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SaltySunlight

Feature Request: Preflight Document Checker

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Hi, thanks for the good work on the Affinity products! 9_9 Having spent some first moments on tuning in with Affinity publisher I'm missing a preflight checker. That's why I have the following feature request:

User Stories:

  1. As an Affinity Publisher user I would like Affinity Publisher to check whether my document layout and the document content fulfills before-configured criteria in order to not export unwanted documents.
  2. I would like Affinity Publisher to provide sane default values/configurations for the below-mentioned checks.
  3. I would like Affinity Publisher to enable me to define and administrate (create,read,update,delete) several preflight profiles.

Desired checks: The checks that I would like Affinity publisher to perform are:

  1. Image resolution: I would like to get notified which image does not match a document's defined resolution to prevent pixelated prints.
  2. Image colour space: I would like to get notified if an image potentially contains colours which might get lost when producing a exporting a document, e.g. for CMYK printing.
  3. Content-bleed-distance: I would like to get notified which contents are too close to a document's bleed, e.g. a background image that should expand to the "bleeding edge".
  4. Outdated links: I would like to get notified which objects displayed in Publisher do not represent the latest version of a referenced file.
  5. Missing external resources: I would like to get notified which external resources cannot be located by Affinity Publisher anymore.
  6. Text overflows: I would like to get notified which text boxes have an overflow issue.

Background: My first project is going to be a simple poster. But I plan to recreate an old InDesign project using Affinity Publisher, a poetry anthology with several pictures etc. I definitely need the software to notify me if I accidentally messed up my layout, e.g. by adjusting a paragraph style etc.

I hope you are already on it. Such a preflight check definitely is part of what I would consider a professional desktop publishing program.

Edited by SaltySunlight

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I can definitely give a boost to this. I noticed when I was working on a large project during exporting phase I got a message that one link was outdated, I have still no idea what was outdated and going through each one by one is not very appealing when you have over 90 pages.

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+1 from me as well. This would be great.

I'd also love to check for orphans and widows as well. I think we can use some advanced search/grep for that, but having that built into a preflight would be great as well.

 

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On 7/11/2019 at 9:12 PM, Naughty Sparkle said:

I can definitely give a boost to this. I noticed when I was working on a large project during exporting phase I got a message that one link was outdated, I have still no idea what was outdated and going through each one by one is not very appealing when you have over 90 pages. 

Yep! I feel your pain. The absence of a preflight checker practically renders Publisher "almost useless" when coming to the export feature. Having InDesign CS6 still installed, I definitely wouldn't want to start creating a document with more than 4-8 pages or so...

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A dedicated preflight feature would be very nice for the next major version. 
In the meantime, as I see with in my use of InDesign CS5, there are ways to mitigate this shortcoming:

For example the resources window should be a studio panel, where you can always, and at a glance, see, which images are lowres or rgb, or out-of-date/missing.

What I really miss since the old days of Aldus Freehand and which was never implemented by adobe is overprint marking (maybe with an annoying, blinking pattern) to quickly see, in your layout, which elements or linked logos/graphics would be overprinted.

 


  • Production-System: iMac (21,5-inch, Late 2013), 16GB RAM, 2TB nvme-SSD, running on 10.14.6 Mojave;
  • Display Setup: 27" Thunderbolt Display primary + 21,5" iMac-Display secondary for palettes;
  • Keyboard-Layout: German apple extended keyboard (aluminium);

 

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On 7/15/2019 at 8:42 PM, JimWelch said:

+1 from me as well. This would be great.

I'd also love to check for orphans and widows as well. I think we can use some advanced search/grep for that, but having that built into a preflight would be great as well.

 

Actually, you can control this when you create a Paragraph Style. I don't recall InDesign checking for those in it's Preflighting.

See screen shot PDF below.

Screen Shot 2019-10-19 at 20.29.10.pdf

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On 9/2/2019 at 3:16 PM, woefi said:

A dedicated preflight feature would be very nice for the next major version. 
In the meantime, as I see with in my use of InDesign CS5, there are ways to mitigate this shortcoming:

For example the resources window should be a studio panel, where you can always, and at a glance, see, which images are lowres or rgb, or out-of-date/missing.

What I really miss since the old days of Aldus Freehand and which was never implemented by adobe is overprint marking (maybe with an annoying, blinking pattern) to quickly see, in your layout, which elements or linked logos/graphics would be overprinted.

 

ahhh Aldus Freehand, what a great application that was, killed by the evil Adobe.

 

but yes, 1+ for a preflight panel

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+1

Nice briefing. 


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1903). Intel Core i7-9700K @ 3.60GHz, 32 GB memory, NVidia RTX 2080
Affinity Photo 1.7.2.471, Affinity Designer 1.7.2.471, Affinity Publisher 1.7.2.471

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3 hours ago, Foxen said:

It's not encouraging that there has been no official response to a very reasonable request posted in July.

Serif does not normally respond to feature requests.  This should be expected.  Also, this is hardly the only thread on this topic, including at least one going back to August 2018:

 

Examples:

 

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4 hours ago, Foxen said:

It's not encouraging that there has been no official response to a very reasonable request posted in July.

Implementing software ideas depends on various factors including demand, the difficulty of implementing the idea, and how the feature will sit with other features. Sometimes a simple feature can be really hard to implement because it conflicts with the programming of other features. 

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I want to add this latest posting from December 3rd 2019 to the discussion:

 


Affinity Designer 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.650)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.650)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.651)
Affinity Designer for iPad 1.8.2   |   Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.2

Windows 10 (1809) 64-bit - Core i7 - 16GB - Intel HD Graphics 4600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
iPad pro 9.7" + Apple Pencil

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Wait no longer to see our first beta to include this feature. 

