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LondonSquirrel

Customise Toolbar - add 'export to PDF' option, and a general rant about the interface

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The Customise Toolbar options in Affinity Publisher are limited. Please allow us to add menu items, such as export to PDF. Sure, I can do File, find Export a bit over half way down, choose the PDF tab, then Export. That's 4 clicks for something I should be able to customise for myself. Instead I can customise it only as Serif/Affinity wants to allow me, and that is to a very limited extent.

This is a niggling complaint I have about Affinity Publisher - the interface is just not as good as I would like it to be. It's actually quite awkward at times. Take another example: I add a text frame and I want to be able to customise it. In most programs I can reach that sort of option with a right click and find it as a menu item. Not so with Affinity Publisher. The menu items are lacking. Instead the first time I looked for it, it took me several minutes to figure out it was the 'text frame' button (with some indistinguishable icon) to the right of the number of columns drop down.

It is these seemingly small things which I should be able to customise, but can't, which turns me off this software. I made a previous post about the View/Studio menu item. Again, I should be able to put this where I want it. But I can't. 

Here's another thing, which I first saw in Designer, but the same problem exists in Publisher. If I add a shape, let's say a rectangle, and colour it. All good so far. If I want to add some noise to that colour and double click the colour circle in the Tools, the Colour Chooser appears, but the noise option is not there. If I click the colour circle in the Swatches tab, the noise option is not there. If I click the Fill rectangle in the tool bar, and then click on the circle next to Opacity it changes to Noise. I swear this took me an hour to find in Designer. WHY HIDE THINGS LIKE THIS? It makes the software hard to use. The help find box for Noise is useless. 

I don't think that Affinity is really listening to feedback or complaints (that is what feedback becomes when it is not listened to). I appreciate that they cannot be perfect, but at the same time Wordstar in about 1995 offered customisable menus and toolbars. It isn't that hard to do.

J.

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7 hours ago, LondonSquirrel said:

That's 4 clicks

Why don't you use Export Persona?


Affinity Photo 1.6.5.135, Affinity Designer 1.6.5.135. Affinity Store.
Windows 10 Pro, Version 1809, Build 17763.195.
Latitude E5570, i5-6440HQ 2.60 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics 530, 1920 x 1080.

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I get where @LondonSquirrel is coming from, I had moments where I'm hunting for a particular feature. The right-click context menus really could be a lot more focused, a point in case is copying LayersTabFxIcon_lightui.png.cd5004198fc4fb2c4ff54c10a56c8f97.png to another layer, you can right-click  to copy but you can't right-click to paste, you have to go to the Edit menu and paste, very clumsy. When people get up to speed and learn an interface the shortcomings, and bottlenecks quickly become apparent. 

The interface is a very important part of the Affinity experience, it's like driving a car that you can't get into 3rd or 4th gear. I know a lot of 3D apps have a ridiculous amount of customisation abilities because the apps are so complex, Affinity is nowhere near as complex and should be easier to implement, having more customisation could only be a benefit. I confess I get frustrated at the export options, I see no reason to have a More button when a simple reveal/hide icon would be simpler and quicker to get to "More" settings.

Creating a new category and having to go back to the burger menu to rename it instead of automatically prompting to rename the category is a pet peeve of mine.


iMac 27" Late 2015 Fully Loaded, iMac 27" Mid 2011 both running High Sierra 10.13.6 - Affinity Designer/Photo, Publisher Beta 1.7.0.140, Illustrator CC, Inkscape, Blender, Sketchup, Pepakura Designer, MTC, Pixelmator & Pixelmator Pro + more... XP-Pen Artist-22E, - iPad Pro 12.9 B|  

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33 minutes ago, firstdefence said:

I...he right-click context menus really could be a lot more focused, a point in case is copying LayersTabFxIcon_lightui.png.cd5004198fc4fb2c4ff54c10a56c8f97.png to another layer, you can right-click  to copy but you can't right-click to paste, …

..

 

Using Windows 10 , I right click all the time in all three apps, Photo, Desigher and Publisher beta ,  to paste.  Can you explain what you can't paste?

 

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7 minutes ago, Gerard O said:

Using Windows 10 , I right click all the time in all three apps, Photo, Desigher and Publisher beta ,  to paste.  Can you explain what you can't paste?

