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Basically the question. What is this program for?

To be clear, I'll happily buy it, since these programs are quite reasonably priced, but the major differences from Designer seem to be minor upgrades to text and table layout. Again, for the $30-50 they'll charge for it, this is totally fine, since it will certainly make my occasional design of brochures and flyers more pleasant, not to mention presentation slides!

I suppose I just can't see how I'd choose this over LaTeX, or even Microsoft Word, for typesetting anything over 5 or so pages. My understanding of InDesign is that it has a word processing/text editing adjunct...is there a similar plan for Publisher.

If I'm missing something, I would be so grateful if someone could point me right!

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LaTeX is very special software. If you are happy with it continue using it by all means. MS Word is not fit to produce printed matter.

At the moment, if aim is to design in Publisher a simple book there is nothing to stop creating a 500 page book. Autoflow will typeset it in no time. Styling the text takes some time, but there is nothing in other competing apps to make it quicker either. Further refinement in tools is needed of course as designs grow more complicated but everything is doable with long documents even now. It just takes some manual work.

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Well, standard "I can only speak for myself" disclaimer...

I don't know about LaTeX for desktop publishing, and haven't needed to ever. And my choice of word processor is either Pages, Nisus Pro, Storyist or Scrivener (or a combo of them all). I find it's just easier to work on the content in a dedicated Word processor and then import a raw TXT or RTF file into a Desktop publisher. This has been my M.O. since PageMaker (RIP).

Currently, I've been using Designer for lettering comics, and it's been working out okay, but the there's slowdowns when it comes to the Art board. It wasn't designed (I guess and this is not a dig at the devs) at being able to lay out 32-64 page documents. So I've been waiting for Publisher like forever. And when the beta was released the first thing I did was to create a "template" document for comics (the print size, taking into account the size that ComiXology likes its comics to have) set it up with styles and master layers and an collection of "Comix" assets to allow for the layer requirements (Like for Sound Effect lettering that's above the art, The text for dialog or narration, the balloon/caption shape, a layer for the Balloon Pointer, A layer below the shape for the balloon/narration stroke), the sound effect layer that's  below all the text and finally the Art layer which contains a masking for placed art *whew*). There's just 2 master spreads, one for a single page and the other for a double-page spread.

Then I place the artwork and create a shape that will become a text frame. The comic script is opened in a window on my other monitor. I select the text for the balloon/caption, copy it and paste without style into the Text Frame. I change the style of the text to what it needs to be (dialog or narration or whatever). Then I finish with the Balloon Shape (which has NO stroke and then copied on the lower balloon layer WITH a stroke that 2x the width I want it to end up being. Sandwiched in-between is the Pointer shape, that has the width I want. This way I get a balloon that has a pointer that is adjustable independent of the balloon shape). Importing the Script using AutoFlow would be a horror-show apocolypse of additional work that would just eat up time. But looking at the script itself, I can make sure I'm on the correct page and panel and get the right character saying what they need to say; it would be bad for the hero to lapse into a villain's monologue!

So what I do is specialized -- so far the only dedicated comic lettering app is Comic Life, which is good -- but Affinity Publisher (even in beta) is better. And when it's possible to switch between Photo and Designer from Publisher, I foresee using all three to create comics from idea to printable pages.

And I have a storybook called "The Living  Room Warrior" that my wife wrote and I illustrated that, thanks to Affinity Publisher Beta, I'm inspired to revise my original illustrious and add many more illustrations, and do a 2nd edition using APub to create printing files, PDF and maybe ePubs in time. There's a comic for a client of mine, that I may redo in Publisher, and do additional work for them using APub.

Even though some functionality is duplicated between the Affinity Apps, we were told about (at least I remember reading it, but my chemotherapy "fog" may be giving me false positives...). But there's so much that Publisher does that Designer doesn't. Page numbers, master spreads, table of contents, actual pages instead of Artboards, and more that escapes me presently. So purchasing this app is a forgone conclusion for me. It's a wonderful addition to my software arsenal.

And that's what Affinity Publisher is good for -- in my case. 


2014 iMac, 3.5 Ghz Intel Core i7, Secondary Samsung SyncMaster B2430 display, 16GB RAM, MacOS10.12 || USB keyboard, wireless trackpad, Kengsington Edge Trackball, Wacom Pro Large tablet

---

I encourage kids to go ahead and play on my lawn. I mean, how else can I make sure the death-traps work?

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1 hour ago, Fixx said:

LaTeX is very special software. If you are happy with it continue using it by all means. MS Word is not fit to produce printed matter.

At the moment, if aim is to design in Publisher a simple book there is nothing to stop creating a 500 page book. Autoflow will typeset it in no time. Styling the text takes some time, but there is nothing in other competing apps to make it quicker either. Further refinement in tools is needed of course as designs grow more complicated but everything is doable with long documents even now. It just takes some manual work.

