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Can we get more info about Group Text Styles, please?


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Enlighment, finally. The name "Group" is unfortunately chosen. If it was named "Basic Paragraph" -- like in InDesgn -- everything would be much clearer. Or maybe "Basic Style" with the explanation that it has the same functionality as "Basic Paragraph" in InDesign and that we can have more than one "Basic Style".

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  • 2 weeks later...
2 hours ago, chirpy said:

Rather than explaining these, can someone please post a file with some styles set up? It would really help.

I'm not sure why you think that would help better than an explanation.  The only Publisher template file I have where I use them, I have four top level groups:  Highlight, Math, Text, and Table.  Under Highlight, I have master page header and footer paragraph styles and most heading styles, all inheriting a common font family from the group.  Math has a hodgepodge of character styles needed to format inline math expressions, again all inheriting a (different) common font family from the group.  Text is where most of the action is, with both paragraph and character styles, again all inheriting (yet another) common font family from the group.  Unless your needs fall exactly in line with my needs, I don't think those would do you any particular good at all, even as an example.

Frankly, I have not done anything with text style groups which could not be done with a character or paragraph text style, because C and P text styles can be based on either C or P text styles, and I'm not sure there is any such group-only feature.  This is what Petar was getting at a few weeks ago.  You can't apply a group style, so that actually makes them less capable than paragraph or character styles.

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6 hours ago, sfriedberg said:

You can't apply a group style, so that actually makes them less capable than paragraph or character styles.

I use group styles very rarely for the reasons you mentioned. The only reason I do use them is for things that several child styles have in common but which together are not themselves useful to ever be applied a paragraph style. For body text, for example, I choose to create that as a paragraph style, which would be used for most body text, and then other things like block quotes would be derivative styles of the paragraph style. In that case, group does not work, because all the different variations have the body text in common, but the basic body text is itself a useful style, so there would be no point in having a group and then a main body text paragraph style.

The only group style I regularly use is my "Base Text" style group, which is my top-level default in my style hierarchy. I never apply the Base Text style directly, so it makes sense as a group. That said, I suppose even these cases could be done with a paragraph style about the same way. (If I had the time, I would probably benefit from rereading this thread. I probably learned something from it in the past that I have since forgotten.)

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1 hour ago, garrettm30 said:

I probably learned something from it in the past that I have since forgotten.

As have I.

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On 1/28/2021 at 9:06 PM, Void said:

Maybe Inkscape is a better and free alternative, you can open a PDF and convert it to curves. You can then copy&paste these to Affinity and continue editing.

 

16 hours ago, Old Bruce said:

As have I.

And I thought it was just me.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just came across this thread while trying to learn how to use (and manage) styles, and curious to hear what others might thing about this.

DISCLAIMER: I am generally enjoying working through and learning AP. I think Serif have done a great job creating the software. Having deep roots in the evolution of the publishing industry, I do often get frustrated with a few little things I think could be handled better, but like every single application ever written, there are going to be little nits one has to circumvent. I am Adobe certified in Photoshop and InDesign, so my view, like to many, comes through that lens. This post is not a criticism of Affinity Publisher, so much as an observation of my challenges in using it.

Having worked in publishing since (literally and horrifically) the first version of Ventura Publisher, Affinity Publisher styles confuse me for two reasons: 1) the use various styles; and, 2) the gui for defining styles hides info that might otherwise be helpful.

1. Use of Styles

As far as I know, AP is the only layout program that will allow you to apply a paragraph style to a paragraph, but a different paragraph style to text within that paragraph. This causes confusion as the whole purpose of styles is maintain consistency in formatting. The notion of styles goes way back to the early 80s when Pagemaker and Ventura Publisher created GUI layout programs. Then came Quark which built on this model. Even when Adobe (after acquiring Frame Tech)  debuted Framemaker, the application of styles have been consistent. Even DOS versions of programs like MS Word, WordStar, WordPerfect, etc. Later came MS Office (GUI),  InDesign, MS Publisher (lol) and the like. But AFAIK, none of them allow this application of styles.

In more current versions of these programs (those that still exist), a paragraph style consists of attributes applied at the paragraph level, including typeface, size, lead, spacing, bullets, flow, etc. Character formatting for the entire paragraph is handled in a paragraph style.

Character styles are exclusively applied to individual characters in a paragraph. While I'm sure there are some cases for specific character styles, I don't much use them beyond special formatting for initial words (which get used by a paragraph style that calls them).

