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.

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