 

  • Right-click on a layer that has an LayersTabFxIcon_lightui.png.cd5004198fc4fb2c4ff54c10a56c8f97.png and select Copy
  • Now right-click on another layer and try pasting the LayersTabFxIcon_lightui.png.cd5004198fc4fb2c4ff54c10a56c8f97.png

The copy part is a job lot copy, but using the edit menu allows you to paste just the LayersTabFxIcon_lightui.png.cd5004198fc4fb2c4ff54c10a56c8f97.png This should be doable from the layers right-click menu.


iMac 27" Late 2015 Fully Loaded, iMac 27" Mid 2011 both running High Sierra 10.13.6 - Affinity Designer/Photo, Publisher Beta 1.7.0.140, Illustrator CC, Inkscape, Blender, Sketchup, Pepakura Designer, MTC, Pixelmator & Pixelmator Pro + more... XP-Pen Artist-22E, - iPad Pro 12.9 B|  

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13 minutes ago, firstdefence said:

This should be doable from the layers right-click menu.

Yes, that is the same as Merge Selected (in APh), which could/should be offered, after selecting several layers. Unfortunately, only Merge Visible is offered.

Working with the context is still insufficient.


Affinity Photo 1.6.5.135, Affinity Designer 1.6.5.135. Affinity Store.
Windows 10 Pro, Version 1809, Build 17763.195.
Latitude E5570, i5-6440HQ 2.60 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics 530, 1920 x 1080.

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Actually the contextmenu aka the rightclickmenu should reflect all options within used tool.


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Win10(1809)Home / Photo / Designer / Publisher & latest (beta) versions

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10 hours ago, Pšenda said:

Why don't you use Export Persona?

There is no Export Persona in Publisher Beta. Not that I can see. Or there is, it is not in the same place as in Photo and Designer. But that still doesn't satisfy my needs. Sometimes I just want to export a PDF, without going through hoops.

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11 hours ago, haakoo said:

Actually the contextmenu aka the rightclickmenu should reflect all options within used tool.

How could it possibly include all the options for every tool? Consider for example everything for the Pen tool on the context menu bar, including those that open sub-menus for fill & stroke properties, each with tabs, & some of those with sliders or numeric entry fields, & even one (pressure) with its own window.


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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7 hours ago, R C-R said:

How could it possibly include all the options for every tool? Consider for example everything for the Pen tool on the context menu bar, including those that open sub-menus for fill & stroke properties, each with tabs, & some of those with sliders or numeric entry fields, & even one (pressure) with its own window.

What the OP is asking for is to be able to have an Export Preset on the main ribbon menu, say a fast link to Exports - PDF (For Print) or a customised Preset. I can't see why this couldn't be done. Have a check box for each preset to display on main ribbon menu.

I want Affinity to streamline the Export... process and do away with the "More" button and either have those settings on display below or have a hide/show button to the "More" settings within the export panel, having an extra window display as it does might be cool but from a practical perspective it's poor design (sorry whoever thought of that but it blocks the other settings and adds nothing but another step to info that really should be seen immediately in one panel.


iMac 27" Late 2015 Fully Loaded, iMac 27" Mid 2011 both running High Sierra 10.13.6 - Affinity Designer/Photo, Publisher Beta 1.7.0.140, Illustrator CC, Inkscape, Blender, Sketchup, Pepakura Designer, MTC, Pixelmator & Pixelmator Pro + more... XP-Pen Artist-22E, - iPad Pro 12.9 B|  

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I don't see the need for an extra button, but being able to add it can be helpfull for some if they don't want to use shift+ctrl+alt+s shortcut.

But having an Export persona or a different windows with options visible and easy to modify instead of the "More" button would be great. Something that was already discussed is that option like "bleed" should be in the preset near crop marks and memorized, and not in the general options.

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9 hours ago, R C-R said:

How could it possibly include all the options for every tool? Consider for example everything for the Pen tool on the context menu bar, including those that open sub-menus for fill & stroke properties, each with tabs, & some of those with sliders or numeric entry fields, & even one (pressure) with its own window.

I meant relevant for the tool that is used at the moment and not "all" options
Now you can argue what is relevant but Serif could create an option in the shortkey menu to adjust your own options to the context menu.
But an export button on the toolbar or an export menu is a good idea,with a dropdown to use for most common formats and a button to go to the export persona.


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Win10(1809)Home / Photo / Designer / Publisher & latest (beta) versions

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3 hours ago, firstdefence said:

I want Affinity to streamline the Export... process and do away with the "More" button and either have those settings on display below or have a hide/show button to the "More" settings within the export panel, having an extra window display as it does might be cool but from a practical perspective it's poor design (sorry whoever thought of that but it blocks the other settings and adds nothing but another step to info that really should be seen immediately in one panel.

