Affinity Publisher is a $50 professional desktop publishing and page layout package created by Serif and designed to create high-end publication-quality documents. It is meant to be used in conjunction with Affinity Designer, Serif's graphic design application, and Affinity Photo, Serif's photo editing application, each of which costs $50.
Bottom line: This desktop publishing program is the cherry on top of the entire Affinity trio and a must-have for self-publishers.
- Solid, fast, well-designed user interface
- All the tools you'd expect to find in a professional desktop publishing application
- Seamless integration the other apps in the Affinity suite via Studio Link
Three-in-One App Integration
While this review will focus on Affinity Publisher, the beauty of the relationship between these three applications is Studio Link which, if you also have Affinity Designer and Photo installed, means you never need to leave Affinity Publisher to access all the features of the other two applications. Studio Link does this using "personas," which allow you to click a button appearing at the top left of the Publisher toolbar, to access all of the selected app's tools. So, while Publisher is great as a standalone desktop publishing and page layout application, you'll get the greatest benefit from Publisher if you purchase and use all three applications together.
Because Affinity Publisher is a professional application, it has a sophisticated toolset. If you're familiar with applications such as Adobe InDesign you'll have no problem making the transition to Publisher. If you've been using Apple's Pages or something similar for your page layout work, it's still no problem, you'll just have a bit of a learning curve. Fortunately Serif offers excellent tutorials on everything from the most basic of Affinity Publisher's features to more complicated features such as how to create tables for data and tables of contents.
Affinity Publisher doesn't ship with templates. It's assumed that, since this is a professional design tool, you'll create your content on your own. But, when you purchase the package you receive a free collection of fonts you can use in your design work and there are a limited number of templates available for purchase in the Affinity store.
As with any page layout program, you create new documents by selecting a page size and orientation and the number of pages you want to begin with. Because Serif was developed in the UK all the default page sizes are formats for the UK, such as A4. I could find no way to change these defaults to US standards such as letter and legal, but I could select these page sizes from a menu when I was creating my document.
Tools of the Trade
Affinity Publisher's tools for page layout and text formatting are exactly what you'd expect in this type of app. The application supports master pages, allows you to create standard and artistic text, and add images. You can create text styles and link those styles throughout your document. There are tools for flowing text from one text box to another and you can create text that follows the path of any object on the page. If you choose to use Affinity Photo and Designer you will also find a complete suite of tools for drawing vector graphic and editing images within your page layout document. Additionally, Affinity Publisher also offers multiple levels of undo—the app defaults to 1024 undos, but you can adjust according to your particular comfort level. Your history can also be saved so that you can use it for undos on different computers.
Publisher fully supports all major file images, raster, and vector file formats, including EPS, PDF, PNG, and PDF files.
The Price of Admission
As noted previously, Affinity Publisher is a $50 application, as are all the other applications in the Affinity suite. There are no subscription fees and, at this point, it appears that there are no charges for upgrades to the apps, although it's reasonable to expect that this might change with future releases. You can purchase Publisher direct from the Serif website (linked above) or from the Mac App Store.
Affinity Publisher is solid. Powerful desktop publishing and page layout tools that link to a suite of two other equally as excellent applications, that won't put you in a financial pit. If you create documents that require more than words to get your ideas out and are in the market for excellence, Affinity Publisher (and its related suite of tools) is the app for you.
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