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Free update – May 2023

Our first major update for Version 2 includes many usability enhancements to guides, layers, assets, warping, strokes, text and brushes, as well as some all-new features such as a Vector Flood Fill Tool in Affinity Designer and running headers in Affinity Publisher. Read all about these and the hundreds of other improvements across all apps and platforms below.

Balanced dashed lines Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

Dashed lines can now be set to be ‘balanced’, meaning the pattern is automatically rescaled between any cusps in a curve. This gives a more desirable result for things such as corners of a box, or the start and end of a stroke. You can toggle balanced dashed lines on and off using the new button in the Stroke Panel.

Vector Flood Fill Tool Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

This all-new tool allows you to easily fill areas created by intersecting objects and curves with a single click. The behaviour is similar to what you may be used to with a pixel-based flood fill, but you get true vector results.

To use the tool:

  1. Select all the items you want the tool to consider
  2. Switch to Vector Flood Fill Tool – this will analyse your selection and work out all the areas available to fill
  3. Choose your fill colour – select what colour you wish to fill your areas with from the Colour or Swatch Panel
  4. Click in any of the available areas to fill with your chosen colours

The other great thing with this tool is it allows for the simple creation of bitmap fill textures too – you can create a texture fill from any asset or stock item just by clicking on it. You can also choose to layer a texture fill on top of a colour fill with the options available in the context toolbar.

Other tips when using this tool:

  • If you don’t have any objects pre-selected you can just use the tool to fill any existing closed shape. It’s a way to quickly change the colour of objects without having to select them first.
  • While in the tool, if you wish to change your selection, you can hold Command (macOS / iPad) or Ctrl (Windows) and click / drag marquee to select other objects.
  • For an area to be recognised, any curves in your selection need to fully intersect, so it can sometimes be beneficial to expand strokes to bridge gaps in paths before using the tool.

There are lots of options available when using this tool. For more information, check out this tutorial.

Running headers Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

Running headers are a great way to easily include the name of the current topic of your document in the header or footer of your page. The way it works is by copying text formatted with a particular paragraph or character style on a page into a special running header field.

For example, let’s say your file uses a paragraph style of “Heading 1” for the title of each new section in your document. You could add a running header field to the top of every page (normally by adding to your master page), and that field will automatically show your section name, dynamically changing if you edit any of your titles in the document.

The really useful element of this feature is that if there isn’t a new title anywhere on a page, the header will automatically ‘run’ from the previous page and will continue to do so until a new title is found, as shown below:

On desktop, you can insert a running header field from the right click menu:

On iPad, you can find it in the fields list available from the extended keyboard:

To edit the settings of the field (e.g. what text style it is based on, or whether you want it to be based on the first or last instance of that style) you can right click ‘Edit Field’ (or long press ‘Edit’ on iPad).

To learn more about running headers, take a look at our full tutorial.

Show / hide special characters Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

In Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo, you can now choose to show special characters – allowing you to see the hidden markups in your project including paragraph breaks, spaces, tabs, returns, etc. It is available from the Text menu on desktop and the View menu on iPad.

This was already an option in Affinity Publisher, but has been made available in Designer and Photo after many requests!

Auto-select toggle, plus selection options Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

All Affinity apps now have the ability to disable the Move Tool auto-selecting objects when you click on them (this option was previously only available in Affinity Photo). This can be very useful when you want to make sure you do not accidentally select a different object from the one you are working on. Having auto-select turned off means you can also drag anywhere on your document to move your selection, getting your cursor (or finger on iPad!) out of the way.

The auto-select toggle is available from the context toolbar when in the Move Tool. Additionally, when auto-select is turned on, you can also choose how you want selections to be made from the drop-down:

  • Default – clicking on any objects or groups will select them
  • Objects / Layers – ignores any groups and automatically drills to select any child object you click on
  • Group – only selects groups, will ignore any objects not part of a group
  • Under (iPad only) – if you have multiple objects stacked on top of each other, each tap will cycle through the z-order of the layer stack, allowing you to select items underneath the top item (this can also be achieved by holding Alt or ).
Blend mode keyboard shortcuts Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad (requires keyboard)

Keyboard shortcuts have now been added so you can easily change the blend mode of the current layer(s), or the current brush if using the Paint Brush Tool.

Holding Shift with + or - will go to the next or previous blend mode in the list. Additionally, you can use any of the shortcuts in the accompanying table to change immediately to a specific blend mode. As well as assigning shortcuts to other blend modes (where a default shortcut hasn't been given), these can be customised within Settings.

