OT: Affinity Publisher launched

I hope it’s ok to mention that Affinity Publisher has been launched today. It’s an amazing DTP package, and as well as producing beautiful front matter, it can also import PDFs from Dorico as editable objects. (As can its sister app, Affinity Designer.)

If you want graphical elements in your scores, this is a useful stop-gap until Dorico can provide everything!

(I’m not affiliated: just a happy user.)

caveat emptor: I was one of the beta testers, and I used this extensively to produce a 70 page worship aid for the Easter Triduum. As of my last attempt (a few weeks ago) their rendering engine is far from perfect, particularly as regards lyrics and hyphens. You’ll likely have to double check any pages you import to make sure nothing needs to be tweaked to appear as it did in Dorico originally. The bounding boxes it creates for elements are often too small which pushes things to the next line down. Extending boxes can sometimes fix this, but some fiddling is required.

What’s especially awesome is the StudioLink technology where you can use the tools of Affinity Designer or Photo in Publisher. So, you could theoretically open a PDF exported from Dorico in Affinity Publisher and add and edit advanced graphics created in Affinity Designer or Affinity Photo live in the document. :slight_smile:

Sadly, you’re right: However, if you outline the fonts in the PDF, then it imports it perfectly, and you can still edit the individual elements. You can do this with Acrobat or GhostScript.

I’m sure they’ll improve it: a UK dev team, responsive to users, with a grand vision for revolutionary new apps. Sounds familiar!

Benwiggy, I’m not familiar with what you mean (outline the fonts). How do you do this in adobe? I’d certainly do it before my next big project if it will save me time in the long run.

Outlining is converting font vector data into graphical vector objects. (Command Shift O in Illustrator!)

With Acrobat DC, there is a Preflight profile to Outline all fonts. It’s actually not easy to do in Versions Xi and X – I swear it used to be easier in versions before that.

If you use GhostScript, you can use the following command:

/usr/local/bin/gs \
	-dNOPAUSE \
	-dBATCH \
	-dNoOutputFonts \
	-sDEVICE=pdfwrite \
	-sOutputFile="$outputfile" \
	"$inputfile"

Mac installers for GhostScript are here: https://pages.uoregon.edu/koch/

I’d be happy to make up some little Automator Quick Actions or Droplet apps that will do things like Outline fonts, convert to PDF/X-3, etc, for anyone.

If you could do an Automator action for outlining, I’d greatly appreciate it! I did not try it before (because I did not know it’s easily possible and don’t have Acrobat and I’m not into ghostscript), but this might also help in the rare cases where people have problems opening my exported music PDFs (these often look like font problems). Until now, I always rendered these PDFs as image-PDFs (simple Automator workflow - let me know if somebody wants it), which does the job reliably but kills the vector (of course) and blows up file size.

If it helps importing into the Affinity apps (Photo works quite nice, too; I used this a few times to combine parts of different PDFs into a new still vector PDF, e.g. to insert solo changes from another part into mine), this would even be better.

I did not try Publisher in the Beta, but I’ll definitely take a look now; thanks for reminding me!

GhostScript is very useful and capable, but lots of people are put off by having to use the command line, and are unsure how to install it. The link in my earlier post is a page of Mac installer packages, making it easy to install.

The Automator action needs GhostScript to work. The advantage is that you can use it in the GUI without having to remember commands line options.
I’ll let you know when I have something.

I’ll let you know when I have something.

It would be fantastic, benwiggy! Thanks!
I tried to compile action for Automator with your code, but I make some syntax errors…

In the meantime, I found this little app that works reliably (ghostscript needed): https://pages.uoregon.edu/noeckel/computernotes/FontBegone/

p.s.: I agree that AffinityPub is already a truly remarkable application.

Here’s a screenshot of the Automator workflow you need to create. You’ll need to install GhostScript from here first.

  1. Create a new Quick Action
  2. Set the workflow options to match those in the screenshot.
  3. Add “Run Shell Script” action (set options to match screenshot)
  4. Paste in the following text.
for f in "$@"
do
# Sanitize filename and save with new name
f=${f//\\}
filename="${f%.*}"
filename="$filename"" NoFonts.pdf"

/usr/local/bin/gs \
	-dNOPAUSE \
	-dBATCH \
	-dNoOutputFonts \
	-sDEVICE=pdfwrite \
	-sOutputFile="$filename" \
	"$f"
echo $f, $filename
done
  1. Save as “Outline Fonts” or similar.

You can then apply this on any selected PDF file in the Finder.

Thank you so much! It works perfectly.

Tried to implement it in Keyboard Maestro too, but obviously something of the specific KM syntax escapes me. If any KM guru is reading, every suggestion is welcome!

Thank you very much! It works just as you described. On one test file that I downloaded from the web, the results looked considerably different than the original, but when I ran it on a Dorico export, I could not find any obvious differences in the output. File size gets a lot bigger, but is still smaller as with rasterizing/JPG at 200 or higher DPI (on my test file close to half as big as 200dpi/Q45/bw JPG). I’m sure this will come in handy!

UPDATE!

I’ve discovered that Dorico’s SVG files import perfectly into Affinity Designer and Publisher. All the fonts are outlined automatically in the import. EPS files also work well, though there’s no direct method for creating those. PostScript files of Individual pages also work, though multiple pages get pasted on top of each other.

This is extremely valuable information. Thank you VERY much, Benwiggy. :slight_smile:

I had already checked the option (however thanks benwiggy!) but there’s a Caveat…

The 8va dashed line, for example, changes in appearance and I didn’t verify if other symbols can be modified in the passage of format (SVG).
Already this change would not have been acceptable to the publisher, so I rejected the option.

OFFS! Serif have been made quite aware of the strength of feeling about this on their forums, so we can only hope it will be addressed in the future.

Looks like I’ll have to keep Illustrator CS6 running for a bit longer.

After my last major update I finally lost access to my old CS5 suite… what a shame it was too… Suffice it to say I won’t be replacing it any time soon. It cost $600 a decade ago even with a student discount (down from the $2500 price, if I remember correctly). I got nearly a decade out of it so I suppose I got my money’s worth.

How compares Affinity Publisher to Adobe Indesign? I never had problems importing PDF’s from Dorico to Indesign. Indeed Indesign cannot import SVG, but that’s no limitation in this case.

UMahnken, this is what we are discussing. I have rendering errors when I import PDFs (typically involving lyrics). Benwiggy is stating that on the AP forum people have been vocal about these problems so hopefully a maintenance update will address these issues now that the software will be in the hands of more users.

Me too. Exactly the same boat. I’ve had program issues with Adobe for the past few years and have now given up on most of the 5.5 suite. In the past 6 months I’ve switched over to Serif for all three of their programs and am slowly coming to grips with them. There’s quite a learning curve but I think they’ll cover all that I need. I’ll stick with Adobe for Lightroom but that’s it. Phenomenal value-for-money for Affinity Publisher IMVHO…

These days I find myself much more concerned about Apple and the inevitable moment when my 2012 Mac Pro won’t cut it any longer. Time to start saving…