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LFGabel

Publisher extremely slow on long documents

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I have begin using Publisher to layout novels. However, speed issues are really slowing me down, especially on text that is flowing over hundreds of pages.

Other aspects of the application are slow as well, not just text entry. Selecting fonts and sizes, applying styles, and changing visual options like showing/hiding baseline grid is so slow, a force quit is required.

The below video shows a text entry example with a file that has virtually no graphics. It is mostly text, 503 pages long. To show the difference in performance, I first type into a single non-linked text frame. Everything works as expected. However, editing text in a linked text frame, the lag between characters appearing onscreen is almost ten seconds, per character. In fact, during that time Windows thinks the application has become unresponsive. It is really difficult to work like this. 

Any ideas? Is this a bug or just me? I hope it's a setting on my computer I can change.

Demonstration of slow performance (Youtube Unlisted video)

Affinity Publisher 1.7.2
Windows 10 Home
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-8700 CPU @ 3.20GHz
16GB Memory
2TB HDD / 128GB SSD

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Pauls, I have uploaded an .afpub file and a screen grab of my system processes. There doesn't appear to be any intensive disk activity or CPU action.

One additional piece of information, the original file size of the Word document was about 500KB (docx) or 9MB (rtf). The novel is about 137,000 words. Not sure if that helps.

With thanks,
Lee

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My experience is  the same with any longer document (one consisting of several hundreds of pages), even with mere text. The experience may be further deteriorated with a mutliple monitor system and a graphic driver that does not support acceleration. I would just split the long document in parts (you can start page numbering at specific number, but would need to do certain jobs multiple times, of course, for each separate section of the book).

If you need to have one pdf, then you'd need do use a tool like Debenu PDF Tools (free) to combine multiple pdfs, or purchase a professional PDF editor for more complex tasks. 

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3 hours ago, Lagarto said:

My experience is  the same with any longer document (one consisting of several hundreds of pages), even with mere text. The experience may be further deteriorated with a mutliple monitor system and a graphic driver that does not support acceleration. I would just split the long document in parts (you can start page numbering at specific number, but would need to do certain jobs multiple times, of course, for each separate section of the book).

If you need to have one pdf, then you'd need do use a tool like Debenu PDF Tools (free) to combine multiple pdfs, or purchase a professional PDF editor for more complex tasks. 

Thanks for the suggestions, Lagarto. Appreciated!

With thanks,
Lee

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@LFGabelThis doesn't quite match your video, but for what it's worth, I found that turning off baseline grid fixed performance in my 400-page project. If I have baseline grid on, and flowing text frames (even empty ones) on most of the pages, the CPU hangs out in the 60-99% range forever, and the program is very sluggish to do anything. It sounds like your case didn't have high CPU, but I'm curious if turning baseline grid off changes anything for you. For me, it churns for a few seconds to make the change when I turn it off, then settles down and stays responsive.

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Hi @Tegwyn,

As I recall, I did have the baseline grid on. Not displayed, but enabled. Turning it off is not an option for me because snapping to baseline and having lines line up between spreads increases the reader experience. 

With thanks,
Lee

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I hear you. I'm doing an awkward workaround where I set the text frame to align text to the bottom (so it lines up by baseline instead of font caps) and auto-balance text between columns, then making sure all my paragraph styles have leading + spacing multiples of my body text leading. Unfortunately, it means I'll have to do manual adjustment on pages that end up with extra or uneven space at the top. :(

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I have the same problem. It is amended by turning off baseline grids, but baseline grids are necessary for longer texts. Is this something that will be fixed or optimized? I feel a bit apprehensive to start up a more extensive project in Publisher at this moment, which means that I need to revert to InDesign for now.

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Angalanse, you might want to try breaking up your document into smaller blocks of text (chapters) until they isolate and squash this problem. I'll be trying that with my next book but I won't be doing that for a few months. InDesign is not an option for me any longer.

With thanks,
Lee

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@Angalanse For what it's worth, after my post, I ended up breaking it up into a different text flow for each chapter, and it helped enough for me to turn baseline grid back on. I was worried that splitting it up would break hyperlinks, but it did not. I went to each chapter break, selected the start of that chapter plus Ctrl+Shift+End (to select from there to the end of the text flow), cut, disconnected the text frame from the previous one, then pasted again. You might find this works for you if you have any spots where there is a clean split between pages (like a chapter title).

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Thanks for the advice LFGabel and Tegwyn! I'm still a bit concerned whether this slowdown, at such an early stage of the work-process, is indicative of additional problems further on (such as when adding large images). Have you experienced such problems, if I may ask?

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Overall, I think you should be fine. Details about my experience:

The only image-based slowdown I've run into is when I used an image directly rather than placing it in a frame, and I set its wrapping to tight. The automatic wrapping outline had a very large number of nodes, and that chapter became sluggish. (I believe they have plans to fix this.) Things improved when I deleted most of the nodes to simplify the wrap outline. When I've put the images in frames and made the wrap outline myself, it's been fine.

Every once in awhile, a change will take a long time to compute, and certain things are likely to cause crashes for me, such as editing global swatches (fixed in beta) or undoing and redoing table stuff. Saving takes awhile on my large project. (Also fixed in the beta version: be careful about placing docx files with tables and changing tables between pinned and unpinned. I've had that (apparently) corrupt my files before. If you're better than I am about saving new versions of your file frequently, then you won't have to redo as much if this happens. I'll be switching to the beta to keep this from happening again.)

Publisher is generally a little laggy, but workable for me. I'm on a mid-range machine, so it might just be my computer.

It's worth noting that most users don't seem to be encountering the issues I've mentioned. I've got a wimpier computer and a complicated document, so I don't want to scare you off. Publisher is a very cool program.

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Angalanse, I'd listen to Tegwyn. Sounds like great advice.

I can't offer much as I use Publisher to lay out novels and they usually have little to no images in them.

With thanks,
Lee

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Thanks for the thorough answer Tegwyn, I really appreciate it! I'm not scared off. For this particular project, I nevertheless chose to go back to InDesign, but mostly as I still have overlapping licences. I'm a proponent for Publisher, and often endorse it at work, where me and my colleagues mostly use it for scientific posters, pamphlets and questionnaires. I will give it another try next time I work with relatively short books such as theses. My current project is a clear deviation by being over 800 pages long. If I run into troubles at a late stage, much work will have been in vain.

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