The Export Persona has a Studio panel that includes every option in the "More" window. Screen space permitting, all the Export Persona panels can be displayed at the same time without blocking anything, including the document view. Like in other Personas, these panels can be docked or floated, individually or in tab groups, & can quickly be collapsed to just the header if they are in the way  & quickly expanded as needed.

In the Export Persona, as well as in the "More" window, users can also create custom presets that appear in the main File > Export window, which can streamline the export process at least as well as trying to cram everything in the "More" window into the main File > Export window. Besides, for PDF exports a 'one window' design would be long enough that at least on some screens it would require scrolling to see all the options, so not all of them could be seen immediately in one window. An additional issue with a 'one window' design is since the 'more' options vary depending on the export filetype, that window would either have to always be large enough to accommodate all the PDF options, or change its size & layout whenever the export filetype was changed, which could be a distraction or confusing to some users.

So, far from being a poor design, all things considered I think it is very good design. YMMV.


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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The Export Persona isn't intuitive by a long shot and for a lot of people the File > Export... option is more than adequate but the More button and the following settings window really is superfluous and unnecessary. Reorganising the File > Export... window could easily fit the more settings on and in so doing would streamline File > Export... for a lot of people and make File Export... a lot more concise.


iMac 27" Late 2015 Fully Loaded, iMac 27" Mid 2011 both running High Sierra 10.13.6 - Affinity Designer/Photo, Publisher Beta 1.7.0.140, Illustrator CC, Inkscape, Blender, Sketchup, Pepakura Designer, MTC, Pixelmator & Pixelmator Pro + more... XP-Pen Artist-22E, - iPad Pro 12.9 B|  

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5 hours ago, R C-R said:

...

So, far from being a poor design, all things considered I think it is very good design. YMMV.

I think a bit of a redesign would be good. Moving some of the fields from the More panel onto the main dialog would be nice.

But I think a tabbed interface, or one using a list box with sections would be more obvious to users, at least new users. I don't think one could do away with the More items without a redesign altogether of the main dialog. 


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

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On 4/2/2019 at 1:32 AM, firstdefence said:

I see no reason to have a More button

Yes, and no reason that the settings dialog is built without tabs to select the panel of interest rather than the current methods of selecting a different panel. Tabs have been used for decades and provides a better user experience. I get the impression that Affinity is being different for the sake of being different here, and that thinking has led to a poorer user experience. I'm talking about Affinity here, but the same could be said of other companies as well, I'm sure.

1 hour ago, MikeW said:

But I think a tabbed interface

I wonder if Affinity has something against tabs.


Windows 10 Pro, XP-Pen Deco 03, AP & AD

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6 minutes ago, firstdefence said:

The Export Persona isn't intuitive by a long shot and for a lot of people the File > Export... option is more than adequate but the More button and the following settings window really is superfluous and unnecessary. Reorganising the Export windows could easily fit the more settings on and in so doing would streamline File > Export... for a lot of people and make File Export... a lot more concise.

Sure, some of the features of the Export Persona are not very intuitive, but if File > Export included all of the 'More' options in a single window the same could be said about some of them. There is also the issue of reorganizing that 'one window' layout to make it easy to use on smaller screens & if or how the layout should change with filetype to consider.

Using the Export Persona, even if only for its basic & most intuitive features, still has several potential advantages compared to File > Export, like not obscuring the document view & allowing its panels to be put anywhere convenient, including on a second display if one is available.

As for streamlining the export process, nothing I can think of does that half as well as custom export presets. Sure, it can take a minute or two to set one up, but once that is done, it is much faster & more goof-proof than wading through all the various export options to make sure only the desired ones will be used.

I don't mean to offend anybody but personally I don't think the best UI designs are ever obtained by trying to make everything as immediately obvious & intuitive as possible to every user. It rarely if ever works as well as hoped for. It too often results in many users never exploring advanced features that once learned would lead to more efficient workflows, fewer errors, & a better overall user experience.

In short, sometimes RTFM is the best way to go.


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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4 minutes ago, casterle said:

I wonder if Affinity has something against tabs.

If they do, why is it that we have document window & Studio tabs, or for that matter tabs in the File > Export window?


