Serif has released Affinity Publisher and it’s pretty fantastic. I’ve been using their iPad and Mac apps, Photo and Designer, since each was released. I’ve been very happy with their apps and happily no longer use Photoshop or Illustrator. InDesign is my last Adobe app in use and now that will be getting phased out as well.
So, to gush a little more about what I love about these Affinity Apps. First, the file format is exactly the same across all three apps and compatible between platforms with no feature loss. I can start a project on Photo on the iPad. Drop it into Designer. Send it to the Mac and work in Publisher. Bring it back to iPad and work again in Designer. This is not exporting… this is just the native file being bounced around between devices and apps. And an iPad version of Publisher is coming in 2020. Until then, thanks to updates released yesterday for the two iPad apps I can actually open up up Publisher files (again, same exact file format) on the iPad apps and they work as expected. Even features not fully on the iPad apps are supported. Multiple page documents, text flow around objects and such all work in the updated iPad apps. It’s kinda bananas.
One last thing that Affinity surprised people with yesterday was an unannounced feature called StudioLink. If I’m working on a document in Publisher, say a newsletter. I’ve probably added some images and possibly vector work, as linked assets in my project folder. I decide I need to edit the photo with some adjustments. No need to open the file in another app. I select the photo in the document and click the Affinity Photo icon in the corner of my window and instantly I now have the toolbars and features I’d expect if I’d actually switched to the Affinity Photo app. Same for Designer if I were to click that icon. Now, those apps have NOT actually opened up separately. I’m still in Publisher but I now have the interface of the other app and can work on my image or vector asset as though I had switched apps. I make my changes to the asset and tap back to the Publisher icon and continue working on the project. The changes are non-destructive to the original asset. StudioLink does require that you have all three apps installed to work but again, it’s not actually opening the other app separately. It just instantly switches modes to that other app.
Anyone familiar with these apps probably already knows this but they are one-time purchases not subscriptions. Normally around $50 each on the Mac or Windows, and I think $20 for the iPad. And often on sale as they are now 20% off.
A note regarding compatibility with InDesign, import/export. Currently Publisher does not import or export from/to InDesign. It does an excellent job of opening PDFs created with InDesign though. IDML import is coming with an update. I’ve not read anything about the addition of export to IDML.