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'Books' and longer documents with sections

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After poking around thoroughly in Publisher, I did not see one feature that I find incredibly handy in ID - creating 'books'. I saw another thread where someone suggested using Publisher's 'Sections' as a way to handle longer documents, though I'm not sure this is the way to go and keep the program running smoothly.

ID handles books by creating a 'container' into which you can add or remove other ID files as 'sections' - allowing you to rearrange each as needed, add/remove pages inside each and automatically updating page numbers as you shift things around. You can even tell the 'book' that all section's styles should be children of 1 master style, allowing you to only have to update a style once to populate it across all sections.

There is a longish publication I work on each year that I find easiest to wrangle by creating it as a 'book' instead of a 100+ page file. I'm not 100% sure I'd want to attempt this same publication in Publisher without some way to better manage these sections.

I'm not saying Affinity should recreate what Adobe has done - I am suggesting they could add this feature and have it work even better than Adobe's does. :-)

 

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If I may add a related question:

Writing a particular book at the moment, I find it easier to handle files chapter by chapter: these are smallish files I can create, edit, and circulate for review.

When the time comes, is there a simple way to merge my chapter files, create a global table of contents, create a global index, and so on?

Or should I be working with one big "book" file from the start?

Thanks for any advice.


Using macOS 10.13.6 and Publisher 1.7.0.337

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On 12/24/2018 at 12:26 PM, cubesquareredux said:

If I may add a related question:

Writing a particular book at the moment, I find it easier to handle files chapter by chapter: these are smallish files I can create, edit, and circulate for review.

When the time comes, is there a simple way to merge my chapter files, create a global table of contents, create a global index, and so on?

Or should I be working with one big "book" file from the start?

Thanks for any advice.

Is there any reason you're doing this directly in Publisher first? I would think basic text files (LibraOffice, Word, etc.) would be the best for writing, editing, and circulating chapters of a book. Publisher is more for final layout, I would think. Unless your book includes a lot of images you want proofed at the same time?

If the are already individually saved in Publisher, as it's still in Beta, I think your best bet of merging would be to open all of the individual files, and then copy/paste into a comprehensive file? Since there is currently no 'book' feature. Then the rest (TOC and indexing) can all be done in the one file.

Otherwise, if you're not in a hurry, I'd suggest waiting and hope they implement a 'book' feature so you don't have to go through that tedious work.

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17 hours ago, Loquos said:

Is there any reason you're doing this directly in Publisher first?

Fair question.

Some history: I've been using Macs since the first one was available. When Charles Simonyi's Word was first released for the Mac, I used it, quite happily. I stayed with Word until version 5.1 (this was in the early '90s). Then Microsoft simply discarded that product and offered its so-called "version 6." In disgust I discarded Microsoft: not only its word-processor but everything. I found alternatives and never went back. (In those days, before Windows 95 swamped the software market, there were still a number of decent alternatives on the Mac side.) Similarly, when Adobe released Photoshop and later InDesign I used both products, quite happily. You can maybe guess when I discarded Adobe, never to return.

When Apple released Pages and Numbers, I used both, and still use both, quite happily. (Luckily my days of giving stand-up presentations are mostly over, but if they weren't I'd be a satisfied Keynote user as well.) Meanwhile I've been using BBEdit for various tasks since Rich Siegel first made it available at no charge (this also was in the early '90s).

So that's a bit of background.

You ask why I'm writing this particular book directly in Publisher. Answer: It's a bit of an experiment. The book is about 50% "primary text" and 50% images, charts, call-outs, and marginalia of various kinds. What I find is that the positioning of all these items on the page affects the text I want to write. If I were to write the text separately without thinking about what appears next to it on the page, I'd be writing a different (and inferior) book.

I suppose I could use a separate writing tool and then assemble collages on paper to see what's what — but I stopped doing that somewhere in the '80s.

 

17 hours ago, Loquos said:

If the are already individually saved in Publisher, as it's still in Beta, I think your best bet of merging would be to open all of the individual files, and then copy/paste into a comprehensive file? Since there is currently no 'book' feature. Then the rest (TOC and indexing) can all be done in the one file.

