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Yankeese

Page insertion in spreads loses margins

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I'm trying the entire suite in trial. Finding lots of problems with Publisher, trying to work on large documents in novel format (6x9 trade, 700 pages). Nastiest problem to date: inserting a page in a two-page spread. The imported material, from a Word Docx file, does not have the necessary blank pages before a new chapter most of the time. (The imported file was used to create an Epub file, which does not need the blank pages.) In print format, the standard practice is to have a blank page, or a page with a fleuron, on the verso, and the new chapter page on the recto, in those cases where the previous chapter has finished on a recto. As you will see by the attached PDF, the blank page is inserted all right, but then the margins go haywire. In Quark the margins automatically adjust. In Affinity Publisher, the verso margins are now attached to the recto page, and this carries on for the rest of the text.

And by the way, this happens whether or not the material has been imported using File>Place to import the text directly from Word, or the material has been copied and pasted without formatting.

This one is a deal breaker. The program is not useful for trade novel layouts when it has a bug this serious. There are lots of others, but I managed to find workarounds for most of them. For this one, the only workaround is to go page by page and reset the margins. And then another page insertion (or deletion) might undo everything again.

Aff_Page-Insert.pdf

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13 hours ago, Yankeese said:

This one is a deal breaker. The program is not useful for trade novel layouts when it has a bug this serious. There are lots of others, but I managed to find workarounds for most of them. For this one, the only workaround is to go page by page and reset the margins. And then another page insertion (or deletion) might undo everything again.

This issue has been reported before. The  problem seems to be that when adding a page not only the page content moves over a page but also the master page formatting and contents. This definitely needs to be corrected. What might work in such a case is to select, in the Pages panel, all pages that were affected, right-click and reapply the correct master page(s).

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Hilltop, thanks for the suggestion. I'll give that a try, but bear in mind, I'm dealing with a 700 page book. Every time I insert or delete a page I would have to go through the process you describe. And that brings up other issues, which are not so much bugs as what I consider to be design flaws. The book is actually written in three sections. In Quark, I can edit each section separately, which reduces the load on the program and the CPU, then export them to PDF as a combined file using the Books feature. In CorelDRAW, which is not really a layout program but has some layout features, I can load each section into the workspace in the order I want to use for printing, then export all the sections to a single PDF. 

In Affinity, I have to work on the complete file and break it into sections, in order to get the different headers I need for each section. But even before I've done that, I have this page insert problem to deal with. And there are so many pages that the program can't really handle the load. Every edit takes forever to complete. The program has completely crashed several times. And this happens with nothing but text. I haven't even added the graphics yet, of which there are several.

It seems Publisher is not designed for long book layouts. Maybe it will work for magazines and brochures.

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Hilltop, I tried your suggestion, and unfortunately it did not work. I tried disabling and re-enabling the master pages, and the headers corrected themselves, but the page margins remained stubbornly wrong. Resolution of this issue will have to await an update to the program.

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Agree completely, this is a fundamental feature in any app that is supposed to be capable of handling facing pages. 

One could use heading styles with appropriate flow options, e.g. Heading 1 (next odd page) to work around this problem (so that you get a blank page and the remaining of the text gets wrapped further), which would work reasonably well even with graphics, if you have carefully pinned the objects in relation to the text frame. (See attached an example of this kind of solution.) 

But you should also be able to insert a blank page and get text frames positioned according to the facing pages layout (and at least most of the graphics -- at least ones that do not extend to edges or across the spine -- moved along to correct pages).

But what really seems to be an issue in the current state of Publisher, also in context of inserting pages, are long documents. I initially tested the flow-based insertion of blank pages by using a 800-page document with dummy text (included in the attached zip file, containing about 800 pages of real dummy text created by InDesign), but the user interface and editing became very sluggish; in addition I got an .afpub file of over 80MB size (containing mere text), which took ages (at least 15 minutes) to get exported to PDF (web).

(Note that using Publisher's filler text in a document containing 800 pages of linked text frames, stalls the user interface completely, so the filler text is clearly not intended for these kinds of purposes.)

