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What’s new in Affinity?

This page details everything you need to know about new features and enhancements added to the apps.

These updates are free to anyone who already owns V2. You should automatically be prompted to update to the latest version of the software when opening your app, but if you’re having issues, please check out this article. For new customers, or those wishing to upgrade from V1 to V2, check out our purchase options.

Want to have your voice heard before the next update? Join our beta program!


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 gray, but you can customize the color and opacity of the pixel grid, along with the color 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 visualize its pixels. Moreover, using a different grid color can help when there is little color 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 the pixel grid is separate to the main grid, with options to turn either of them on or off as well as independently controlling 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 usable 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 color 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 color 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 color 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 behavior has always been that after drawing any curve, that curve is then selected. After many requests for an option to change that behavior 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 color 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 behavior).

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


Free update – September 2023

Version 2.2 introduces exciting new features and improvements across all apps and platforms, including cross-references, custom text variables, long press tool shortcuts, hide effects and grayscale view modes, OCIO v2 support, data entry options, and much more. Learn all about these additions below.

OCIO v2 support added Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

Great news for VFX, film and 3D artists – we have added support for OCIO v2 so config files including the more advanced features available in OCIO v2 can now be used.

Custom text variables in Publisher Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

Affinity Publisher now has the ability to define custom text variables as fields. This allows you to add new fields and assign whatever value to them you wish.

Within the Fields Panel, you will now see a new section for ‘Custom’. Within that there is a + button where you can add your own fields into your document, so any references to the price, name and date are drawn from the field values. For example, this means when the price and product name are confirmed, you can just update the field value and every instance of that will be updated throughout your document.

For iPad, custom fields can be found at the bottom of the Fields Panel. You can add fields using the ‘Add custom field’ button, and to edit the field, simply long press on it to view options in the flyout menu.

Additional keyboard shortcuts for pixel brush tools Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

Additional keyboard shortcuts have been added to all pixel-based brush tools (e.g. Paint Brush, Smudge, Sponge, Dodge, Burn, etc.):

  • Shift + number key now changes flow percentage (in the same way that number key on its own adjusts opacity)
  • Shift + square brackets now changes hardness in 10% increments
  • Number key in Paint Mixer and Smudge Brush now adjusts strength percentage
  • Fill with Primary color has now been set with a default shortcut of Alt/ + Backspace
  • Fill with Secondary color has now been set with a default shortcut of Ctrl/ + Backspace

An updated list of core brush shortcuts are shown below (those highlighted in red are the new additions):

