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Free update – November 2023

A modest but mighty update, Version 2.3 introduces the highly requested Spiral Tool as well as some great new capabilities and improvements. Read all about these below.

Spiral Tool Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

This highly-requested, flexible new tool allows you to create different types of spirals, including:


Turns: 5

Segment angle: 90°

Inner radius: 0%

Turns: 15

Segment angle: 360°

Inner radius: 25%

Turns: 9

Segment angle: 70°

Inner radius: 0%

Use cusped segments


Turns: 8

Segment angle: 90°

Decay: 17%

Turns: 40

Segment angle: 330°

Decay: 10%

Turns: 30

Segment angle: 60°

Decay: 10%

Use cusped segments



Counter Semi-circular


Turns: 4

Turns: 4

Use cusped segments


Divisions: 7

Divisions: 3

Divisions: 8

Bias: -1

Here are some creative examples of how you can incorporate these spirals into your designs:

Pixel grid option Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

A new pixel grid option is available in all apps under the View menu. If turned ‘on’, this will expose a pixel grid (as per the DPI of your current document) when zoomed in beyond a certain threshold. By default, the grid is set to grey, but you can customise the colour and opacity of the pixel grid, along with the colour of standard grid lines, within Grid and Axis settings.

For Affinity Designer, this is especially useful when doing UI work like designing icons. When using Force Pixel Alignment, objects will snap to whole pixels so the pixel grid acts as a supporting visual aid for this, along with pixel-based view modes.

For Affinity Photo, this new option is especially useful when editing zoomed-in images as it helps you visualise its pixels. Moreover, using a different grid colour can help when there is little colour variance in the image.

For both Affinity Designer’s Pixel Persona and Affinity Photo, the pixel grid also acts as a visual aid when drawing pixel art using the Pixel Tool.

Note: In Affinity Photo, the main grid was previously set to be a pixel grid. The great thing now is that the pixel grid is separate to the main grid, with options to turn either of them on or off as well as independently control their appearance.

Create and place password-protected PDFs Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

All Affinity apps now allow you to create and place password-protected PDFs.


In the advanced export options for PDF files, you will see two new options:

  1. Require password to open – if you set a password here, that means anyone who tries to open that PDF will be prompted to give this password before they can open it
  2. Permissions password – here you can further protect the PDF with options for restricting printing, modification, editing and copying with a secondary password

You will also see the type of encryption being used for the file in question. This is based on the PDF compatibility being used in Export (PDF 1.6 & 1.7 both use AES-128, PDF 2.0 uses AES-256; password protection is not available with PDF 1.4, 1.5 or PDF/X file compatibility).

Passwords can be saved in a PDF preset, so for example you could have a preset of ‘Company Internal PDF’ which specifies both the export settings you want for that type of document (DPI, etc) as well as the password settings.


Previously, you could not place password-protected PDFs in Affinity. Now you can! When you attempt to place the PDF, you will get a prompt asking you for the password for the document you are attempting to place.

Move Data Entry improvements Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

After reviewing feedback from the previous beta, we’re pleased to say we’ve been able to implement a few requests to Move Data Entry.

  1. You can now choose to create duplicates in front or behind the original using the new Insertion mode options
  2. Scale has now been added, allowing you to quickly resize an object by a given percentage (when creating duplicates, the scale percentage will also apply to every subsequent duplicate – this can also be combined with other transforms)
  3. Properties of the object being transformed can now be adjusted without dismissing the dialog

We’ve also changed the ramp on the ‘Number of copies’ slider to make it more useable at lower values (i.e. the first half of the slider now just goes from 1-50, with the remaining half from 50-1000).

As a reminder, the Move Data Entry dialog is initiated by hitting Return while in the Move, Shape, Picture Frame or Artboard tools.

Tags Panel for adding alt text to images and objects Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

The new Tags Panel in Affinity Publisher allows you to add alt text to any image or object when exported to PDF for accessibility purposes. To use, just open the Tags Panel from the Window menu, select the image or object you want to add alt text to, and add your description in the box.

Alt Text Source

As well as adding your own custom description to any object, you can also choose to scrape the alt text from the Title, Description or Headline meta data which may be embedded within the image in question.

Mark as Decoration

You also have the option to ‘Mark as Decoration’. This means no image description will be exported or used by screen readers as the item is purely there for decorative purposes rather than important to the understanding of the document. Marking as a decoration is primarily used to positively tag an image as not needing a description, so it’s not flagged in preflight.


Options have also been added in preflight to make it easy to check your document for any missing alt text should you wish. When creating or editing a profile, you will see a new section for alt text. Here you can choose whether you want preflight to return a warning if images, placed documents or vector objects do not have alt text added (or marked as decoration).


There is now a new ‘Tagged PDF’ option in the advanced section of PDF export. This is required to be checked if you wish to export your PDF, including any tags you have added.

Change Asset Panel background colour Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

You can now choose whether you want the background of the Asset Panel to be light, dark, checkerboard or automatic based on your current Light/Dark UI setting. This behaves in the same way as changing the background colour used for layer thumbnails, and is primarily to help you achieve greater contrast for the particular assets you’re looking at.

You can change the background colour from the burger menu at the top of the Assets Panel.

Fields in Find and Replace Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

In Find and Replace, fields are now available from the drop-down. This includes any custom text fields you have set up, making it easy to replace many instances of a text string within your document.

‘Keep selected’ preference in Pencil Tool Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

When using the Pencil Tool, the behaviour has always been that after drawing any curve, that curve is then selected. After many requests for an option to change that behaviour so the newly created curve is not selected, we’ve added a ‘Keep selected’ preference. This is particularly useful when you often want to change the colour or stroke width of the curve you create next without changing the properties of the curve you have just created.

On desktop, you can find this option in the context toolbar of the Pencil Tool (‘Keep selected’ checkbox, default value is ‘on’ as per current behaviour).

On iPad, the option is represented with the below icon (again it‘s toggled ‘on’ by default).

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