I hope there will be in future two file formats -- the current one that is supposed to be opened in Publisher, Photo and Design (smaller jobs, max magazine scope), result in large files but are fast in cross-app-editing; and then another format for longer documents where there is no need for Persona-based editing. It is in former kinds of jobs where Affinity has shown great promise, but it may be that it is impossible to combine this feature set with properties required for handling long documents.

EDIT: Creating each chapter of a book as a separate document and using section manager for specifying starting page numbers, might work reasonably well for certain kinds of jobs, but if the publication is simple (e.g. a practically text-based but large novel), this approach should not be necessary in these days.

 

test_insertpage_small.afpub

dummytext.zip

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Lagarto, thanks for the suggestions. I'll try them out. And thanks for the files. Without delving further into your ideas, a couple of things strike me. One is that creating each chapter of a book separately and tweaking the page numbering does not solve the issue of exporting multiple files to a single PDF, which is necessary for the printer. Aside from the hassle of putting a book together that way, I have a feeling I wouldn't have a workable PDF at the end of the process.

The matter of alternating headers is what I did in CorelDRAW. But it had features that allowed you to suppress headers and page numbers as separate items on any master page. Quark does this by using the "Suppress Output" option for a text box which contains a header or a page number. In Affinity the only option is to hide the entire master page if you don't want a header or page number on a given page. So right away the advantage of doing a master page as a spread is lost. So I tried making different master pages for each type of situation that might arise. For a blank even page preceding a new chapter page, I left the header and page number both on the master. For the odd pages I had to do two master pages, one with the header, and one with the page number, because sometimes you want to suppress only one element, usually the header. First pages of chapters have page numbers but not headers.  (By headers, I mean a title or subtitle above the margin, which repeats on every even or every odd page. Usually the text alternates between the title of the book and either the name of the author or the chapter/section name.)

And then, there is the issue of using File>Place or "copy and paste without formatting" to bring in a large block of text. By splitting the master pages into separate parts (if there were no master page for spreads), the text flow would be lost. Then it's back to extending the text one page at a time, which is how CorelDRAW works, which is total madness. CorelDRAW also won't export spreads to PDFs as single pages. It will only export the entire spread, which is not acceptable to most printers. Pages can only be edited in single page mode, which requires writing macros to change the margins for even or odd pages every time there is a change in pagination.

In Quark everything just pops in. And when pages are inserted or deleted, or pagination changes because of text edits or changes in graphics,  the following pages reformat properly; and spreads can be exported as single pages, as they can in Affinity.

Obviously, Quark has been at this game a lot longer than Affinity. And it costs a lot more. But if Affinity wants to be a giant killer, they have some work to do. (I don't use InDesign, so I can't comment on how it handles these issues.)

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18 hours ago, Yankeese said:

Hilltop, I tried your suggestion, and unfortunately it did not work. I tried disabling and re-enabling the master pages, and the headers corrected themselves, but the page margins remained stubbornly wrong. Resolution of this issue will have to await an update to the program.

What I should have added is to first remove the master page(s) from the affected pages and then reapply it/them.

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1 hour ago, Yankeese said:

Then it's back to extending the text one page at a time, which is how CorelDRAW works, which is total madness. CorelDRAW also won't export spreads to PDFs as single pages. It will only export the entire spread...

I'm probably not understanding the above...and don't know how your file(s) were set up.

CD can have linked text frames. CD can export single pages from a facing page document. Now, while this is true, I think one would need to be masochistic to use CD for a book--even though I know people who do it.

Mike.

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MikeW, you're right, CD needs a masochist to try doing page layouts for something like a book. But I felt I didn't have a lot of options. Affinity Publisher didn't exist yet; Adobe InDesign required a subscription, and I refuse to do subscriptions unless I am forced to. I had used Wordperfect for years, so I thought I'd give CD a try. It took forever to do the job, but at least the job got done eventually. Then I went hunting for something else, and went for Quark. I'm still trying to figure it out. It is very powerful, but unbelievably complicated. That's why I thought I'd give Affinity Publisher a shot. But right now it's not doing as well as CD, although it has lots of better features. I'll just have to bite the bullet and learn Quark. I'm not a young person, and have plenty of computer experience in lots of complicated programs, but I have to admit that layout design is a real monster no matter which program you use.

