it is for others, but today documents and DTP apps are used by more than the one that layout pages for different reasons — he/she'll have to check/correct the file at some point before doing the PDF for print — and the easier the app is, the easier it is to explain how to do simple things in a document and avoid mistakes.
For example, paragraph styles behaving like character style give me headaches beforehand :S

 

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9 minutes ago, Wosven said:

Another problem is to be able to apply paragraph style to a part of text in  a paragraph, resulting in 2 or more paragraph styles applied to a paragraph.

Yes, I tried to see how that would work in practice but every time I apply a paragraph style to a selection of characters with some paragraph style the new style gets applied to the whole paragraph.
So maybe, that just not possible and it shouldn't be possible of course. That's what character styles are for.

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For this, try with another style with different color and for example bolder.

You select or click in a word, right-click on another para’ style and use : "Apply xxx to characters". Try applying different para’ styles after this… :S
Here a fast test (checking it's the same in .128 version)

paraCharStyles.afpub

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9 hours ago, Wosven said:

… or we'll spend time debugging/correcting documents made by people who won't understand this or that'll work fast without respecting styles and layout (this happens a lot in ID with people only using the pipette for “applying” styles) …

This is a huge argument in favor of simplifying the entire approach. I can imagine to wrap my head around the current style system and develop a sufficiently logical and straightforward approach for my own documents. But (and this is indeed more than worthwhile to consider) when you have to edit other people’s documents and the options provided by the application are overly flexible, it will create a host of work to even understand what these people were thinking (or not thinking) when creating their documents. It will be a nightmare to debug documents created by people who didn’t take the time to understand the details of the current text style system.

Apart from the UI-related issues and the bugs I mentioned above, I see the biggest practical problems 

  • in blurring the border between character and paragraph styles without a UI solution that allows me to understand at first glance which styles are applied to which parts of my text and how I can disentangle and remove such style applications,
  • in muddling together paragraph and character styles in a single, badly structured panel (just have a look at the hierarchical view: the very marked pattern of dark and light background rows that runs across the hierarchical system kills all visual dependencies that would be essential for perceiving a hierarchy; the indentation doesn’t help a lot; hierarchies need a different background color system than lists; a UI solution that forces me to squint and search is a bad solution),
  • and in the lack of folders for organising styles (style groups are an interesting concept, but they cannot really replace a folder system).

Hmm … I really hope this most important aspect of a layout application will be reconsidered … :(

 

List.png.14b4db329532b37361d7564f31b40c4d.png  Hierarchical.png.b4554dd006852543dfac5436d6667f0e.png

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For what it’s worth, I couldn’t get rid of Adobe Jenson as my default font unless I manually removed all files associated with Affinity Publisher from my hard drive save for the application itself. Only then Arial would show up as my default font again. :(

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48 minutes ago, stmartin said:

+1 for @A_B_C

I am totally confused.

Make that two of us!!  I think there needs to be a ver'r'r'r'r'ry slow-moving video about this whole styles thing as one of the first, when the commercial version is ready!!!


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