Getting Started – Getting Better

Affinity Publisher

Affinity Publisher: Working with Text

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Affinity Publisher is, after all, desktop publishing software. Key to using Affinity Publisher (called AP for the rest of this page) is knowing how to work with text.

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Boxed In

As with most publishing programs, Affinity works with boxes/fields. You can’t just type directly onto a blank page, like with a word publisher. Create text boxes to define where text goes and how it behaves.

First, use the text-box tool to draw a box onto a blank page.

Click inside the box to activate it. Before typing into the box, though, look for the following areas, which will set the text rules for the box: the font-selection option; the indent option; the paragraph-spacing option; the horizontal text alignment option; and the vertical text alignment option.

Font Selection

Use this area to choose the font name and size you want to use in the text box. The bold & italic controls are to the right of this area – please note at this time Affinity doesn’t permit text to be both bold and italic at the same time.

Once a font is selected, it will remain the default for that document – including size and alignment – until you change it. Then whatever the new setting is will become the new default.

Paragraph Spacing

This area defines indents (if any). The first option indents the entire paragraph; the one below it indents only the first line. The center options apply to indents from the right side of the page, including whether the last line in a paragraph extends beyond the line. The last column is line spacing; i.e., how much vertical space before and after a paragraph. The default for AP is 12pt after a paragraph. If using first-line indents and single spacing, change that value to 0.

Vertical Alignment

Unlike many word processors, AP allows you to justify pages vertically, so the page’s text height is the same from page to page. This is also where to set the last page of a chapter to align from the top; to align the copyright page text to the bottom; or for some pages, to align to the middle vertically.

Unlike MS Word, Affinity allows you to change the alignment from one style to another between pages where the text is connected – which means it can be justified on all pages except the last page, where it’s aligned to the top.

Horizontal Alignment

Want to center text on the line? Here’s where to do it. Note there are more than the usual options for justified text (text that aligns both left and right on the page). Justify right means the main block of text is justified, but the last line aligns right. Justify left (which is the usual option) aligns both sides of the block and the last line aligns to the left. Justify all is what it says: no matter how long or short the last line is, it’ll be stretched margin-to-margin. And the last option, Justify center, aligns the main block of text, but the last line is centered.

I suggest playing with each of the text options to familiarize yourself with them.

Text Flow

With books, or any document longer than a page, the text should flow automatically from one page to the next. However, because AP is designed to follow the rules you set, it will only flow from page to page when told to do so.

Which is not to say it can’t be done, nor that it’s particularly difficult to do.

In the example above, which has guides turned on, diagonal blue lines shows the text following from one page to the next. While I accidentally cut it off, the middle line goes between the two lower pages. So the right top page (first page of a chapter) flows down to the left page below, which flows into the right page below. You can see graphically which path the text follows.

To connect pages so they overflow, look at two options. There will be an arrow on the sides of any active text box. The arrow on the left side of the box links to the source the text is flowing from. In the above example, the upper diagonal line goes from the right side of the upper box and goes to the left side of the lower page.

Overflow

When the text either isn’t set to overflow or there aren’t enough pages created for it to overflow, the right side of the text box will display a red eye with a slash through it. That means there’s additional text inside which nobody can see.

There are two ways to address this. One is to simply create and link however many pages are needed to carry the text.

However, AP has the ability to create those overflow pages for you. Press the Alt key (on a Windows computer) and click the red arrow. AP will create as many additional pages as it needs to accommodate the text. It automatically formats to the set of pages where the arrow is located. If working with a chapter, I recommend manually creating one set of pages with mid-chapter formatting, then using the alt-click method to generate the rest of the chapter.

Next lesson: using images in AP

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