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; 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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1 minute ago, R C-R said:

If they do, why is it that we have document window & Studio tabs, or for that matter tabs in the File > Export window?

Forgot the smiley. I do wish they were more consistent.


Windows 10 Pro, XP-Pen Deco 03, AP & AD

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13 hours ago, firstdefence said:

What the OP is asking for is to be able to have an Export Preset on the main ribbon menu, say a fast link to Exports - PDF (For Print) or a customised Preset. I can't see why this couldn't be done. Have a check box for each preset to display on main ribbon menu.

What I am really asking for is the ability to add such a simple customisation to my toolbar, if that is what I want. I appreciate that other people may have different things they want to add a button for, but it seems that Serif does not appreciate it.

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13 hours ago, Wosven said:

I don't see the need for an extra button, but being able to add it can be helpfull for some if they don't want to use shift+ctrl+alt+s shortcut.

The shift+ctrl+alt+s finger gymnastics takes me by default in Designer to my last used tab, whether it is jpg, or whatever. But if I want to simply export a PDF then there should be simpler ways for a user to add such a customisation. Your method, if I count finger clicks as mouse clicks requires four clicks just to get to the export page - hardly a short cut. 

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To fully illustrate how simple this SHOULD be I am posting a couple of screen shots from Wordstar 2 (published in 1994) running in Virtualbox. I can add any menu item to a toolbar, or create a macro and do the same. I can customise menus if I want to. If some people don't want it, that's fine. They don't have to use it. But if some people, like me, and I suspect a lot of people, would like to be able to customise the UI then it should be possible.

1526157821_Screenshot2019-04-03at20_22_02.png.7f5f5d5aac707d311d554069d13a0982.png

I appreciate that Publisher is not a word processor, but if I want to spell check a text frame, I have to the top of the UI and choose the Text menu, then go almost to the bottom of the menu and choose the Spelling sub-menu, then choose Spelling. Alternatively the Check Spelling While Typing option is clicked. In Wordstar I can add a button to the toolbar (it's actually a default, which I can remove if I don't want it). I would argue that from a user-friendliness POV Wordstar from 25 years ago is better. 

905132212_Screenshot2019-04-03at20_31_18.png.c516e71566ca572cbdeae32b0ebc6257.png

 

J.

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33 minutes ago, LondonSquirrel said:

Your method, if I count finger clicks as mouse clicks requires four clicks just to get to the export page - hardly a short cut. 

I understand your problem. I'm a girl, with short hands, and I hate complex shortcuts, the worse ones needing [  shift| ctrl | alt ] + Fx key.

But I'm used to inDesign, and there's a lot of important informations about objects and styles I'm currently working on that I need imediatly to check in a glance and that I found more usefull visible (in a smaller display of a context toolbar for example, than button that I'll use only once here and there when the work is done, and solve with another shortcut if the default is too complex). I'm use to modifying shortcuts since usually, they're for Qwerty keyboard and I use an Azerty one.

For now, I found the toolbar and some panels need more work to be more ergonomic (how come we need to click on an arrow to look at/access hidden buttons/parameters???).

If APub keep its promises, there'll be more and more parameters in the futur,  perhaps being able to add our own panels with our own selection of buttons/infos, etc. can be another option. Or, as in some other apps, being able to show/hide specific buttons/options for specifics panels/toolbar. Perhaps not with the display you shows (looks like Win 98 for me :) , I'm use to this in TextPad, but it's not what I would call a modern look for an app), a list of options you can check/uncheck perhaps.

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47 minutes ago, LondonSquirrel said:

I appreciate that Publisher is not a word processor, but if I want to spell check a text frame, I have to the top of the UI and choose the Text menu, then go almost to the bottom of the menu and choose the Spelling sub-menu, then choose Spelling. Alternatively the Check Spelling While Typing option is clicked.

All of the spelling options can be assigned custom keyboard shortcuts. Most of the more awkward keyboard shortcuts, including the one for File > Export, can be reassigned to less awkward ones. 


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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1 hour ago, LondonSquirrel said:

What I am really asking for is the ability to add such a simple customisation to my toolbar, if that is what I want. I appreciate that other people may have different things they want to add a button for, but it seems that Serif does not appreciate it.

I suspect that it is more about room on the toolbars than anything else. As it is, there are more items available for customizing the main toolbar than will all fit on it at once.

Even if one just wants a button to export to PDF, there are still many PDF export options, not just a single 'universal' one, so some menu or window or whatever has to be provided for that somewhere.


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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