The default shortcuts assigned to each blend mode are shown below:

Blend mode keyboard shortcuts

Blend mode iPad / macOS Windows
Next iPad / macOS: + Windows: Shift+
Previous iPad / macOS: - Windows: Shift-
Normal iPad / macOS: N Windows: ShiftAltN
Darken iPad / macOS: K Windows: ShiftAltK
Multiply iPad / macOS: M Windows: ShiftAltM
Colour burn iPad / macOS: B Windows: ShiftAltB
Linear burn iPad / macOS: A Windows: ShiftAltA
Lighten iPad / macOS: G Windows: ShiftAltG
Screen iPad / macOS: S Windows: ShiftAltS
Colour dodge iPad / macOS: D Windows: ShiftAltD
Add iPad / macOS: W Windows: ShiftAltW
Overlay iPad / macOS: O Windows: ShiftAltO
Soft light iPad / macOS: F Windows: ShiftAltF
Hard light iPad / macOS: H Windows: ShiftAltH
Vivid light iPad / macOS: V Windows: ShiftAltV
Linear light iPad / macOS: J Windows: ShiftAltJ
Pin light iPad / macOS: Z Windows: ShiftAltZ
Hard mix iPad / macOS: L Windows: ShiftAltL
Difference iPad / macOS: E Windows: ShiftAltE
Exclusion iPad / macOS: X Windows: ShiftAltX
Hue iPad / macOS: U Windows: ShiftAltU
Saturation iPad / macOS: T Windows: ShiftAltT
Colour iPad / macOS: C Windows: ShiftAltC
Luminosity iPad / macOS: Y Windows: ShiftAltY
Alt-drag to duplicate in Layers Panel Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

With any layer(s) selected in the Layers Panel, you can now hold Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS / iPad) and drag to create a copy of the selected layers. The duplicated layers will be inserted into the layer stack in the position you have dragged to.

For iPad users:

If you don’t have a keyboard attachment, you’ll need to use the Option modifier () on the Command Controller.

Alt-click to expand / collapse all in Layers Panel Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

In all apps, you can use the Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS / iPad) modifier on the expand chevron in the Layers Panel to either expand or collapse all groups, layers and other nested items within the parent in one action.

For iPad users:

If you don’t have a keyboard attachment, you’ll need to use the Option modifier () on the Command Controller.

Photo Crop Tool improvements Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

A number of improvements have been made to Affinity Photo’s Crop Tool:

  • Crop to selection – if you have a pixel selection active, the Crop Tool will now initiate to be a minimum fit around the selection you have
  • Maintain zoom level – after a crop, the current zoom level will be maintained (rather than automatically zooming to fit)
  • Easily apply same ratio crop – the Crop Tool now remembers the last setting globally, so if you wish to apply the same ratio crop to a number of images, it’s much easier
  • Resize a crop by dragging anywhere on the bounding box edges, rather than having to drag from a handle
  • Reset the current crop with Esc
  • In unconstrained mode, holding Shift will now constrain the current aspect ratio and Command (Ctrl on Windows) will resize around the centre
Auto-clean added to Paint Mixer Brush Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

A new option is now available in the context toolbar of the Paint Mixer Brush to auto-clean the brush after every stroke should you wish.

Ability to create more complex dashed lines Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

Dashed line settings have been expanded to allow three dashes and three gaps to be set, which enable more complex patterns to be created such as a two-dot chain.

Quick tip: on desktop you will also find the labels for dashes and gaps to be draggable to quickly adjust the values.

Guide improvements Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

Many little improvements have been made to the way you can edit and manage guides:

  1. When moving a guide by dragging you now see both the guide position relative to the ruler origin (as before) as well as the distance from the guide’s previous position. This means, for example, if you want to move a guide 10mm you can achieve that easily without changing the ruler origin.
  2. When dragging a guide, holding Shift will now snap the guide position to ruler marks. Additionally holding Shift and Alt / Option together will snap to the delta distance.
  3. If you hold Alt / Option before dragging a guide, that will now create a copy of the guide.
  4. Dragging a new guide from rulers will now automatically turn guide visibility on (if it was set off).
  5. Alt / Option-clicking on a guide will delete the guide.
  6. Double-clicking on an existing guide will now open the guide manager dialog (with the focus on the guide you double-clicked).

For iPad users:

If you don’t have a keyboard attachment, you will need to use the Command Controller to access the modifiers.

Vector warp nodes are now snappable Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

When editing a vector warp in Affinity Designer, any nodes in your mesh will now snap based on your general snapping preferences (when snapping is turned on). As with nearly all operations in Affinity, you can temporarily toggle snapping off while dragging a node by holding Alt / Option.