Otherwise, if you're not in a hurry, I'd suggest waiting and hope they implement a 'book' feature so you don't have to go through that tedious work.

So far, I've written only a few chapters; eventually there will be many. Each one is relatively short. While preparing each chapter, obviously I've kept to a sort of "master format" that's common to all chapters. If I have to copy/paste all files into one, or "add them up" in some other Affinity-designed way, there should not be any conflicts.

Yes, a "book" feature would be grand. (Honestly I'm still a little shocked that it wasn't built in from Day Zero.)

Thanks much for your comment. Additional advice would be more than welcome.

 


Using macOS 10.13.6 and Publisher 1.7.0.337

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On 12/26/2018 at 12:14 PM, cubesquareredux said:

You ask why I'm writing this particular book directly in Publisher. Answer: It's a bit of an experiment. The book is about 50% "primary text" and 50% images, charts, call-outs, and marginalia of various kinds. What I find is that the positioning of all these items on the page affects the text I want to write. If I were to write the text separately without thinking about what appears next to it on the page, I'd be writing a different (and inferior) book.

I suppose I could use a separate writing tool and then assemble collages on paper to see what's what — but I stopped doing that somewhere in the '80s.

So far, I've written only a few chapters; eventually there will be many. Each one is relatively short. While preparing each chapter, obviously I've kept to a sort of "master format" that's common to all chapters. If I have to copy/paste all files into one, or "add them up" in some other Affinity-designed way, there should not be any conflicts.

Yes, a "book" feature would be grand. (Honestly I'm still a little shocked that it wasn't built in from Day Zero.)

Thanks much for your comment. Additional advice would be more than welcome.

 

I have been on a Mac (at home) since childhood. My father worked as a computer IT (back when discs were the size of pizzas) for DuPont and always came home complaining about all of the problems with Microsoft, Dell, etc. So I've learned to navigate Apple-friendly software alternatives since I was about 8 years old. (I started on Graphic Converter AGES ago!)

As the majority of my paid work is creating layouts and wrangling text, I would have preferred to 'story board' something of this experimental nature, before assembling. This way I can set myself a sort of guide for how many total pages I want to aim to end up with, what each chapter should contain, and what each page in a chapter should contain (more or less). I find it always easier to edit down text. I'd start laying out each chapter by blocking/framing, adding the essential images, charts, etc. And then add the primary text - if there's too much text for a particular space, I edit down OR consider adding a 2-4 pages to the chapter.

For layouts and design, I prefer to plan, then do. But I recognize everyone works a bit differently. Since this is your own project, and not client work, I say do what works best for you!

I agree the 'book' feature would be the best way to tackle this from a layout perspective - but as we don't know yet whether this will be included once Publisher is released from beta, at this stage I'd recommend keeping it all together.

The biggest thing I've laid out so far on Publisher beta is a 20 page 'newsletter/magazine' for a client. It worked quite well (even better once they fixed the master page bug) and I'm already planning to continue with doing this project in Publisher each issue, ready to throw my cash at Affinity as soon as they release the paid version.

I have one other annual client project that's 100+ pages and 8 beefy 'chapters' to wrangle, which is currently in InDesign and uses their 'book' feature. Though, the more I think of it, the only reason I made it a book in the first place was because ID was soooo clunky on my older Mac once you got past 25 pages or so that it was a total headache every time I had to open and work on that one massive file. Maybe Publisher (like Designer & Photo) will handle these same tasks smoother, and not having a 'book' feature when they release it from beta won't hinder my ability to cut the Adobe cord completely. 

Still would be nice, especially if a client comes back with a request to completely rearrange chapter orders!

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22 hours ago, Loquos said:

 Though, the more I think of it, the only reason I made it a book in the first place was because ID was soooo clunky on my older Mac once you got past 25 pages or so that it was a total headache every time I had to open and work on that one massive file. Maybe Publisher (like Designer & Photo) will handle these same tasks smoother, and not having a 'book' feature when they release it from beta won't hinder my ability to cut the Adobe cord completely.

