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Hi everyone

Is it possible in Affinity Publisher to create one layer system so that it applies to all pages (existing and new)?
In other words - I create two layers: Layer1 and Layer2. And from now on all pages in the current document have the same set of layers. The new pages will also have the same set of layers.

Thank you for your help

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@MEB @Designer_George Could either of you explain - briefly, if necessary - what "global layers" would be useful for please?
I'm having trouble thinking of a publication where every single page/spread would have the same items on it.
I can imagine it might be useful to someone making different-looking sections of a publication in different PDFs and then stitching them together later, but surely anything with even just a title page will have at least one page that is different from the rest.
There's obviously some need for it - because at least one person has requested it - but I can't see what it would be. Then again, maybe once I know what it's for I will want it myself.
P.S. Maybe page numbers on a dissertation or report is one use, but it's not difficult to put them on a master page and then apply the master to all pages/spreads at once.

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@A_B_C Ah, I think I see it now, thanks. Your videos definitely helped.

It was the phrase "all pages in the current document have the same set of layers" that was confusing me. It sounded very much like all of the pages had the same layers on them, but it's not that at all.

So, if I've got this right, a global layer is a 'something' that encompasses layers across all pages/spreads which can all be switched on/off at the same time. For instance, I could have a global layer which contains all the text for the whole document in English and another global layer which contains all of the text in French, and I could switch between the two languages - across the whole document - by simply switching one global layer 'on' and the other 'off'. The layout, guides, pictures and other stuff can stay the same but I can switch between the languages easily. Essentially I can have different versions of the same document within one document and don't have to duplicate the document, or maintain different documents, to accommodate any differences. Have I got this right, up to a point at least?

If I've understood it correctly then I can now understand why lots of people might want this, especially in a professional setting.

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1 hour ago, GarryP said:

@A_B_C Ah, I think I see it now, thanks. Your videos definitely helped.

It was the phrase "all pages in the current document have the same set of layers" that was confusing me. It sounded very much like all of the pages had the same layers on them, but it's not that at all.

So, if I've got this right, a global layer is a 'something' that encompasses layers across all pages/spreads which can all be switched on/off at the same time. For instance, I could have a global layer which contains all the text for the whole document in English and another global layer which contains all of the text in French, and I could switch between the two languages - across the whole document - by simply switching one global layer 'on' and the other 'off'. The layout, guides, pictures and other stuff can stay the same but I can switch between the languages easily. Essentially I can have different versions of the same document within one document and don't have to duplicate the document, or maintain different documents, to accommodate any differences. Have I got this right, up to a point at least?

If I've understood it correctly then I can now understand why lots of people might want this, especially in a professional setting.

Okay, I think I understand. If your definition is correct I could get behind this. I had a hard time trying to wrap my head around the concept's utility versus Master Pages. 


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It would also allow a single master page to have elements both above and below the page content.  By creating three global layers, for example, you could have the "behind" content on the bottom global layer and the "above" content on the top global layer (within the master page), with the individual page content in the middle global layer.

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2 hours ago, fde101 said:

It would also allow a single master page to have elements both above and below the page content.  By creating three global layers, for example, you could have the "behind" content on the bottom global layer and the "above" content on the top global layer (within the master page), with the individual page content in the middle global layer.

Just to add, this is currently possible too, if you care for using two different master pages. You only have to apply two master pages to the same layout page and place your content in between the contents of these master pages in the layers list. Nonetheless, with global layers, it would be much easier to achieve this, and you could use a single master page. So good point, fde101 … :)

Masters.png.75da1acd8f6ab3ed1eeb448cbdbf0e79.png

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On 1/10/2019 at 11:37 AM, MEB said:

Hi Designer_George,
Welcome to Affinity Forums :)
No, this is not available in the current Beta. There's however plans to support global layers in an upcoming version (after Publisher's release).

Just a quick question (and I have a nagging feeling this has been already answered elsewhere, but please bear with me): is this global layer system being made available in Designer as well?

It's an absolute must in Publisher, way more than in Designer, but for website interface mockup projects (which are kind of like “interactive/digital DTP files”, if you think about it) on the latter it would be a godsend (in fact, I mentioned as much on an earlier feature request I made for just that feature).