Brush Panel improvements Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

A lot of customer feedback has been incorporated into the Brush Panel:

  • Brush Panel now always highlights the current raster brush (in blue) and will now denote if the brush has been edited (by highlighting red).
  • If you change brush tools (e.g., between paint brush and eraser) which have different brushes assigned, the panel will automatically scroll / switch category to always show the current brush. This is something which can be optionally switched off (‘Auto-Scroll’ in the panel’s burger menu).
  • If you have changed any of the temporary properties of a brush, you can choose to update your brush preset to use that setting (from right click menu on desktop, left swipe menu on iPad).
  • In Affinity Designer we have now made it possible to view your vector brushes in thumbnail view (Brush Panel burger menu -> uncheck ‘Show as list’). This was previously only available as an option with raster brushes.

Additionally, in the desktop versions you can now:

  • Choose to show brush names in the panel (option in burger menu). The iPad versions already showed brush names in prior versions.
  • Alt / Option-drag a brush to quickly create a duplicate of the brush in the panel.
Raster live warps added to Pixel Persona Available on both desktop and iPad

(Pixel Persona)

Windows, macOS and iPad

We have now added both the perspective and mesh warp live filters from Affinity Photo into the Pixel Persona of Affinity Designer. You can add one of these live filters from the Layer menu in Pixel Persona on desktop, or from the + button in the Layers Panel on iPad (again only when you are in Pixel Persona).

These filters are completely non-destructive, and particularly useful for distorting images and embedded documents you want to incorporate within your design.

Note: These are pixel-based warps so will rasterise any vector data warped by them at export time. If you just wish to warp vector outlines, you should be using the vector warp group functionality in the Designer Persona (added as a new feature to V2) which will always maintain a true vector result.

Double-click artboard label to rename Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

You can now rename an artboard by double-clicking / tapping on the artboard label in your document.

Rename layer shortcut and tab functionality Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

On desktop and iPad versions, ‘Rename Layer…’ is now available using the shortcut Command Shift R (Ctrl Shift R on Windows). This can be customised in Settings should you wish.

Additionally, in the Mac version, after updating a layer name in the Layers Panel, you can now tab / Shift-tab to quickly edit the next / previous layer’s name. Note: this was already possible in the Windows version!

WebP and JPEG XL batch export Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

You can now choose both WebP and JPEG XL as export file types from the batch export dialog in Affinity Photo.

‘Close All’ added to File menu Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

New options have been added to the File menu that allow you to close all currently open documents. The default shortcut is assigned as:

  • macOS: W
  • Windows: Alt Ctrl W
Asset Panel re-ordering improvements Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

You can now re-order subcategories within the Asset Panel by drag and drop (as well as using the burger menu on the subcategory to move up and move down as before). Additionally, there are new options in the burger menu of ‘Expand All’ and ‘Collapse All’ to quickly expand or collapse all subcategories in the panel.

‘Mask to below’ added to Layer menu Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

The ‘Mask to below’ function, previously only available from the right click menu in the Layers Panel, has now been added to the top Layer menu. This was requested primarily so that a shortcut could be assigned if desired.

Measure and Area tools now available in Photo and Publisher Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

The Measure Tool and Area Tool, which were both added to Affinity Designer in V2, are now available in both Photo and Publisher. This is not included in the default set of tools when you first run the app, but you will find it in the list if you go to View -> Customise Tools.

Place Tool can now be added to toolbar in Affinity Photo Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

You can now find the Place Tool as a customisation option in Affinity Photo (View -> Customise Tools) and add it to your main set of tools, making it more easily accessible than going to File -> Place.

Zoom tool context options included in Develop Persona Available on desktop only

(Develop Persona)

Windows and macOS

The Zoom Tool in Photo’s Develop Persona now includes the context toolbar options offered in the main Photo Persona (slider and drop-down of preset values).

Blend mode and opacity now available in main Layers Panel Available on ipad only


As has been frequently requested, we have promoted the opacity and blend mode options that were previously only available from the Layer options (…) panel, at the top of the main Layers Panel. Double-tapping on opacity will reset the value to 100%, and double-tapping on blend mode will reset to ‘Normal’.

New left swipe options in layers Available on ipad only


The left swipe menu in Layers has been expanded to include:

  • Lock / Unlock
  • Rename Layer…
  • Change compound type (if the layer in question is a compound)

This makes these options much more easily accessible than having to go to the Layer options (…) panel.

Redesigned Edit menu on iPad Available on ipad only


Changes have been made to the ‘Edit…’ menu on iPad to make the menu more functional and readable (especially on documents with light coloured backgrounds). The biggest change is that we’ve brought back the icons for the isometric (Affinity Designer, when working on an iso grid) and insertion target options we had in V1.

iPadOS Photos app integration Available on ipad only


When browsing your photos, either to open or place an image, all apps now use the inbuilt iPadOS Photos app rather than our own bespoke browser as before. This gives a much more familiar experience and will automatically take advantage of any new features the Photos app adds in the future.

