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@lawrence.whitaker

Loz, I remember reading on one of the forums that you used Affinity Publisher to layout Lyonesse. Publisher is still a toddler, so...

What was your process for using this program? How did things differ from (I assume) InDesign, and what were some of the gotcha's that you had to overcome (Nested Styles?)? And what were some of the things you found pleasant and possibly better than InDesign (other than price of course... which is a steal by comparison)?

SDLeary

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The process was much the same as with an InDesign book. Create the Master Pages, set up the paragraph, heading and character styles, then tweak the layout elements on the Master Pages and main pages with the sizing of the guides and so on.

I tend to import manually and selectively, using linked text frames with autoflow turned off. That is, I have the Word Processor manuscript open at the same time, and cut and paste text into a Publisher text box, pausing when I reach an element (such as a table, piece of art, boxed text, etc) that requires a different kind of work to be done in Publisher. I then pause, work on this element, and position, and then continue with the text paste. Once I've completed a chapter or major section, I go back through and apply heading and paragraph styles, adjusting for spacing, flow, widows and orphans, and tweaking where the separate graphical elements need to go, and whether they're kept in-line with the body text, or float free.

The book builds up in this way, and always in a single document. The three big challenges I had with Publisher were:

1. Art needs to be carefully linked to its source files, and if these links become broken - which can happen quite easily - it can be a devil to correct. Doable, but deeply annoying. A couple of images somehow delinked in the production file following all the proofing, which meant there were blurred images in the final PDF download that just shouldn't have been there. The TDM logo image also shifted or replicated somehow, and this wasn't spotted. So Publisher's image handling still needs some tweaking by the developers; it's not quite as slick as InDesign's yet.

2. The file size increases hugely with art and other graphics, and this caused the software to slow down hideously the longer you work on a file. When it came to adding page hyperlinks for 'page XX references', it was taking a massive amount of processor power, and several minutes, for even small text changes to be processed. In part, it's because Lyonesse is a very big book, but also because Publisher handles graphics in a weird way, and imports linked images, but doesn't embed them - which is presumably how they get delinked when a file is saved.

3. Indexing is bloody awful. And as the file size increases, it gets slower, and slower, and slower...

Overall though, Publisher is far, far nicer to use than InDesign. It feels friendlier. It's a doddle to create styles, update them, copy them, and edit them. Wrapping text around an image is much easier than with InDesign. Despite slowing down, Publisher is far less prone to crashing. The Studio feature (allowing you to swap between Publisher, Designer and Photo personas, if you have these other two apps installed) is simply brilliant, and I used it a lot. Managing assets, like tables, text boxes, certain graphics, etc, is a doddle using the Assets pain. Spellchecker is better. Find and Replace functions are far superior to InDesign.

I wouldn't go back to InDesign at all. Publisher can only improve. InDesign, I've found, is getting clunkier. Soon, Adobe will stop supporting older operating systems, and then I won't be able to use the latest version of their hideously expensive Creative Suite at all. Affinity came along at absolutely the right time.

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Thanks for the tips on Affinity Publisher. I bought the Affinity applications not long ago. They are great value and also very good overall. I've used Affinity Photo a lot, but just started dabbling with Publisher.

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On 6/6/2020 at 6:42 AM, lawrence.whitaker said:

The three big challenges I had with Publisher were

Thanks for this, it's definitely interesting for us amateurs! I also had some issues with links to source art files. To me, the biggest issue I had with Publisher was the reimport workflow for text. In InDesign, I like that it can reference the source text document, and if I edit the text, I can reimport it and InDesign will remap all the styles. In Publisher, it seems completely broken: the reimport workflow loses or duplicates styles like crazy, so you can't really keep "text editing" and "layout" separate and in parallel... you very much have to lock down the text first, and then do a one time import to Publisher and just work there after that point. If there are any changes to the text, you need to selectively copy/paste the bits that changed, and then potentially redo the styling work... that is, unless they fixed the bugs since then, or unless I'm doing something wrong.

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You can paste in text from another source without its formatting. Thus forces the text to adopt the prevailing style of the text you're working on in Publisher. 

Plus, Publisher can now open idml files from InDesign, and thus brings in any styles or formatting you had from the InDesign original. 

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1 hour ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

You can paste in text from another source without its formatting.

I wanted to paste or reimport text that does have styles (headings and other paragraph/character styles) and have Publisher (re)apply its own styles based on simple name mapping. So if something had a "Heading 2" paragraph style that makes it big and bold in Word/LibreOffice/whatever, it would auto-receive the Publisher "Heading 2" paragraph style that makes it big but not bold and use this fancy font and add some colour and underline and all that jazz. Last time I tried (some time mid-last year) I could get it to work: Publisher would create a duplicated "Heading 2" that would reproduce the Word style ("big and bold"), and use that all over the reimported text, effectively losing my layout/typo design work. I was using the reimport feature, though, not the copy/paste method, so maybe I'll try that next time.

Edited by lordabdul

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