The grouping of styles, whether using APs 'base' or using imported styles (i.e., Normal) AS the base is helpful to maintain consistence across a single document, but perhaps more importantly, across a collection of documents. For example, to change nomenclature completely for clarity, one could have a 'foundation' style which describes the attributes of standardized paragraph text. Say, Times Roman, 10 over 12, kerning, space before/after, keep rules, etc. One might also have a 'foundation bullet1" style based on 'foundation'.  The difference being this paragraph style would include a bullet, appropriate indents, etc. However, for the typeface, size, lead, etc. one would want the same attributes as the 'foundation' style so that the text flow is seamless. 

In the same way, one could have a 'headings' style which provided the basic styling for all headings (e.g., Swiss, bold, keep rules, spacing, decorations, etc.). Then, specifying "based on the 'headings'", one could create Heading1, Heading2, etc., with attributes appropriate to that heading level.

In terms of the Base style in AP, it is, in fact, a paragraph style. It can, itself, be applied to a paragraph, albeit requiring a right-click on the style and choosing apply to paragraph. So showing a hierarchical view of styles inherently causes the styles panel to display those styles in 'folders', using "Based On" as the sorting mechanism. This also means any style not based on another style will hang in the palette on its own. 

The part that continues to confuse me is the use a paragraph formatting applied to specific characters. IMO it makes accidental application of incorrect styles to characters quite easy.

2. Creation of styles GUI

When creating or editing styles, particularly where several exist, I think it would be helpful to see the values of fields and some kind of indicator, rather than "No Change" as the field value. On the one hand, "No Change" is helpful inasmuch as you can easily see that the style is inheriting attributes from somewhere. On the other hand, when managing multiple styles, it can become daunting remembering which style used which attributes and the Style Settings summary at the bottom of the window simply says something like "BASE + Font size: 12pt; Underline: Single," etc. This GUI has been one of the single-most time consuming areas for me when designing documents and styles.

image.png.de0a0e6576910554567b4bb83aa95b83.png

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On 2/26/2020 at 7:44 AM, Petar Petrenko said:

You can do anything you want just with "Based on" option. There is no need for "Group" styles.

"Based on" is what creates "Groups." What makes the difference is how you view the styles palette. Hierarchical view shows groups; turning that off is just a list.

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15 minutes ago, Clayton King said:

"Based on" is what creates "Groups."

No. Using the "Create Group Style" button is what create a Group Text Style:

image.png.6a77f3fb508d21df7c559c7743a3ecfe.png

You're right that using Based On creates a hierarchy, but the distinction with a Group Text Style is that the Group Text Style cannot be applied to text. A Group Text Style is restricted to being used as a "Based On" style.

The Help says:
 

Quote

Group—used to define the properties for a group of text styles. Group styles are not applied directly to text. They are listed in the Text Styles panel, separately from the other styles, and clicking on them does nothing. Other styles can be based on group styles, which should be used to share formatting between the other styles, and/or as a way of organising the Hierarchical view in the Text Styles panel.

 

-- Walt

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1 hour ago, Clayton King said:

"Based on" is what creates "Groups." What makes the difference is how you view the styles palette. Hierarchical view shows groups; turning that off is just a list.

"Based On" is what creates hierarchical styles. Grouping styles must be done with folders.

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1 hour ago, Clayton King said:

When creating or editing styles, particularly where several exist, I think it would be helpful to see the values of fields and some kind of indicator, rather than "No Change" as the field value.

Are you proposing that the fields show the inherited value rather than “[No Change]”? I would be opposed to that, as there is a need to clearly see what attributes are explicitly defined in a given style versus those that simply inherit from up the chain of dependence. Also, sometimes [No Change] are attributes that are never defined in a style, right on up the change to the topmost style in the hierarchy. In such cases, there would be no value to display, as the text would retain whatever value was set at the local level for a given text. (My personal preference is to define everything in a base style as a clean starting point, but we do have the option to work with a different approach to styles if we want, and I do appreciate that.)

Maybe you are suggesting retaining some clear indication that an attribute setting is inherited in a way that also shows the inherited value when possible. In such a case, I would quite agree that would be a very nice improvement. For example, if the fields continued to display [No Change], but you could hover over them to get a tooltip-style popup with the inherited value (when there is one).

What I don’t like is InDesign’s approach. When I want to make a value in a child style undefined, I must actually enter the value from the parent style, which usually means I have to exit the style editor to look up the value in the parent. Then I must enter the same value in the child style, which rather than explicitly defines that value, actually resets to the equivalent of [No Change]. Not only is this counterintuitive, it is also inconvenient. No, I believe Publisher is superior in this one particular aspect.

