Getting Started – Getting Better

Affinity Publisher

Affinity Publisher: the Basics


Congratulations! You just purchased Affinity Publisher!


You weren’t positive how the templates were but you found one you think is close to what you need, you’ve opened a new document, and you start to type…

…And start to type…

…And start to… Darn it! You can’t type in ANYTHING. Why not??

Creating A Custom Preset Size

Let’s start at the beginning.

Open Affinity and ask it to create a new document. A page will open, looking something like this:


Edit all the relevant sizes to fit the document you want to create. When you have it all saved, click the plus-mark next to word Create at the top. It will create a template with the size and margin rules you created, and put a box in the main window. The box will say, “Unnamed [numeral]” and the size you designated.

To name your template, right-click on the words “Unnamed 1” as shown above. It gives the option to rename the template anything you choose, or to delete it.

When creating a preset for a book, check the box next to Facing Pages and make sure the Inner Margin is set larger than other margins, to allow space at the book’s spine. A rule of thumb is to add about .3 inch for each 150-200 pages.

Left-click the template to open a new document/file and get started.

Create a Master Page(s)

Whether a novel or nonfiction, books all follow specific formatting rules.

Pick up any traditionally-published book and pay attention to the layout. Normally, the first interior page is either a snippet from inside the book – or a title plate. (If the first page is an excerpt, the title plate is the third page – the next page on the right side of the book.) Wherever it falls, the title plate has the title and author name centered horizontally. It usually sits slightly higher than the middle vertically.

On the back of the title plate is the copyright information – which is at the bottom of the page.

A new chapter starts about a third of the way down the page, and there’s no page header on the first page of a new chapter. In my example, the first line of each paragraph in the chapter is indented and the page number is centered at the bottom of the page. The chapter title is centered and a different font size and weight. But on the copyright page, the first several lines are centered, while the disclaimer at the bottom is one big block of text, no indents.

Is your head spinning yet?

This is where Master Pages come in. Master pages are the rules set inside a document for things like which font to use, whether the text is centered, when the first line starts down the page, etc. Click on the initial, blank Master page (top left) to add boxes and define your rules for each box.

Suppose you have an oops and forgot to add page numbers to one of your Master Pages, so the page number is missing from most right-side pages. Easy fix! Just fix it on the Master page corresponding to those pages, and it will update them all.


The bar at left lets you change between tools. Hover over the tool to see what it is. A summary is below.


For most books, the text- and image-related boxes will come into play. Note there are two image boxes, rectangular and oval. The tools don’t put the images in: they only define whether the images display as oval/round or rectangular/square. To place the image into their fields, use the place-picture tool to select (or select File > Place) and insert the image.

The fancy text tool (my name: on Affinity it’s actually called Artistic Text), is only to add non-standard text, such as for a title page. Since I use images of the cover text for my title page, the Artistic Text option goes unused at my house.

The primary text tool (called the Frame Text tool in Affinity) is for most text applications: body text, page numbering, headers, etc. Use it to draw a box wherever you want text to show up.

Next lesson: working with text boxes in Affinity Publisher.

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