Currently with 16 GB of memory you won't make it past 30 pages for a photo book if you want to keep image layers.

We will see if this is either a bug / something unoptimized or if Publisher will also need such a feature to circumvent too big projects.

I have no InDesign, so I cant tell if this is something thats just a Publisher problem or in general too big to handle.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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54 minutes ago, Steps said:

...

I have no InDesign, so I cant tell if this is something thats just a Publisher problem or in general too big to handle.

In general if a layout application truly links to image files (unlike APub), then yes, performance is very much better. They use low-resolution proxy images that they create (and those are embedded). So the working files are smaller and far quicker to navigate in.

Mike


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

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9 hours ago, MikeW said:

In general if a layout application truly links to image files (unlike APub), then yes, performance is very much better. They use low-resolution proxy images that they create (and those are embedded). So the working files are smaller and far quicker to navigate in.

Mike

I hope they consider going that way as it seems that embedded files is the wrong direction, at least for big projects like mine.

Even if the proxy would just be the rasterized version (= saving a rasterized proxy after every resize) it would greatly help the performance of the app.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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On 12/26/2018 at 9:14 AM, cubesquareredux said:

Fair question.

Some history: I've been using Macs since the first one was available. When Charles Simonyi's Word was first released for the Mac, I used it, quite happily. I stayed with Word until version 5.1 (this was in the early '90s). Then Microsoft simply discarded that product and offered its so-called "version 6." In disgust I discarded Microsoft: not only its word-processor but everything. I found alternatives and never went back. (In those days, before Windows 95 swamped the software market, there were still a number of decent alternatives on the Mac side.) Similarly, when Adobe released Photoshop and later InDesign I used both products, quite happily. You can maybe guess when I discarded Adobe, never to return.

When Apple released Pages and Numbers, I used both, and still use both, quite happily. (Luckily my days of giving stand-up presentations are mostly over, but if they weren't I'd be a satisfied Keynote user as well.) Meanwhile I've been using BBEdit for various tasks since Rich Siegel first made it available at no charge (this also was in the early '90s).

So that's a bit of background.

You ask why I'm writing this particular book directly in Publisher. Answer: It's a bit of an experiment. The book is about 50% "primary text" and 50% images, charts, call-outs, and marginalia of various kinds. What I find is that the positioning of all these items on the page affects the text I want to write. If I were to write the text separately without thinking about what appears next to it on the page, I'd be writing a different (and inferior) book.

I suppose I could use a separate writing tool and then assemble collages on paper to see what's what — but I stopped doing that somewhere in the '80s.

 

So far, I've written only a few chapters; eventually there will be many. Each one is relatively short. While preparing each chapter, obviously I've kept to a sort of "master format" that's common to all chapters. If I have to copy/paste all files into one, or "add them up" in some other Affinity-designed way, there should not be any conflicts.

Yes, a "book" feature would be grand. (Honestly I'm still a little shocked that it wasn't built in from Day Zero.)

Thanks much for your comment. Additional advice would be more than welcome.

 

I totally agree with you.   I am biting the bullet with v. 206, which is pretty seamless in my opinion.   I am currently completely revising a long and illustrated book I originally wrote several years ago using InDesign.  I have the whole thing converted from PDF to a single .afpub file and after reformatting the master pages,  text flow, and paragraph and text style settings, am now writing directly in Publisher.  It is working very smoothly.  Especially since Publisher is in beta, I am covering my tracks by very frequent Saves.  I am also doing a Save As, and giving it another document name, whenever I add something tricky, like additional pages at the front, or within the document.   Then if I have a disaster, I can go back to the previous saved version (i.e. “first copy” or “second copy”) without losing the whole thing.     I cannot see any good reason to type everything out in something like Word, or poor old Pages, and then laboriously place it in Publisher.    Publisher is an excellent word processor on its own!   And fast!!