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4 hours ago, Hilltop said:

What I should have added is to first remove the master page(s) from the affected pages and then reapply it/them.

Ah. I'll try that. Thanks.

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9 hours ago, Yankeese said:

In Affinity the only option is to hide the entire master page if you don't want a header or page number on a given page

I am not sure if I follow but basically you should be able to modify/exclude/add any element on a single page to which any master page is applied by "detach editing" it. That is, go to Layers panel, select the Master layer for that page, right click and choose Edit detached. Remove e.g. page number, edit or add any object, then click Finished. Changes affect only the master layer on that page.

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9 hours ago, Hilltop said:

What I should have added is to first remove the master page(s) from the affected pages and then reapply it/them.

It does not seem to have effect on the matter. Not at least in the sample document with mirrored facing pages that I had attached. 

InDesign, Quark etc. have a feature called layout adjustment, which basically handles these kinds of repositioning needs, but inserting a page in a facing pages layout and ability to auto-adjust frame positions (related to margins) when the side of a text frame changes from verso to recto or vice versa is something that is handled automatically separately from the layout adjustment settings. I think that both features are missing from Publisher at this point, but I might be wrong, as I am only learning its use.

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9 hours ago, Yankeese said:

multiple files to a single PDF, which is necessary for the printer.

There are methods of combining PDFs without causing any tampering of data but I understand if you do not want to perform this with a 3rd party utility but want to ensure integrity of print files.

I am afraid that Affinity Publisher is not capable of handling well long documents, but it may of course be that the sluggishness that I experienced when trying this with a 800-page document consisting of mere text ("lorem ipsum" placeholder text from InDesign, which I included as a zip attachment above) was somehow affected by the nature of the text (it being just latin body text without any chapter breaks, etc. though I doubt this could have any effect on the matter, especially as I had turned off spell checking and hyphenation).

Therefore I suppose that splitting the book into separate documents is the only choice if you want to use Affinity Publisher (at its current state) for book publishing.

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I tried to drop in the dummytext.rtf (or its .doc version) (about 800 pages of "lorem ipsum" body text) using mirrored facing pages layout using diverse page layout applications, and found the following:

1) InDesign: no problems whatsoever, imported the file in about 15 seconds, after which you can immediately browse through the document in a flash; the app behaves basically the same as if you had a 10-page document. Complete flow control and support for page insertion and verso/recto adjustment.

2) QuarkXPress 2018: much the same as InDesign, but there is some sluggishness in browsing through the document immediately after import; but as far as I can tell there is no support for text flow based paragraph styling (and you need to use soft keyboard simply to add a page/column break if you have a laptop without a num pad Enter key), which may be a nuisance if you have much breaks in layout (which you typically would not have e.g. in a novel). Support for verso/recto adjustment.

3) Affinity Publisher: can do the job but there is much sluggishness. No verso/recto adjustment, but there is InDesign-like flow control, and if you can break the book in separate chapters, you can do the job with Publisher.

4) CorelDRAW 2017: churned the text for a while, but managed to import it, but flowing the text to a 800-page publication would be utterly painful experience, based on an effort of trying to flow the text to just a couple of more spreads...

5) Microsoft Publisher 2016: Stopped responding, and I stopped trying after 15 minutes without any noticeable advancement (assuming that the program had crashed).

UPDATE: Microsoft Publisher supports flow control in paragraph attributes (break to next text box) and accordingly also in styles, but does not support automatic verso/recto adjustment -- but it warns that insertion of single page messes up the margins.

6) Scribus: crashes in stack overflow error after about 1 minute (but can import the file in non-autotext frame and then smoothly flow the text one spread at a time so it MIGHT be able to handle this if the text is split into multiple stories, as the memory overflow indicates a problem with sheer amount of characters in the same story).
UPDATE: No flow control (other than manual frame and column breaks), and no support for verso/recto adjustment.