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On 1/10/2019 at 8:05 PM, fde101 said:

It would also allow a single master page to have elements both above and below the page content.  By creating three global layers, for example, you could have the "behind" content on the bottom global layer and the "above" content on the top global layer (within the master page), with the individual page content in the middle global layer.

Yep. This is precisely the way I use global layers in InDesign. I have one layer for backgrounds, one layer for text frames, one layer for images (in those rare cases when they aren't linked to anchors, of course), one layer for static graphic elements, etc.

I find it really helps a lot in keeping things tidy and protecting objects even when editing master pages.

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7 minutes ago, JGD said:

Yep. This is precisely the way I use global layers in InDesign. I have one layer for backgrounds, one layer for text frames, one layer for images, one layer for static graphic elements, etc.

I find it really helps a lot in keeping things tidy and protecting objects even when editing master pages.

Forgive my ignorance, but if you don't ask … .

In what kind of document is this practice necessary or useful? I can see that in the above case of two different languages it could be a definite boon, but other than that, why have your elements on different layers? 

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13 minutes ago, KenzDen said:

Forgive my ignorance, but if you don't ask … .

In what kind of document is this practice necessary or useful? I can see that in the above case of two different languages it could be a definite boon, but other than that, why have your elements on different layers? 

In very complex documents, with page decoration, tables, extra information outside of the main text frames like event dates or times, coloured or even vector page backgrounds (like logo- and/or pattern-based watermarks), non-linked images (and believe me when I tell you that for finer control and really varied, magazine/brochure-like layouts, sometimes linking them is a terrible idea) etc. I can think of quite a few projects (maybe half of all of my work) where I've used layers for that, and it really is great to be able to quickly lock and hide stuff on demand and en masse.

And sometimes just out of habit and good practice, just in case I do need to adjust my design and segregate stuff further down the road. My experience tells me that when working in complex design projects with finicky clients (or even just for dealing with creative bursts out of my own volition), foresight and good planning, especially in the beginning stages of every project, when you may be less stressed out and have more time to spare, is absolutely key.

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2 minutes ago, JGD said:

In very complex documents, with page decoration, tables, extra information outside of the main text frames like event dates or times, coloured or even vector page backgrounds (like logo- and/or pattern-based watermarks), etc. I can think of quite a few projects (maybe half of all of my work) where I've used layers for that.

And sometimes just out of habit and good practice, just in case I do need to adjust my design and segregate stuff further down the road. My experience tells me that when working in complex design projects with finicky clients (or even just for dealing with creative bursts out of my own volition), foresight and good planning is absolutely key.

Okay, thanks. I've known *about* layers for a long time, but since most of my work has involved only "flat" pages and one language, Master Pages have done what I needed so far, and it didn't seem time-efficient to use layers. I am, however, soon to be working on files that I have created but that will then be translated into other languages, so layers could really come in handy.

I appreciate the information.

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58 minutes ago, KenzDen said:

Okay, thanks. I've known *about* layers for a long time, but since most of my work has involved only "flat" pages and one language, Master Pages have done what I needed so far, and it didn't seem time-efficient to use layers. I am, however, soon to be working on files that I have created but that will then be translated into other languages, so layers could really come in handy.

I appreciate the information.

Yep, I fully concur. I never had to do long form bilingual stuff (only programmes with inline bilingual stuff set in different styles), but I'm sure it will come in handy. By the way, if you want to see some examples of my work (and work by my colleagues, both those who came before and after me), you can check this page: http://www.admedic.pt/portfolio.html (there's an english version, but it only goes as far back as last year and obviously doesn't include any project done by me).