I am not worrying about “widows, orphans, runts” or indexes, or tables of contents, or anything else until I am done with the copy.    Nor am I worrying about where the illustrations are finding themselves as additional text flows before or after them.   All that comes later when I add them in the correct (and undoubtedly changed) spot and use text wrap.  In places where I am adding a several-page insert of new material, I am writing that as a new Publisher file, editing it, and then doing a copy/paste into the major file.    So far it is working beautifully.    I might add that I am using Affinity Photo to spruce up several illustrations that include copies of paintings from the 1400’s and 1500’s.    That inpainting brush tool is a godsend!

Last, unless you have a predetermined page limit why not let the text, and what you want to say,  be the decision for where the images, charts, etc. are placed, rather than placing them and then limiting text to conform?  (always presuming that a chart doesn’t hit the bottom of a page!).   

As for Adobe.   Right.    Gone and not bemoaned!!!

Happy New Year


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 (pre-ordered); Publisher beta v. 1.7.0.384; Affinity Photo 1.7 and Photo Beta 1.7.1.138;  Affinity Designer 1.7. 

Magic mouse.9_9

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@jmwellborn How many pages does your book have? How many images in what resolution do you have? Are they linked or embedded?

I really wonder that you did not run into problems so far.

18 minutes ago, jmwellborn said:

I am also doing a Save As, and giving it another document name, whenever I add something tricky, like additional pages at the front, or within the document.

Yeah, at this state this is an essential tip. Somehow the "Save as" with another name cleans the document out of garbage that a normal "Save" does not.

Every three pages I also do this to get rid of about 100 MB. I really wonder what these information are that get discarded by doing it.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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19 minutes ago, Steps said:

@jmwellborn How many pages does your book have? How many images in what resolution do you have? Are they linked or embedded?

I really wonder that you did not run into problems so far.

Yeah, at this state this is an essential tip. Somehow the "Save as" with another name cleans the document out of garbage that a normal "Save" does not.

Every three pages I also do this to get rid of about 100 MB. I really wonder what these information are that get discarded by doing it.

Nope.  No problems.  Both Save and Save As are always good ideas.   Not just “at this state...”.   Good move!


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 (pre-ordered); Publisher beta v. 1.7.0.384; Affinity Photo 1.7 and Photo Beta 1.7.1.138;  Affinity Designer 1.7. 

Magic mouse.9_9

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21 minutes ago, jmwellborn said:

Nope.  No problems.  Both Save and Save As are always good ideas.   Not just “at this state...”.   Good move!

Ok, but to come closer to the cause of the problems here it would be helpful to know more about the size of your project. How many pages with how many images, what resolution they have, if they're linked or embedded and how much memory your system has. If you feel to share that information, of course.

As far as I know there are stability problems after 30 pages with 16 GB of memory and 72 pages with 32 GB of memory.

If your project is larger than that and you do not encounter problems it's helpful to know how your project is different. Maybe you just don't have problems because your project is small enough.

Maybe it's a difference between the Windows and Mac build. The more information we get on this the better.

So?


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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1 hour ago, jmwellborn said:

I cannot see any good reason to type everything out in something like Word, or poor old Pages, and then laboriously place it in Publisher.  

Well, Word and Pages are word processors and meant for typing. Placing result to Publisher should be breeze, not laborious as Publisher is meant for layout. But if Publisher serves you as word processor, why not using it.

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Honestly it always depends what one wants to do and understands when using the term "books" here. Most publishing software like maybe InDesign, Quark (and hopefully one day APublisher) can be used for creating brochures, flyers, prospects, shorter manuals etc. But for huge technical publications or >1000 pages books there are other tools ofter better suited than InDesign and Co.

See for example a related theme here ...

Quote

InDesign was made to produce high-quality layout and definitely has a tremendous edge in terms of graphics tools for all sorts of marketing content. The application shines when it comes to beautiful print and refined typography. InDesign shares almost the same interface and user experience with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator and all are part of the Adobe Creative Cloud.

FrameMaker certainly takes the lead when it comes to publishing long and complex documents with more than 1000 pages. It also offers unparalleled support for working on structured content and helps the author create XML content with DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture). FrameMaker is part of the Adobe Technical Communication Suite (TCS), which includes RoboHelp software to convert FM content to a variety of online help systems.