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6 minutes ago, Petar Petrenko said:

"Based On" is what creates hierarchical styles. Grouping styles must be done with folders.

For the sake of clarification, there are no style folders in Affinity. Do you mean group styles, or do mean that you wished there were folders instead of group styles?

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5 minutes ago, garrettm30 said:

For the sake of clarification, there are no style folders in Affinity. Do you mean group styles, or do mean that you wished there were folders instead of group styles?

Yes.

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14 minutes ago, garrettm30 said:

which usually means I have to exit the style editor to look up the value in the parent

That is because some InDesign panels are modal which means you can't click outside of it while it is open, versus modeless like "Find/Change" panel were you are allowed to take an action while the panel is open. This is controled within the app code.

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2 hours ago, Petar Petrenko said:

"Based On" is what creates hierarchical styles. Grouping styles must be done with folders.

Peter, I believe that while you can create a group (+S), the net effect of that is it creates a paragraph style that can, itself, be applied. And when creating styles based on that "group style," they inherit its attributes and, in hierarchical view, appear included in that style's group.

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3 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

No. Using the "Create Group Style" button is what create a Group Text Style:

image.png.6a77f3fb508d21df7c559c7743a3ecfe.png

You're right that using Based On creates a hierarchy, but the distinction with a Group Text Style is that the Group Text Style cannot be applied to text. A Group Text Style is restricted to being used as a "Based On" style.

The Help says:
 

 

I think it works the same way - whether you click the +S or create a style based on nothing and base new styles on that one.

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4 minutes ago, Clayton King said:

I believe that while you can create a group (+S), the net effect of that is it creates a paragraph style that can, itself, be applied.

No. It specifically creates a style that cannot be applied. It can only be used as a base for other styles, which can then be applied.

-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 20H2 (19042.685),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop (2021-04-06):  32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz
, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU
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2 hours ago, garrettm30 said:

Are you proposing that the fields show the inherited value rather than “[No Change]”?

Yes. I'd prefer to see actual values and perhaps an * next to the field, or the field colored - some kind of indication that "No change from inherited attributes" is used. But you can see those attributes. As someone in this thread pointed out, if you lose track of what you've done in the parent style, you have to exit the dialog, open the parent, inspect it, close it, and reopen the child style. 

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1 minute ago, Clayton King said:

I think it works the same way - whether you click the +S or create a style based on nothing and base new styles on that one.

No.

Both will appear in a hierarchical styles list. Any styles can be used in "Based on", and appear (and act) hierarchical.

But Group styles are different, in that they can only be used in "Based on" and can't be directly assigned.

-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 20H2 (19042.685),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop (2021-04-06):  32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz
, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU
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8 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

No. It specifically creates a style that cannot be applied. It can only be used as a base for other styles, which can then be applied.

If I right-click the style, I can apply it. That's my point. The term "group" is really a misnomer. It's more a master style than a group. 

A group would have literally no attributes at all, and would contain other styles. Literally what puts a style in a group is that it's based on that group.

Maybe I'm missing something...

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2 hours ago, Clayton King said:

Peter, I believe that while you can create a group (+S), the net effect of that is it creates a paragraph style that can, itself, be applied. And when creating styles based on that "group style," they inherit its attributes and, in hierarchical view, appear included in that style's group.

No, grouping styles must be done with folders.

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2 hours ago, Clayton King said:

Yes. I'd prefer to see actual values and perhaps an * next to the field, or the field colored - some kind of indication that "No change from inherited attributes" is used. But you can see those attributes. As someone in this thread pointed out, if you lose track of what you've done in the parent style, you have to exit the dialog, open the parent, inspect it, close it, and reopen the child style. 

That is why I deleted all Publisher default paragraph styles and created new ones without "No change" in the fields. "No change" is extremelly useful only in character styles.

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2 hours ago, Clayton King said:

It's more a master style than a group.

Yes, it is a master "Based on" style.

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3 hours ago, Clayton King said:

If I right-click the style, I can apply it. That's my point.

Interesting. Thanks.

You cannot assign a group style by specifying it in the Context Toolbar, nor by clicking on it. But you can right-click and assign it. That feels like a bug. I don't think they're supposed to be assignable to text at all.

-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 20H2 (19042.685),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop (2021-04-06):  32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz
, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU
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