‘Show in Files’ available from Live Documents Available on ipad only


You can now easily find the source of any documents you have open which have previously been saved to Files via this new option in the Live Docs burger menu.

Style Picker Tool added to all iPad apps Available on ipad only


The Style Picker Tool, which was added to the desktop versions in 2.0, is now available in the iPad versions. You will find this nested within the Colour Picker Tool.

This tool allows you to quickly copy the style of any object or text in your document to other objects.

A few tips:

  • In the context toolbar, you can see whether the tool is currently loaded with a style or not. If you wish to unload the tool, you can tap the Delete button in the context toolbar.
  • When the picker is unloaded you can load it with a style from any object / text in your document with a single tap.
  • Alternatively, when it is unloaded you can drag on the screen which will give you a loupe similar to the colour picker to more accurately choose the style you want to pick.
  • Once a style is loaded, you can then tap other objects or marquee around them to apply that style to other objects.
  • In the case of applying the style to text, you can single tap to apply that style to a single word, or click drag to highlight sections of text you wish to apply the style to.
  • To quickly reload with a new style, you can Alt / Option-tap to copy a style from a different shape to the picker.
  • From the Style Picker menu in the toolbar, you also get access to the additional options available on desktop to select which attributes you want the Style Picker to copy.
New keyboard shortcut options Available on ipad only

iPad (requires keyboard)

The following additional keyboard shortcuts are now available on iPad. They are pre-set with the default shortcuts as shown but can also be customised in Settings.

Keyboard shortcuts

Function Default Shortcut
Zoom in Default Shortcut: +
Zoom out Default Shortcut: -
Zoom to 100% Default Shortcut: 1
Zoom to 200% Default Shortcut: 2
Zoom to 400% Default Shortcut: 3
Zoom to 800% Default Shortcut: 4
Zoom to actual size Default Shortcut: 8
Zoom to fit Default Shortcut: 0
Zoom to pixel size Default Shortcut: 9
Zoom to selection Default Shortcut: 0
Zoom to width Default Shortcut: 0
Show guides Default Shortcut: ;
Show grids Default Shortcut:
Select next Default Shortcut: ]
Select previous Default Shortcut: [
Select top Default Shortcut: unassigned
Select bottom Default Shortcut: unassigned
Double-tap Apple Pencil for quick menu Available on ipad only


When using Apple Pencil, you can now configure ‘double-tap’ on your pencil to open the quick menu. You can choose what behaviour ‘double-tap’ has by going to Settings -> Pencil -> Double-Tap Action.

Long press geometry operation to create compound Available on ipad only


You can now quickly create a compound (non-destructive Boolean operation) by long pressing any one of the geometry operations from the menu.

More advanced PDF import options now available Available on ipad only


When opening a PDF in Affinity for iPad, you will now be able to choose from the same advanced options as are available on desktop. These options include how text is grouped, DPI and colour space conversion.

Modifiers now available for Select Object Available on ipad only


Select Object modifiers which were previously only available in the desktop version are now available on iPad:

  • Shift – this will add the selected object type to your current selection
  • Option – this will subtract the selected object type from your current selection
  • Shift Option – this will just select any of the selected object types from within your current selection

You can either use the Command Controller or a connected keyboard to access these modifiers.

Main view rulers now available Available on ipad only


iPad now has rulers! You can toggle them on from the View / Preview mode drop-down. These new rulers have all the functionality of the desktop versions, including:

  • Ability to add horizontal or vertical guides quickly by dragging out from either of the rulers.
  • Drag to change the ruler / page origin. This can be done by dragging from where the horizontal and vertical rulers meet in the top left corner. This will snap to other objects, guides, grids, etc (obeying your current snapping options). You can reset the origin by double-tapping in the same place.
  • All of the new guide improvements are also available on iPad, including Alt / Option-drag to duplicate, Alt / Option-tap to delete, etc.
Reset rotation in navigator with double-tap Available on ipad only


In the Navigator Panel, a double-tap on canvas rotation value will now reset to zero degrees. While there are already quick buttons for different zoom levels available, we have also made it so that a double-tap on the zoom value resets to 100%.

Tapping warp group thumbnail now selects Node Tool Available on ipad only


If you tap the thumbnail of a warp group in the Layers Panel on iPad, it will now automatically select the Node Tool for you to edit the warp as it does on desktop.

Option to hide the layer type icon now available Available on ipad only


On iPad, you now have the option to hide the layer type icon (the icon which denotes if a layer is pixel, image, curve, etc). It is available in the burger menu of the Layers Panel and the option to check on or off is within ‘Show Object Type’.

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