7) Microsoft Word would actually handle this kind of publication effortlessly, and supports mirrored margins (even if it cannot show correctly facing pages during editing unless a blank dummy page is added in front). But with proper PDF library you'd get perfectly acceptable K100 output. Bleeds etc. would of course cause some extra trouble but these are not typically needed in e.g. novel publishing.

8) Xara Designer crashed almost immediately on import (and it seems would not support mirrored margins anyway).

9) Viva Designer: imports the text without crashing but then text editing becomes sluggish. It seems that there is no support for style based text flow control but supports insertion of pages with automatic verso/recto adjustment.

Then there is Serif's PagePlus which I have no experience of but as far as I know it is no longer developed, but could possibly handle this kind of publication.

It is actually surprising that such a seemingly simple job as creating an 800-page mirrored text-only publication could be such an overwhelming task for this many applications claiming to be page-layout apps. This admittedly quite superficial test round showed that only InDesign, Quark and Word can handle the sheer amount of text effortlessly and could produce an acceptable print-ready document (Word with some restrictions, of course). Affinity Publisher could handle the job in parts without struggle, but is still way behind of InDesign and Quark, Viva Designer struggles a bit but can handle the job as one document.but pricewise is nearly in the same class with InDesign and Quark that both handle the task much better. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Lagarto said:

3) Affinity Publisher: can do the job but there is much sluggishness. No verso/recto adjustment,

Interesting experiment you did in that post, Lagarto.

Can you explain a bit what you mean by "no verso/recto adjustment"?


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.502 Beta

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1 hour ago, walt.farrell said:

Can you explain a bit what you mean by "no verso/recto adjustment"?

It is explained in the OP's description, but here goes: when you insert (or delete) a single page in a facing pages document with mirrorred margins, and margins on the left and right are not equal, you'd expect the application to automatically adjust the positions of text frames after the change. As it is now, the text frames retain their existing offsets so the left pages after the inserted or deleted page have the margins of the right page (master) and the right pages the margins of the left page (master). In InDesign, QuarkXPress and VivaDesigner you get the text frames automatically adjusted after such change.

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1 hour ago, Lagarto said:

It is explained in the OP's description, but here goes:

Thanks. You didn't mention doing that in the experiment you ran in all the different applications, so I wasn't sure.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.502 Beta

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I spent another moment with an 800-page .afpub version of a mirrored text-only document where a paragraph style causes breaks to next odd (recto) page, and it was actually not too bad (at least you won't be forced to manually reposition your text frames). There is clear sluggishness in most operations but it's all relative -- you mention that you have produced something like this with CorelDRAW. Moving up to Affinity Publisher after such an experience should feel like heaven! 

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17 hours ago, Yankeese said:

Then it's back to extending the text one page at a time, which is how CorelDRAW works, which is total madness.

I am not sure if I understand, or why this is needed, but if you are talking about auto-flowing text that is overflowing, you can do this in Affinity Publisher by Shift-clicking the overflow icon (at the lower right of the text frame).This works also with a text frame placed on a single page (you do not need to have a text frame on master page). Pages are added as required at the end of the document to fit all text so there is no need to extend the document page by page, or spread by spread.

Removing frames (and adding pages as pairs at the end of the document when needed, to fit in unflown text) is another way you can force a blank page without inserting or removing pages, simply adjusting the height of the last text frame of the previous chapter, and removing the text frame from the page that you wish to leave empty. As you won't add or remove single pages, the text frames need no repositioning. 

But I think it is better to control the flow with breaks in a paragraph styles since this way the correct structure is retained even if you add or remove text or images at some point.  

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13 hours ago, Lagarto said:

I am not sure if I follow but basically you should be able to modify/exclude/add any element on a single page to which any master page is applied by "detach editing" it. That is, go to Layers panel, select the Master layer for that page, right click and choose Edit detached. Remove e.g. page number, edit or add any object, then click Finished. Changes affect only the master layer on that page.

Lagarto, that sounds promising. I'll give it a try. I have to decide today if I'm going to go ahead with the purchase -- end of the trial period. Despite these problems, I think I'll purchase, because I want to be in on the ground floor, and I expect that things will improve.