My tenure includes the last four congresses in Nov. 2014, and most of the congresses in the entire year of 2015, and you can spot mine from a mile away because I tend to use a lot of repeating patterns ( http://www.admedic.pt/uploads/2congressourosexopatianeurog-nia.pdf , http://www.admedic.pt/uploads/Programa-Preliminar-Curso-APNUG-de-Urodin-mica-23-03-2015.pdf , http://www.admedic.pt/uploads/Programa-XIII-CPG-2015-06-04.pdf , http://www.admedic.pt/uploads/Programa-A5-X-Congresso-APNUG-2015.pdf , http://www.admedic.pt/uploads/Programa-Cient-fico-182-Reuni-o-SPG_2015-11-04.pdf), textured backgrounds (http://www.admedic.pt/uploads/PROGRAMA-Wksp-LMP-HFAR-2015-web.pdf , http://www.admedic.pt/uploads/Monofolha-Wksp-LRC-HFAR-2015-09-03.pdf ) and just more abstract and simpler vector+bitmap stuff ( http://www.admedic.pt/uploads/Programa-CBColposcopia-2014-PORTF-LIO.pdf , http://www.admedic.pt/uploads/ProgramaCientificoCursoB-sicodeColposcopia-2015-11-03.pdf , http://www.admedic.pt/uploads/Programa-Congresso-APU-2015-09-15.pdf ).

Interestingly, this last project is a great example of one of the first practical uses I made of Affinity Designer instead of Illustrator for gradients (too bad they got so mangled with compression), and of the absolute need for anchored objects. Just imagine having to manually reposition all of those stupid little pharma logos or those pixel/vector-based separators each and every time I had to edit something on that programme… Do you guys finally understand the kind of apparently basic projects I did in InDesign, which I could never do in Publisher in a reasonable timeframe or without hating it to the guts in the process (even more than I already hate Adobe)?

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Some other usefull global layers:

• having one for adds, you can lock so none will be deleted by mistake, and it'll be easier to delete/recreate the layer when you need to import the new adds in the publication

• having one for "calibrage". That mean adding colorfull text frames with max/optimum lenght of text for headers, articles, etc. We need to send such infos to clients so they would try to give us articles with the correct lenght that we wouldn't need to shorten. It's easy to hide such layer, and only show and update contents when needed.

• when using some scripts, it's usefull too to have new created/modified elements on a new or specific layer (we don't have scripts yet... I know :) )

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Without wanting to add to the complexity in this area I think it might be good if global layers were not called global layers.
Using the word "layer" for both a 'normal' layer and a 'global' layer might get some users mixed up as they are for different things.

I don't know how well this would translate into different languages but could I suggest using the word "Sheet" instead of "Global Layer"?

A "Sheet" implies - to me - something that is either placed under, inserted between, or placed on top of many other things.
In the real, physical, world you can put a sheet under lots of things, such as to protect floors when painting, or between various things, like in a bed or a book, or on top of things, like a dust cover, and I think it's a fairly easy concept to grasp. Easier to grasp than "Global Layer", to me anyway.

Master Pages would still be applied to pages and spreads, Layers would still be arranged on the pages, but Sheets could go under, through or above all of them while not being related to a single page or spread.
I think this might help to alleviate confusion as a "Sheet" is something separate - no confusion with different types of layers - and, also, can be more easily searched for (in English at least).

Anyway, it's just a thought.

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I think the existing Layer panel should be renamed Page Items, since all items on that page are displayed in z order and nothing else. And a new panel called User Layers should be introduced, in which all items within that Layer would be displayed and on all pages. I doubt if Serif would want to rename a panel but I think there is some logic in doing so. Or perhaps the existing Layers panel could have a toggle to enable it to be switched between page items and user layers.


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I'm not sure that calling them "User Layers" would alleviate much confusion.
Aren't all layers, "user layers" in that they are created by the user?
I just don't see what putting "user" in front of "layer" gets us in terms of usability.
If we absolutely have to stick with "layers" then even "Global Layers" is a little bit easier to fathom than "User Layers" to me.

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@GarryP
What is complicated about the term "global layer"?

@MickRose
The Layers panel contains layers. Then why would you want to call it other than "layers"?


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2 hours ago, GarryP said:

I'm not sure that calling them "User Layers" would alleviate much confusion.
Aren't all layers, "user layers" in that they are created by the user?
I just don't see what putting "user" in front of "layer" gets us in terms of usability.
If we absolutely have to stick with "layers" then even "Global Layers" is a little bit easier to fathom than "User Layers" to me. 

