Affinity Publisher for large DTP projects?

Apologies for this being a bit off topic, but I think this is a good place to ask.

So I’m considering Affinity Publisher, but before I download the trial and test it out, I’m wondering specifically how others have fared with extremely large projects (600+ pages) comprised almost entirely of linked pass-through PDFs (from Dorico, in my case).

I read something two years ago saying the project slows to a crawl in that scenario, but of course I know the project has been developed a good deal since then.

Does anyone have experience with large projects that could weigh in?

I just opened up an 866 page PDF in Publisher and I’m able to make edits and scroll around as easily as if it was a single page.

Granted I’m using a 16" M1 Pro MacBook Pro, but I can check on my old 2015 MacBook Pro.


Outstanding. That’s exactly the sort of report I was looking for, thanks. I’m running a Ryzen 5900x, so that’s pretty comparable to the M1 I think.

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Jackson, do you embed, or link? I guess embedding makes the document ridiculously huge.

I embed - the file size does get a fair bit larger. From an 11 MB PDF to a 40 MB afpub file. When you open a PDF with Publisher or Add Pages From File it’s always embedded, and now that I look into it I’m not sure if it’s possible to automatically place a multi-page PDF as a linked document, though it’s certainly been brought to the attention of the developers.

So that could be a deal breaker if you need to update the original PDF. It also doesn’t look like there’s any scripting functionality which I believe is how Indesign handles multi-page PDF placement?

And the results are in: 2015 MBP handles the same document just as easily.

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Ok, my use case is to place one PDF at a time (most hymns are one page), but I do update the Dorico files as I correct errors. InDesign updates the linked PDF automatically; it’s very much a “living document.” So I guess linking, not embedding, is the direction I’d want to go there.

Well that should be fine then, just did a test placing a single page PDF then updated the file in Dorico and when I switched back to Publisher I had a notification saying the document had been modified.


Thanks again. That’s good enough for me to take the plunge.


It certainly won’t break the bank to try, so at least there’s that comfort.

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Indeed, a perpetual license for Publisher is less than double a one-month subscription to InDesign…


@sidebysidebyside , it’s me again. I love how Publisher works…

…when it works. I’ve been having problems with crashes and large RAM usage on two machines. You said you’ve had no such issue though?

After opening an APub file, I need to wait approximately 4 minutes (on a very powerful machine) for the CPU to settle down and the RAM to stop increasing. If I try to do anything in the software before then, it crashes.

I wonder if I might be able to send you a project file for you to try on your machine? They’re all PDFs exported from Dorico…

I was going to make the same offer (that you could dm me a file) if you like. I have two machines I can test it on, although they are macs of different vintage, but it would be interesting to see if they struggle.

Thanks, PM’d.

I’m at a restaurant now waiting for carry out, but I’ll check in a little while.

The hardware acceleration is more stable on Macs than Windows so it may well work better for you.

FWIW, turning off hardware acceleration was the first thing recommended to me to resolve stability issues, which I did.

PS: sorry folks, I know this isn’t an Affinity Publisher forum, but this is where the help seems to be at the moment, and I’m a bit desperate. Thanks…

But isn’t Affinity Publisher a plugin of Dorico? :stuck_out_tongue:


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Hey @dan_kreider yeah all good, feel free to send to me as well if @Romanos hasn’t answered your question already :slight_smile:


I ended up testing Dan’s project on my old 2013 imac with 32gb ram and my new m1 mac mini with 16gb ram, and the mac mini handles it just fine, whereas the old imac chokes after a few minutes and the program becomes completely unresponsive.

In the case of the older machine, hardware acceleration isn’t even an option (too old, so it’s greyed out) but it is enabled on the m1. It all feels fluid although the thumbnails don’t want to populate for some reason.

EDIT: after about 8-10 minutes of being open in the background, I went back to AP to find the project choking. There’s something odd going on for sure.

Well, since I had spoken so highly of APub elsewhere, I feel I should close the circle by saying the crashes are continuing on large projects, and I’ve been trying to contact support for five weeks with no replies.

So in short, I’m beyond frustrated at the time I’ve wasted learning this program, and I’m crawling back to InDesign because these projects have real deadlines. It’s a shame, because I vastly prefer the workflow and interface of APub in every way… except, y’know, that it doesn’t work without crashing.

It seems others have had better luck than I, but sadly I can’t recommend it. And the complete lack of responsiveness from Serif really frosts me. I’m done.

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