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13 hours ago, Lagarto said:

There are methods of combining PDFs without causing any tampering of data but I understand if you do not want to perform this with a 3rd party utility but want to ensure integrity of print files.

I am afraid that Affinity Publisher is not capable of handling well long documents, but it may of course be that the sluggishness that I experienced when trying this with a 800-page document consisting of mere text ("lorem ipsum" placeholder text from InDesign, which I included as a zip attachment above) was somehow affected by the nature of the text (it being just latin body text without any chapter breaks, etc. though I doubt this could have any effect on the matter, especially as I had turned off spell checking and hyphenation).

Therefore I suppose that splitting the book into separate documents is the only choice if you want to use Affinity Publisher (at its current state) for book publishing.

I use Nuance Power PDF as my third party PDF program (again, avoiding Adobe subscription model), and it does the job of combining PDFs well. It will save to all the PDF/X formats used by printers. I'm not sure I trust the CMYK output, so I haven't tried to use that way, but I suppose it's worth an option. Still, as you say, a lot of work.

Just so we can shake our heads in bemusement, I've just come across a bug in Quark 2019 in which the export to PDF fails entirely. I've followed all their instructions for fixing it, but nothing works. In Q 2018, the problem doesn't happen. It exports to PDF fine. Trouble is, 2018 won't open 2019 files, so they are not interchangeable. I just heard from Quark asking for files to test so they can track the bug down. But it seems that the ability to print to PDF is forever at risk. For all the flaws it CD has, and the derision it receives, one thing it does really well is export to PDF, with lots of options for combining files, tweaking color settings, etc.

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9 hours ago, Lagarto said:

I tried to drop in the dummytext.rtf (or its .doc version) (about 800 pages of "lorem ipsum" body text) using mirrored facing pages layout using diverse page layout applications, and found the following:

1) InDesign: no problems whatsoever, imported the file in about 15 seconds, after which you can immediately browse through the document in a flash; the app behaves basically the same as if you had a 10-page document. Complete flow control and support for page insertion and verso/recto adjustment.

2) QuarkXPress 2018: much the same as InDesign, but there is some sluggishness in browsing through the document immediately after import; but as far as I can tell there is no support for text flow based paragraph styling (and you need to use soft keyboard simply to add a page/column break if you have a laptop without a num pad Enter key), which may be a nuisance if you have much breaks in layout (which you typically would not have e.g. in a novel). Support for verso/recto adjustment.

3) Affinity Publisher: can do the job but there is much sluggishness. No verso/recto adjustment, but there is InDesign-like flow control, and if you can break the book in separate chapters, you can do the job with Publisher.

4) CorelDRAW 2017: churned the text for a while, but managed to import it, but flowing the text to a 800-page publication would be utterly painful experience, based on an effort of trying to flow the text to just a couple of more spreads...

5) Microsoft Publisher 2016: Stopped responding, and I stopped trying after 15 minutes without any noticeable advancement (assuming that the program had crashed).

UPDATE: Microsoft Publisher supports flow control in paragraph attributes (break to next text box) and accordingly also in styles, but does not support automatic verso/recto adjustment -- but it warns that insertion of single page messes up the margins.

6) Scribus: crashes in stack overflow error after about 1 minute (but can import the file in non-autotext frame and then smoothly flow the text one spread at a time so it MIGHT be able to handle this if the text is split into multiple stories, as the memory overflow indicates a problem with sheer amount of characters in the same story).
UPDATE: No flow control (other than manual frame and column breaks), and no support for verso/recto adjustment.

7) Microsoft Word would actually handle this kind of publication effortlessly, and supports mirrored margins (even if it cannot show correctly facing pages during editing unless a blank dummy page is added in front). But with proper PDF library you'd get perfectly acceptable K100 output. Bleeds etc. would of course cause some extra trouble but these are not typically needed in e.g. novel publishing.

8) Xara Designer crashed almost immediately on import (and it seems would not support mirrored margins anyway).

9) Viva Designer: imports the text without crashing but then text editing becomes sluggish. It seems that there is no support for style based text flow control but supports insertion of pages with automatic verso/recto adjustment.