Additional keyboard shortcuts for pixel brush tools

Action Windows macOS & iPad
Action: Decrease/increase brush size Windows: [ or ] macOS & iPad: [ or ]
Action: Decrease/increase brush hardness in 10% increments Windows: Shift + [ or ] macOS & iPad: Shift + [ or ]
Action: Switch to Eyedropper tool Windows: Alt drag macOS & iPad: drag
Action: Set opacity or strength Windows: Number keys (e.g. 0=100%, 3=30%, 6 and 5 in quick succession=65%). For most brush tools this sets opacity, for smudge and paint mixer this sets strength macOS & iPad: Number keys (e.g. 0=100%, 3=30%, 6 and 5 in quick succession=65%). For most brush tools this sets opacity, for smudge and paint mixer this sets strength
Action: Set flow Windows: Shift + Number keys (with same logic as opacity above). macOS & iPad: Shift + Number keys (with same logic as opacity above).
Action: Cycle through blending modes Windows: Shift + + or - macOS & iPad: Shift + + or -
Action: Set to specific blend mode Windows: Shift + Alt + (associated letter for blend mode) macOS & iPad: Shift + + (associated letter for blend mode)
Action: Display Fill dialog box Windows: Shift + F5 macOS & iPad: Shift + F5 (not available on iPad)
Action: Fill pixel layer / selection with Primary Color Windows: Alt + Backspace macOS & iPad: + Backspace (not available on iPad)
Action: Fill pixel layer / selection with Secondary Color Windows: Ctrl + Backspace macOS & iPad: + Backspace (not available on iPad)
Action: Draw straight line Windows: Shift-click macOS & iPad: Shift-click
Action: Switch brush cursor to cross hair Windows: Caps Lock macOS & iPad: Caps Lock (not available on iPad)
Action: Rotate brush nozzle Windows: Left or Right arrow keys (+ Shift to accelerate) macOS & iPad: Left or Right Arrow keys (+ Shift to accelerate)
Action: Select new brush without changing width Windows: Alt-click new brush in brushes panel macOS & iPad: -click new brush in brushes panel
Action: Select new brush ignoring any associated tool Windows: Shift + Alt-click new brush in brushes panel macOS & iPad: Shift + -click new brush in brushes panel
Action: Toggle between primary / secondary color Windows: X macOS & iPad: X (not available in iPad)
Action: Swap primary / secondary color Windows: Shift + X macOS & iPad: Shift + X (not available in iPad)
Action: Set primary / secondary color to black and white Windows: D macOS & iPad: D (not available in iPad)
Action: Indicate on screen drag of attributes Windows: Ctrl + Alt. Click-drag to adjust, single click to cycle between Width / Hardness, Shape / Spacing and Rotation macOS & iPad: Ctrl + . Click-drag to adjust, single click to cycle between Width / Hardness, Shape / Spacing and Rotation
Alt-click new layer automatically adds selection to that new layer Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

In the Layers Panel, if you Alt-click ‘Add new layer’ (-click on macOS/iPad) when you have a selection, all items in that selection are moved to the new layer created. In other words, this behaves like grouping, but rather than creating a group, it puts your selection into a new layer.

Additionally, for desktop versions, you will find a new option in the right-click menu for ‘Move Selection to New Layer’ which achieves the same thing. This makes it far easier to organize your work into layers, without having to create an empty layer first and drag the items you want into it.

Cross-references added to Publisher Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

The ability to insert cross-references from one part of a document to another—for example, ‘For more information, see page 24’—has been added to Affinity Publisher.

On desktop, cross-references are managed on the Cross-References Panel (Window > References > Cross-References). To access this feature on iPad, press the three-circle ellipse icon on the right-hand side toolbar and select the cross-references option.

To insert a cross-reference, create an insertion point in a text object, and then click ‘Insert Cross-Reference’ (the circled plus symbol) at the lower-right of the panel. Inserting a cross-reference is also available from the right-click menu when you are editing text. On the resulting dialog:

  • Select the cross-reference‘s target, which can be an existing anchor, paragraph or index marker
  • Specify the text to be displayed by the cross-reference
  • Optionally, apply formatting and limit the amount of quoted text displayed by any field you‘ve inserted into the display text.

Selecting a target

Use the upper part of the dialog to select a target. Choose the target‘s type (Anchor, Paragraph, or Index Marker) and then select the required target in the list below.

If too many targets are listed, use the Filter text and Filter style options to limit what‘s listed based on target text and/or paragraph style.

Specifying what a cross-reference displays

The Text option specifies what your cross-reference will display. This can be a simple attribute of the target, such as its page number or quoted text, or you can enter complete phrasing into the box, e.g. ‘For further information, see 'Deciduous varieties' on page 264’.

Click the downward-pointing arrow at the field‘s upper-left corner to insert an attribute of the target or a commonly used special character.

Using presets

Phrases can be saved as presets for use across all your documents. Presets also ensure your cross-references adhere to a publication‘s style guides.

Fields in cross-references are automatically hyperlinked to their target when you export to PDF.

Limiting quoted text

Character style and other formatting options in the lower part of the dialog become available when the insertion point is immediately before or after a field, or when a text selection encompasses a field. (If more than one field is selected, the formatting options affect only the first one.)