Hey, Fixx, what would be your process for setting up a 500 page long book in Publisher then?

Just curious :-)

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Affinity Publisher is a desktop publishing program and has traditionally been used to create print products such as books, flyers or leaflets. In recent years, however, more and more applications have been added, such as eBooks or presentation slides. I'm a big fan of Affinity and I like the programs very well. I also like the idea that someone like Affinity is trying to bring a competitive product to InDesign on the market. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in this vision. But with the support of all of us, this can become possible. But it is still a long way.


www.wobmann.com

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43 minutes ago, Neolino666 said:

Hey, Fixx, what would be your process for setting up a 500 page long book in Publisher then?

Just curious :-)

Set document, create styles, set text frame, import text, autoflow all text to pages, change text to body style, set non-body paragraphs to right styles, add headers/footers/pagenumbers, export to PDF for press.

Edit: I guess master page should be added and applied before autoflowing text as Publisher does not have a basic master page before you create one. In InDesign there is always a basic one on by default.

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You mean just chapter heading? Style would format and place them right.

If you mean a running head which changes by chapter, you would have to use multiple master pages... and here we enter part which demands manual work. Text variable would save some work here but it is not yet available.

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Like for example a novel. The pages where chapters start usually have a different look than pages that only contain text. So those would have text styles for headings and a paragraph style (think space between heading and text etc.). In Quark I have a master page for those that I drag onto those pages etc.

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18 minutes ago, Fixx said:

If you mean a running head which changes by chapter, you would have to use multiple master pages... and here we enter part which demands manual work. Text variable would save some work here but it is not yet available.

Or make each chapter a Section using the Section Manager, and set the section name to the chapter title. Use the section name from the Fields panel as the running header on all section pages except the first.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1809, 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and 1.7.0.333 Beta       / Affinity Designer 1.6..5.123 and 1.7.0.333 Beta    / Affinity Publisher 1.7.0.337 Beta

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1 minute ago, walt.farrell said:

Or make each chapter a Section using the Section Manager, and set the section name to the chapter title. Use the section name from the Fields panel as the running header on all section pages except the first.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but using the chapter title as the section Name make it appear in the Table of Contents? If so, it's a win-win, right?


2014 iMac, 3.5 Ghz Intel Core i7, Secondary Samsung SyncMaster B2430 display, 16GB RAM, MacOS10.12 || USB keyboard, wireless trackpad, Kengsington Edge Trackball, Wacom Pro Large tablet

---

I encourage kids to go ahead and play on my lawn. I mean, how else can I make sure the death-traps work?

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6 minutes ago, CartoonMike said:

And correct me if I'm wrong, but using the chapter title as the section Name make it appear in the Table of Contents? If so, it's a win-win, right?

You select contents of Contents from styles – I do not think sections have anything to do in defining TOC.

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7 minutes ago, CartoonMike said:

And correct me if I'm wrong, but using the chapter title as the section Name make it appear in the Table of Contents? If so, it's a win-win, right?

The ToC is based on paragraph styles. E.g., a chapter heading might be a Heading 2, and you tell the ToC to include everything that uses the Heading 2 style.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1809, 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and 1.7.0.333 Beta       / Affinity Designer 1.6..5.123 and 1.7.0.333 Beta    / Affinity Publisher 1.7.0.337 Beta

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@walt.farrell thanks for clearing that up for moi. 


2014 iMac, 3.5 Ghz Intel Core i7, Secondary Samsung SyncMaster B2430 display, 16GB RAM, MacOS10.12 || USB keyboard, wireless trackpad, Kengsington Edge Trackball, Wacom Pro Large tablet

---

I encourage kids to go ahead and play on my lawn. I mean, how else can I make sure the death-traps work?

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I've enjoyed reading the discussions, and I'm learning stuff, but there is one basic thing that is eluding me...

How is one supposed to process text in this program?

Basically, my basic page of a document is going to be a standard sized box of text (frame text) which is the continuation of the page before it, and which will continue into the page after it. This default page might get broken up by an image, or a table, or another text box. I might even opt to have a page dedicated solely to standalone text which does not interact with the pages before or after, but by and large my text is going to flow from page-to-page.

I'm not sure how much of this is my idiocy, and how much is buggy beta software, but making a master page with a text box seems like the way that I would make this "default page," but doing so only allows me to put text into this box in the master page (which puts it on all pages). If I put a few pages of lipsum in the master page, and try to Autoflow the master page, it throws the text off the pages entirely, and does weirder things if I try to autoflow in the pages.

It seems patently absurd to me that I should make text boxes by hand in each and every page I plan on using...so what am I doing wrong?