2) No, its the object which is created by the user, not the layer. The software then puts it in the Layer panel at the appropriate position. It has a certain position in the z order.
3) A User Layer would be a sort of virtual container created by the user to hold objects - it's not an object in itself. It exists so that, for example, all items throughout a multipage document which have been allocated a user layer can be hidden with one click.

Both InDesign & Quark have a layer system which is user definable and that is one of their strengths. New layers can be added and existing objects can be moved to these new layers. Obviously the z order of the document will change but for any kind of flexibility and user control it really is important.


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In the Affinity apps, starting with Designer and Photo and now inherited by Publisher, each object on the page is a layer, and groups and adjustment layers and the like are also layers.

In most traditional page layout software, these objects are not referred to as layers, so what we are calling "global layers" are simply called "layers" in the other programs, and they would refer to the Affinity layers as being "objects" or "items" - so there is a disconnect in terminology here.

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Or, you know, you could just call them Document Layers and Artboard/Page layers (Artboard for Designer, Page for Publisher). Boom, done.

And now that you mention it, in the current layer implementation in Designer, layers are in fact just glorified groups whose contents you don't have to double-click to select/edit/move separately and which are dependent upon a specific artboard. Serif basically made something that isn't quite as functional as Layers, and not as rigid as groups, thus leaving that functionality in this sort of weird uncanny valley.

And speaking of groups and global stuff, the same goes for groups and objects, as there should be global groups/objects. You *must* be able to have objects outside of artboards, or even spanning multiple artboards (and yes, that should/could also apply for spreads in Publisher, as it's very common to have objects, namely images, spanning both sides of a spread or multiple pages on a multiple-page leaflet, something which isn't possible in Publisher yet but which Serif devs definitely must take into account for future proofing).

I know this will force Serif to rethink the whole document interaction/structure model, or add further complexity in the form of yet another user preference, but it must be done in order to take certain workflows into account. Not being able to have objects temporarily outside of artboards and in the pasteboard while maintaining their relation to the overall layer hierarchy drives me nuts, as does having them auto-crop when they are halfway inside and outside of an artboard.

Maybe some illustrators and even graphic and UX designers like working that way, but to me (and many other people, I'm guessing), that's completely bass-ackwards. Yes, many designers and illustrators are messy, and like (nay, have a need for) being so. As for Publisher, do not even think of making auto-crop the default behaviour; that's what Preview view mode should be there for, and you could add it to Designer retroactively as well (as the current default behaviour, and it could still be the default, except it would be toggleable). Your working documents do not have to be pretty, and DTP apps are not strictly WYSIWYG until you trigger some sort of preview mode. The same goes for spreadsheet apps, word processors, presentation apps, etc.…

Most people (especially prosumers and professionals) are way more capable of handling those abstractions (like global layers) and the concept of hidden/non-printing elements than you seem to give them credit for… as long as you give those features intuitive names and decent discoverability. And yes, for artists, there absolutely must be a totally WYSIWYG working mode (make it a Persona, if you will), but a DTP app is as technical and un-artist-y as it gets. It's a workhorse, and while its documents don't have to be ugly and cluttered, they don't have to be totally pretty in their default view either. In fact, I think the default view on an app aimed at long form typesetting should even include hidden characters, to avoid common mistakes. Yep, there, I said it.

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12 minutes ago, JGD said:

Or, you know, you could just call them Document Layers and Artboard/Page layers (Artboard for Designer, Page for Publisher). Boom, done.

We could call them Zebras and Anteaters, but in the end they are what they are.

 

14 minutes ago, JGD said:

layers are in fact just glorified groups

Some layers are groups, but not all.  Shapes, embedded documents, text objects, adjustments, etc. are all layers.  Layers are not automatically created for them, the objects themselves are the layers.  This is a typical behavior of many modern graphics programs (though not so common in page layout software, and most programs use different names for them).  The Affinity Layers studio is roughly the equivalent of Blender's Outliner, for example.

 

17 minutes ago, JGD said:

Not being able to have objects temporarily outside of artboards and in the pasteboard while maintaining their relation to the overall layer hierarchy

This can be done already.  There is a menu option that is on by default and hides them when outside of the page area, but you can turn that off.

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