43 minutes ago, AdamW said:

Preflight

We have introduced a preflight check feature which can be used to ensure that your document exports or prints as intended. The preflight check runs as a background process, and can be run on on demand, prior to output, or 'live' on a continual basis. We currently have a number of separate tests with more planned for inclusion in the final 1.8 and in the future.

Preflight is configured via the 'Preflight' panel, which supports profiles to specify which tests should be run if you desire. An indicator is provided on the status bar for immediate feedback on the process. Note we have requested updated icons as we are aware that colour alone is not a good way to represent the different statuses.

Please feel free to suggest additional tests - it's likely that many will already be under consideration but please don't let that deter you.

The 1.8.0 builds are in links at the top of these beta forum posts


Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

Latest releases on each platform 

 

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I strongly support the idea of a dedicated preflight check feature as I don't think everybody using Publisher can fall back to a version Acrobat Pro on his or her hard drive to do that job properly.

In another discussion on the forum here I also expressed my urgent wish that there should be some panel like InDesign's "Separation Preview" and an customizeable ink coverage checker which will tell you visuallly where in your document objects may have more ink coverage than a certain value which you can set beforehand. (e.g. to spot critical objects when you work with a printer that demands ink coverage in a CMYK PDF shouldn't exceed 300%)

Another thing important to me would be the option to change/convert any spot colours which have accidentally found their way into the document (e.g. with some logo placed there) to global CMYK colours from within the colour pallette so as to remove spot colours completely from the document and not just not "honouring" them in the export settings.

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1 hour ago, Lorox said:

I strongly support the idea of a dedicated preflight check feature

Just to clarify in case you didn't realize, preflight is coming, and the first public iteration is already available in the 1.8 betas. Serif has stated that they have a few more checks already planned which are not yet in the public beta, and they are also open to other suggestions.

With that in mind, when you say "a dedicated preflight check feature," were you meaning something other than what is currently being developed? If so, now is definitely the time for feedback.

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1 hour ago, Lorox said:

some panel like InDesign's "Separation Preview" and an customizeable ink coverage checker

yes, please!

And now, I fear, we will also need an highlighting feature of "unsupported properties" which would be rasterised at PDF-output.
I would like to see where I can help the document to become easier to export. (Eg. some slightly overlapping objects, which I then can correct.)

 

Also, when exporting SVG-graphics, I'd like beforehand what is compatible and what would become pixel elements, so I can keep it clean.


  • Production-System: iMac (21,5-inch, Late 2013), 16GB RAM, 2TB nvme-SSD, running on 10.14.6 Mojave;
  • Display Setup: 27" Thunderbolt Display primary + 21,5" iMac-Display secondary for palettes;
  • Keyboard-Layout: German apple extended keyboard (aluminium);

 

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1 hour ago, garrettm30 said:

With that in mind, when you say "a dedicated preflight check feature," were you meaning something other than what is currently being developed? If so, now is definitely the time for feedback.

Up to this day I wasn't aware of what is likely to come... I guess, however that it is in fact quite the sort of thing I was thinking of. It remains to be seen how that'll turn out in detail. I'm really looking forward to it!

What I said about checking ink coverage and separations is probably not entirely to be seen as part of a final flightcheck but a way of being able to check on those values any time while working on the document. Just like InDesign handles it – more a different way to be able to look at the design and be given "colour warnings" (if necessary) at an earlier stage than at final export.

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2 minutes ago, Lorox said:

What I said about checking ink coverage and separations is probably not entirely to be seen as part of a final flightcheck but a way of being able to check on those values any time while working on the document.

The new preflight feature can be checked anytime. It has the option to run "never" (which would include manual runs with the "Check Now" button), "export" (only on print and export) or "live" (which is always active, and there is a little icon in the bottom of the screen that points to whether all is well or errors).

1824239571_ScreenShot2020-01-10at2_00_09PM.thumb.png.10a4df901c9623ce55e97f564799f0e6.png

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Regarding my post here it has crossed my mind that maybe not everybody has been or still is a user of InDesign and accordingly may not be familiar with the separations and ink coverage preview feature which I described and really would like to see in Publisher in similar functionality.

So I'm attaching 3 screenshot which should illustrate what I meant (I hope it becomes sufficiently clear even though the screenshots are from a German language version):

BTW: as the mouse pointer/crosshair is not captured in the screenshot it should be said that it had been positioned right in the center where the red and black boxes overlap

– the "composite" preview shows all colours (full CMYK) and displays the corresponding ink values for each colour according to mouse position
– in the "single" preview M, Y and K have been deselected and only Cyan values are shown in relative grayscale percentage
– in the "ink coverage" preview (activated by setting the popup menu to "Farbauftrag" [ink coverage]) you see the same colour values assigned to the individual colours AND you see the area marked in red where ink coverage is above 300% (you can set the desired "warning" percentage on the right)

If there was a spot colour used in the document this colour would be listed below the CMYK separations and the values would be displayed accordingly.

I hope it becomes clear why I think this a very valuable feature to have in a page layout app. When you're working on print projects and have a palette or "studio" like this, you can check crucial properties of your doccument in terms of colour usage very intuitively and on the fly – you don't have to wait until you export to PDF and maybe just then get some errors you possibly could have avoided if you had been able to inspect your document in a way as such a feature offers.

 

indesign_separations-preview_single_screen.png

indesign_separations-preview_composite_screen.png

indesign_ink-coverage-preview_composite_screen.png

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