I've been playing with the program for the last little bit, and have figured out how to use the table of contents, and I like the independent/parallel counters (hierarchical for chapters/sections/subsections with different counters for tables and figures). I have some quibbles (notably, it seems impossible to add a figure caption which will show up in the TOC, as well as explanation body text without a line break), and the current lack of cross-referencing is a deal breaker for scientific work. I also think there needs to be some standardized commands - insert a placeholder image along with a text box a set distance below with pre-formatted text (including TOC entry/caption, and counter) for making a figure, for instance, but those kinds of things can be solved with macros and templates.

For now though, I have no idea how I put large amounts of text onto consecutive, templated, pages...which seems like the most important thing I'd use this tool for.

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Nowadays, I rarely do more than produce 4-page newsletters, but it is fascinating to see how the old polarity continues between the two types of DeskTop Publisher , with Pagemaker's "artwork" at one end of a continuum and and Ventura's "book/long document" at the other.

Serif's PagePlus offered a very clever compromise; I'm not sure where Affinity Publisher is going yet, but it feels rather PageMaker-ish. The lack of a text-editor implies this, I think.

 

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1 minute ago, powderizedbookworm said:

I've enjoyed reading the discussions, and I'm learning stuff, but there is one basic thing that is eluding me...

How is one supposed to process text in this program?

Basically, my basic page of a document is going to be a standard sized box of text (frame text) which is the continuation of the page before it, and which will continue into the page after it. This default page might get broken up by an image, or a table, or another text box. I might even opt to have a page dedicated solely to but by and large my text is going to flow through.

I'm not sure how much of this is my idiocy, and how much is buggy beta software, but making a master page with a text box seems like the way that I would make this "default page," but doing so only allows me to put text into this box in the master page (which puts it on all pages). If I put a few pages of lipsum in the master page, and try to Autoflow the master page, it throws the text off the pages entirely, and does weirder things if I try to autoflow in the pages.

It seems patently absurd to me that I should make text boxes by hand in each and every page I plan on using...so what am I doing wrong?

I've been playing with the program for the last little bit, and have figured out how to use the table of contents, and I like the independent/parallel counters (hierarchical for chapters/sections/subsections with different counters for tables and figures). I have some quibbles (notably, it seems impossible to add a figure caption which will show up in the TOC, as well as explanation body text without a line break), and the current lack of cross-referencing is a deal breaker for scientific work. I also think there needs to be some standardized commands - insert a placeholder image along with a text box a set distance below with pre-formatted text (including TOC entry/caption, and counter) for making a figure, for instance, but those kinds of things can be solved with macros and templates.

For now though, I have no idea how I put large amounts of text onto consecutive, templated, pages...which seems like the most important thing I'd use this tool for.

Yep, that would be pretty much my concern, too. As I say elsewhere, this seems to be going down the "PageMaker" route which is pretty hopeless for those of us who want the "Ventura" approach.

 

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14 minutes ago, Paul Martin said:

Nowadays, I rarely do more than produce 4-page newsletters, but it is fascinating to see how the old polarity continues between the two types of DeskTop Publisher , with Pagemaker's "artwork" at one end of a continuum and and Ventura's "book/long document" at the other.

Serif's PagePlus offered a very clever compromise; I'm not sure where Affinity Publisher is going yet, but it feels rather PageMaker-ish. The lack of a text-editor implies this, I think.

 

We will know... in 6+ years.


About Serif Software (external link)

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50 minutes ago, Paul Martin said:

The lack of a text-editor implies this, I think.

I don't understand that. Why do you say there's no text editor?


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1809, 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and 1.7.0.333 Beta       / Affinity Designer 1.6..5.123 and 1.7.0.333 Beta    / Affinity Publisher 1.7.0.337 Beta

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15 minutes ago, Paul Martin said:

Nowadays, I rarely do more than produce 4-page newsletters, but it is fascinating to see how the old polarity continues between the two types of DeskTop Publisher , with Pagemaker's "artwork" at one end of a continuum and and Ventura's "book/long document" at the other.

Serif's PagePlus offered a very clever compromise; I'm not sure where Affinity Publisher is going yet, but it feels rather PageMaker-ish. The lack of a text-editor implies this, I think.

 

 

Since my only experience with something like DTP is LaTeX, I believe you about this dichotomy. But to me, it seems like a false one. Why not make software that switches easily between "place everything for me" and "let me fiddle with everything individually."

Frankly, LaTeX itself is ungodly levels of kludgy, but the fundamental idea of telling the program what you intend text to do, and have that then converted into results, is quite sound, especially for things where formatting is its own beast (like the PhD thesis I just wrote), and I don't understand why more consumer programs don't embrace that model.