... or something like ...

For desktop publishing projects like huge technical publications, or huge books with realy many pages, there is other dedicated software much more suited for. - Like FrameMaker for example.


☛ Affinity Designer 1.7.0 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.7.0 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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IMHO number of pages does not really affect the efficiency of InDesign but other factors in long document format: multiuser functions, cross referencing, updating mechanisms.

In fact I should study FrameMaker some as some of our products are going to use DITA / database publishing system in near future.

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 Many, many pages, fellas.   It is a book.   Going splendidly.   It is a free world so we can each use what we choose.   I choose Publisher.


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 (pre-ordered); Publisher beta v. 1.7.0.384; Affinity Photo 1.7 and Photo Beta 1.7.1.138;  Affinity Designer 1.7. 

Magic mouse.9_9

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8 minutes ago, jmwellborn said:

 Many, many pages, fellas.   It is a book.   Going splendidly.   It is a free world so we can each use what we choose.   I choose Publisher.

Your agressive tone is really uncalled for. I don't know why you are so offending all the time.

Also you're not helping the case in any way.

I assume your project is actually just to small to hit the current limit of Publisher. 

But yes, I choose Publisher, too. It surely will become a great tool once it's polished. :)


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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18 hours ago, Fixx said:

IMHO number of pages does not really affect the efficiency of InDesign but other factors in long document format: multiuser functions, cross referencing, updating mechanisms.

In fact I should study FrameMaker some as some of our products are going to use DITA / database publishing system in near future.

I've used FrameMaker in the past, it is quite powerful and more suitable for long, complex technical documents than InDesign but also less user friendly and intuitive than InDesign so you probably will have to adopt a different workflow (i.e. more rigid and structured from the start) for FrameMaker. Unfortunately it still misses a few things that are really useful in InDesign (or Affinity Publisher), of course assuming you use that functionality. If you need to use DITA then FrameMaker is probably one of the few (if not the only)  "DTP consumer oriented" programs available on Mac/Windows or you need to get into dedicated systems for long documents.

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As someone who writes 1000+ pages technical manuals, I would say that InDesign (starting from CS6) is a viable substitute for FrameMaker. In addition, it offers a more modern user interface, more versatility in the page layout, better support from CAT tools, and compatibility with the Mac.

I've been using FrameMaker for about a decade. When the Mac version was dropped, I switched to the Windows version, that was actually a downgrade (less keyboard shortcuts, worse support for extended characters). At the time, InDesign was severely lacking for a technical writer.

With CS5.5, Adobe started to move some long-document features to InDesign, later perfected in CS6. With multi-chapter synchronization, better ToC and Index management, and other useful features for long manuals, InDesign became a good technical writing tool, mixing great page design features and long document management. Plus, it was nearly-ready for eBooks, worked with spreads (instead of pages), was compatible with multimedia file formats, and exported much better PDFs.

What InDesign still lacks is a multi-chapter outliner, allowing for keeping track of the overall book structure. I don't know, however, if multi-chapter books are still the best idea for long books. I know that bundle file formats like Apple's .pages or .rtfd are folders masked by monolithic files, therefore light on reading/writing, but easy to manage. I don't even know if this type of file can be moved to a Windows or Linux platform without becoming a folder. However, maybe a single bundle file, with options to separate and export individual sections, could be a more modern option for long documents (just think Scrivener, and how it deals with separate sections).

Paolo

 

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The readers of this thread would like to try our initial attempt at adding the Master Page text frame and picture frame behaviour and features discussed here.

Please create new bugs forum threads for any bugs you find or post in this discussion/suggestions forum for missing features.


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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1 hour ago, Patrick Connor said:

The readers of this thread would like to try our initial attempt at adding the Master Page text frame and picture frame behaviour and features discussed here.

The changes to Master Pages do not enable me to tie a bunch of Apub document together or do they?

This is what has been asked here.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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Sorry Steps (and others) quite right. I have been a little overenthusiastic adding this post to a number of threads. I should have read the thread more closely.


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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