Then there is Serif's PagePlus which I have no experience of but as far as I know it is no longer developed, but could possibly handle this kind of publication.

It is actually surprising that such a seemingly simple job as creating an 800-page mirrored text-only publication could be such an overwhelming task for this many applications claiming to be page-layout apps. This admittedly quite superficial test round showed that only InDesign, Quark and Word can handle the sheer amount of text effortlessly and could produce an acceptable print-ready document (Word with some restrictions, of course). Affinity Publisher could handle the job in parts without struggle, but is still way behind of InDesign and Quark, Viva Designer struggles a bit but can handle the job as one document.but pricewise is nearly in the same class with InDesign and Quark that both handle the task much better. 

 

 

Lagarto, that is an amazing set of tests. You are a prince. Just as a note, MS Word can't be used to create PDFs for sending to a printer because it won't recognize or output CMYK, not even plain text. There are lots of howls in Word forums about this. The MS position is "use Publisher," but even it has issues with CMYK export, if I remember correctly. I tried it briefly and gave up almost immediately, because of its serious gaps. I have to wonder why graphic design is so much more complicated than other types of programs. I use Avid Pro Tools, Steinberg Wavelab Pro, Celemony, iZotope, and a host of other audio programs that are just as powerful, and just as difficult to learn, and handle situations at least as complicated as graphic design programs do, and they simply don't have issues like this. They work, and the user can get work done. What a thought.

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5 hours ago, Lagarto said:

I spent another moment with an 800-page .afpub version of a mirrored text-only document where a paragraph style causes breaks to next odd (recto) page, and it was actually not too bad (at least you won't be forced to manually reposition your text frames). There is clear sluggishness in most operations but it's all relative -- you mention that you have produced something like this with CorelDRAW. Moving up to Affinity Publisher after such an experience should feel like heaven! 

Moving to Quark felt like heaven in terms of this text flow issue -- at least until the new bug appeared in Quark 2019. But it is so complicated at so many levels, I had high hopes that Affinity would do the job more easily. I'll guess I'll have to wait for future developments.

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5 minutes ago, Yankeese said:

2018 won't open 2019 files, so they are not interchangeable.

OMG, aren't Advantage subscribers happy that they get bug fixes four times a year ;-) 

But seriously, isn't there backwards compatible .qxp file format in QXP2019 (equivalent to File > Save As / Downsave)?

It seems IDML is becoming a universal standard for exchanging DTP data (even if Affinity does very well opening multipage PDFs) -- Scribus does it, VivaDesigner does, Quark does, and soon probably Affinity Publisher does. Good for everyone.

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4 hours ago, Lagarto said:

I am not sure if I understand, or why this is needed, but if you are talking about auto-flowing text that is overflowing, you can do this in Affinity Publisher by Shift-clicking the overflow icon (at the lower right of the text frame).This works also with a text frame placed on a single page (you do not need to have a text frame on master page). Pages are added as required at the end of the document to fit all text so there is no need to extend the document page by page, or spread by spread.

Removing frames (and adding pages as pairs at the end of the document when needed, to fit in unflown text) is another way you can force a blank page without inserting or removing pages, simply adjusting the height of the last text frame of the previous chapter, and removing the text frame from the page that you wish to leave empty. As you won't add or remove single pages, the text frames need no repositioning. 

But I think it is better to control the flow with breaks in a paragraph styles since this way the correct structure is retained even if you add or remove text or images at some point.  

Yes, I found the Shift-click method in Elaine Giles's video, and it worked fine. I was quite happy at that point. Then the problem happened with the page insertion issue. 

What I meant in CD was that when you bring a large block of text into a text frame, there is an icon at the bottom of the frame indicating that the text has overflowed. When you click on that icon, you get another floating icon that indicates you need to create another text frame on a different page. You either create a new page, or if you have already created multiple pages with linked frames, you move the floating icon to the next blank page, place it at the top, and the text continues to flow. It will then flow to several pages, but I found that I had to do this process one chapter at a time. I could not import the complete text of a book. If I wanted to continue with CD, I could try further testing, but I'm trying to get on with a different program. 

 

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