Take Publisher, which is what this forum is about after all. Presumably, given the name, they want people to make books with it...so why isn't there a "Chapter Heading" text type. For my own part, I made one. It has a counter, always starts on a new page, etc. But why did I have to make one at all? If I am writing a novel, I want total control over character and paragraph styles, but chances are the two will be always be linked together, and chances are a novel will have "chapters." 

It seems to me that the act and art of "Publishing" refers to a massive sliding scale of text/content:formatting/design ratio  printing a novel, which is 95% writing content and 5% formatting. It could refer to making a textbook, which is more like 70% content and 25% format. It could refer to a brochure, which is probably 50/50, or it could mean an advertising flyer, which is probably 25% content/text and 75% design. However, they all have the same basic stuff - characters, ligatures, spacing within text boxes, spacing of text boxes, etc. that you want to control finely, so there isn't much 

The ideal version of something like Publisher, to me, would have a handful of "modes" which highlight and alter the settings you care about, and a different emphasis on automated processes. 

If you are making a slide-show (as I do plan on doing in Publisher once its more stable and integrates well with Designer),  you want a master template slide with editable title text and text boxes, and the ability to intuitively add color swatches and a small number of text formats with the emphasis on Character settings rather than Paragraph settings. Basically, nothing you can't do in Designer right now, but add the nice text and table tools that Publisher already has, along with a more robust templating system, and it would be perfect.

Or, you can turn it on in book mode, and the default behavior becomes automatic page formation, master text box size, and text formatting is defaulted to combined Character and Paragraph settings, so its easy to designate text as "Chapter Title" or "Section Header" with menu items, and make the default setting be intertwined character and paragraph settings, with automatic counting and indexing of chapters/figures/etc. The default studio sidebar would be a text based (rather than page based) outline view. Basically, something a publisher could give to an author that the author could actually use to write with, and then give back and work with a designer for look and feel, rather than the MS word based hell I imagine it being.

Macro packs and templates will go a long way, but it seems to me that what is needed is out-of-the-box default behaviors.

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11 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

I don't understand that. Why do you say there's no text editor?

Not the person you're asking, but in my view, to qualify as a "text editor," there would need to be a space that didn't impose page breaks on the words. Basically, a space I could write, edit, or paste, text and then the software would put it into text boxes, pages, etc.

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2 minutes ago, powderizedbookworm said:

Not the person you're asking, but in my view, to qualify as a "text editor," there would need to be a space that didn't impose page breaks on the words. Basically, a space I could write, edit, or paste, text and then the software would put it into text boxes, pages, etc.

OK, so you don't  consider Word, or LibreOffice, to be (or include) text editors either. Only simple things like Notepad or NotePad++, etc.

Thanks.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1809, 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and 1.7.0.333 Beta       / Affinity Designer 1.6..5.123 and 1.7.0.333 Beta    / Affinity Publisher 1.7.0.337 Beta

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30 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

OK, so you don't  consider Word, or LibreOffice, to be (or include) text editors either. Only simple things like Notepad or NotePad++, etc.

Thanks.

Not as such, no. Word processors aren't text editors, but they can behave like one, which Publisher cannot do currently.

For instance, Word has a web layout which lets text flow freely around the screen.

More importantly, if you paste 50,000 words of text into Word, Word will make as many pages as is necessary to accommodate that text. If you reduce the size of the margins, Word will understand that you wish to alter the area of text on every page. Every page will reflect that change, and as many pages as are necessary will be created to accommodate it.

Currently, Publisher has no way to wrangle huge amounts of text without worrying about formatting, and has no way to globally change the default formatting. This is fine for brochures, but is not fine for books.

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54 minutes ago, powderizedbookworm said:

More importantly, if you paste 50,000 words of text into Word, Word will make as many pages as is necessary to accommodate that text. If you reduce the size of the margins, Word will understand that you wish to alter the area of text on every page. Every page will reflect that change, and as many pages as are necessary will be created to accommodate it.

Currently, Publisher has no way to wrangle huge amounts of text without worrying about formatting, and has no way to globally change the default formatting. This is fine for brochures, but is not fine for books.

Publisher will do some of that now. Create a Text Frame on a document page, and put as much text into it as you want. Shift-click on the link icon and you have as many pages as are needed to hold the text, with text frames identical to the one you started in. It will also let you change the formatting  of the text in the frames. However, at this point you can't change the layout of all those frames (width, height, position on all the pages) without playing some games that have odd behavior and bugs. So, yes, improvements are needed.

But I was asking about the contention that it lacks a text editor, and you've said a text editor doesn't need to worry about pagination.

While I think that Publisher's text editor may lack some nice functions (yes, a GREP-based Find/Replace would be good), I would say that it does have one.

 


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1809, 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and 1.7.0.333 Beta       / Affinity Designer 1.6..5.123 and 1.7.0.333 Beta    / Affinity Publisher 1.7.0.337 Beta

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