The Page Number, Above/Below and List/Note Number fields display the corresponding attribute‘s value in full. All other fields display text that might be lengthy, such as a full paragraph. Use the ‘Limit displayed length’ option to restrict them to a sensible amount of text.

Quoted text can be limited to a number of words or the first instance of an ‘end character’, whichever occurs first. You can also choose whether to include an ellipsis or encountered end character in your cross-reference.

More about the Cross-References Panel

When you insert a cross-reference to a paragraph, Affinity Publisher creates an anchor at the paragraph’s start and uses that as the target. You can rename the anchor, if you wish, via the Anchors Panel.

The Source Spread option allows you to narrow the scope of cross-references listed on the panel, e.g. to the current spread or a specific spread.

With the insertion point at a cross-reference or target in document text, options at the foot of the panel allow you to instantly focus the document view on its counterpart.

Finally, changes to a document may result in out-of-date values in cross-references. For example, changing pagination, section names, or paragraph text at a target. The foot of the panel also includes options to update them individually or all at once.

‘Hide effects’ and ‘grayscale’ view mode options in Publisher and Designer Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

In Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher, you can now choose to toggle your view to hide all layer effects or switch to grayscale. Being able to hide layer effects in this way is particularly important for those creating very complex designs with thousands of layers and effects – having a view mode where effects can be turned off greatly improves performance as you work.

Toggling to grayscale mode can also be useful to evaluate contrast and dynamic range more easily.

On desktop, you will find these new options in the View Mode options, and on iPad you can toggle them using the buttons next to the View Mode options in the navigator.

Additionally, on desktop we have created new buttons you can optionally add to your toolbar to make it more convenient for those who want to toggle between these views regularly. You can find these by right clicking on top toolbar and selecting “Customise Toolbar” and drag either of them on where you see fit.

Change guide color Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

There is now an option in the guide manager to change the color of your guides. On desktop, you can set this by going to guide manager (View -> Guides… or double-click on any guide) and find the color preference in the bottom left-hand side of the dialog.

On iPad, the color setting is available from the ring towards the top of the Guides Panel (available from the View drop-down menu or again by double tapping on a guide).

Long press tool shortcuts Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

Holding onto any tool shortcut will now just put you in that tool temporarily until you release the shortcut key, at which point you will return to your previous tool. So for example, when you are using the Pen Tool, you could hold V to change to Move Tool to move your curve, and then on release be immediately back in Pen Tool. Another useful example would be when in Brush Tool, you could hold E to put you in Eraser and release to toggle back to Brush Tool.

Custom date formats available in Publisher Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

You can now apply your own custom formats to any date fields. Simply right-click on the field / long press on iPad and choose ‘Edit Field’ for the option to switch between preset formats, or include your own custom format.

There is a lot of flexibility with this – see the full list of available format date field characters below:

Custom date formatting

Symbol Meaning Pattern Example Output Notes
Symbol: G Meaning: Era designator Pattern: G
Example output: AD
Anno Domini
Symbol: y Meaning: Year Pattern: y
Example output: 2023
Symbol: Q Meaning: Quarter Pattern: Q
Example output: 2
2nd quarter
Symbol: M Meaning: Month in year Pattern: M
Example output: 9
Symbol: L Meaning: Standalone month in year Pattern: L
Example output: 9
Notes: Some languages use a different spelling of the month in certain contexts, e.g. when a month is mentioned without a date and year. These spellings can be accessed using these patterns. For example, in Polish MMMM displays `Lipca` for July, whereas LLLL displays `Lipiec`.
Symbol: w Meaning: Week of year Pattern: w Example output: 27 Notes: Consecutive instances of the symbol add a leading zero to the resulting value.
Symbol: w Meaning: Week of month Pattern: W Example output: 2 Notes: Consecutive instances of the symbol add a leading zero to the resulting value.
Symbol: d Meaning: Day in month Pattern: d
Example output: 2
Symbol: D Meaning: Day of year Pattern: D
Example output: 1
Notes: Example is 1st of January.
Symbol: F Meaning: Day of week in month Pattern: F Example output: 2 Notes: Example is second Wednesday in July. Consecutive instances of the symbol add a leading zero to the resulting value.
Symbol: E Meaning: Day of week Pattern: E
Example output: Tue
Symbol: e Meaning: Local day of week Pattern: e
Example output: 2
Notes: When the field's language is set to US English, Monday is day 2 as the week starts on Sunday, whereas for UK English it is day 1 as the week starts on Monday.
Symbol: a Meaning: AM or PM Pattern: a
Example output: PM
Symbol: B Meaning: Flexible time periods Pattern: B Example output: at night Notes: Possible values are in the morning, noon, in the afternoon and at night.
Symbol: h Meaning: Hour in day (1–12) Pattern: h
Example output: 7
Symbol: H Meaning: Hour (0–23) Pattern: H
Example output: 7
Symbol: k Meaning: Hour number in day (1–24) Pattern: k
Example output: 4
Symbol: K Meaning: Hour in am/pm (0–11) Pattern: K
Example output: 4
Symbol: m Meaning: Minute in hour (0–59) Pattern: m
Example output: 8
Symbol: s Meaning: Second in minute (0–59) Pattern: s
Example output: 3
Symbol: z Meaning: Short/Long Timezone Pattern: z
Example output: BST
British Summer Time
Symbol: o Meaning: Time Zone: short localized GMT,
Time Zone: long localized GMT
Pattern: o
Example output: GMT-8
Symbol: V Meaning: Time Zone: short time zone ID,
Time Zone: long time zone ID,
Time Zone: time zone exemplar city,
Time Zone: generic location
Pattern: V
Example output: gblon
United Kingdom Time
Symbol: ' Meaning: Escape character to include literal text Pattern: 'Today is' EEEE Example output: Today is Tuesday Notes: Surround literal text with apostrophes to display it alongside date and time values in a field.
Symbol: ' ' Meaning: Two single quotes produce one Pattern: 'Today''s date is' dd/MM/yyyy Example output: Today’s date is 03/07/2023 Notes:
All supported image files now available from File -> Open in Publisher Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

Previously, Publisher only gave options to open document file types from File -> Open. There have been a number of requests to extend this to allow image files to be opened in that dialog, especially for those who now directly edit images and other graphics work using the StudioLink functionality in Publisher, so this has now been added.

‘Find and Replace’ now includes scope and result count in Publisher Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

The Find and Replace Panel in Publisher now includes the ability to limit the scope of the search to document, current spread, current story and current selection. Also included is a result count to quickly show the number of instances your search criteria fulfils.

For iPad, the scope option is available from the Cog button to the left of the search field, with result count appearing on the right.

Go to previously viewed spread in Publisher Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

There is now a new option to go to your previously viewed spread in Affinity Publisher. So, for example, if you are on page 30 and then go to page 400 to edit something, clicking on ‘Previously Viewed Spread’ in the Document menu will jump you back to page 30 (and hitting again will jump back to page 400 – so you can switch between the two pages quickly).

You can also set a keyboard shortcut for this using the new button with the rest of the page navigation options in the bottom left of the UI.

On the iPad version you can find this option at the bottom of the View menu.

‘Create symbol’ option added to Layer menu in Designer Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

Assign a shortcut* with the new ‘Create Symbol’ option, now available from the Layer menu in Affinity Designer. In the case of the iPad version, this isn't a menu item, but is available to set as a shortcut. You can find it under Settings -> Shortcuts -> Commands.

*default shortcut when in Designer Persona is Ctrl + Shift + K (Windows) / + Shift + K (macOS and iPad)

Additional options when creating indexes in Publisher Available on both desktop and iPad

Windows, macOS and iPad

On the Index Panel, you‘ll find new options that provide increased control over the presentation of index entries.

In addition to being able to customize the words that precede cross-references within an index, six new options are available: After Topic, Between Items, Between Ranges, Before References, After References, and After See (Also).

Inserting special characters

Commonly used special characters are easily inserted into your custom separator text. On desktop, click the arrow at the left of the box. On iPad, tap the Insert icon at the top left of the on-screen keyboard.

Special characters can also be inserted using your operating system's feature for typing emoji and symbols, or by copying and pasting.

Object creation data entry Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

In any of the shape tools, picture frame tools and artboard tools, you can now Ctrl+click (Windows) / +click (macOS) to bring up a dialog to manually specify the size and other properties of the object you want to create. The new object will be created in the position that you clicked, and you have the option in the dialog to change whether that position relates to a specific corner, side or the center of the shape being created.

Each tool will remember the settings of the last time you created that shape.

Some additional notes about this feature:

  • When the dialog is up, you can commit by clicking OK, hitting Return / Enter or clicking anywhere else on the document
  • You can cancel by clicking Cancel or hitting Esc
  • You can click-drag on any of the labels in these dialogs to change the values (so here you could click-drag on the ‘Width:’ label for example)
  • Hover + mouse roll over the values also changes them (along with Shift or Alt modifiers to increase / decrease steps made by a factor of 10)
  • If you create a shape by dragging it out on your document, that will also set the W+H for the next time you Ctrl / + click.
Move data entry Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

When in the Move Tool—as well as other object creation tools such as shapes, picture frames and artboard—pressing Return or Enter will now show a new dialog, which will allow you to specify the precise distance that you want to move your current selection.

You can also choose to duplicate an object to the new position and specify how many copies of it you want to make.

You will get a live preview of your result as you are adjusting any of the values. You can choose to cancel the operation with the Cancel button (or Esc), commit with the OK button (or Return / Enter) or simply click off the dialog.

The dialog will remember its previous values the next time you bring it up, meaning you can move multiple objects one by one by the same amount (for example, in a case where items are on different spreads / artboards or in other cases where achieving a multiple selection of them to begin with is difficult). A Reset button is also available to quickly zero all the values in the dialogs to start from scratch.

As well as manually typing the values in, you can also change them by click-drag on any of the labels or by using the mouse roller when hovering over any of the input boxes.


We’ve also added the option of Rotation to this feature. This makes it easy to rotate an object by a specific amount and also opens up some useful options when used in combination with ‘duplicate’.

Tip: Try playing with rotation and distance steps on duplicates for various effects.

‘Delete Node’ added to right-click menu Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

The right-click menu available when in Node Tool (or while holding / Ctrl in Pen Tool) now has the additional option of deleting the node. Both delete methods (standard delete or ‘Fit to Curve’ delete) are available from this menu. The ‘Fit to Curve’ option gives you the same result as pressing Alt/ + Delete.

‘Select All on Current Layer’ option now available Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

From the Select menu, you will find a new option of ‘Select All on Current Layer’ with a default shortcut of Shift+Ctrl+A on Windows and Shift++A on macOS.

This was requested as a quick way to achieve the same result of unchecking ‘Edit all layers’ in Layers Panel and doing Select All. A good example would be if you want to select everything on an artboard, you can now just click on the artboard label and hit Shift+Ctrl / +A.

Grid presets and favorite fonts now sync between apps on device Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

We have added another couple of requested settings which are sync'd between your Affinity apps (on the same device):

  • Favorite fonts – any fonts you mark as favorite (heart icon in fonts list) will now be shown in your favorite list in all apps
  • Grid presets – any grid presets you save will now sync
Data merge in Publisher now allows fields to set URLs, file locations, emails and anchors Available on desktop only

Windows and macOS

You can now include URLs, file locations, email addresses and anchors in your data merge dataset and use those fields to create an active link in your merged result.

You can then set up a data merge layout using those fields, and once you’ve done that, you can select the <Twitter Handle> field and ‘Insert Hyperlink’. When you insert a hyperlink in a data merge document, you will get an additional option to take the URL from a data merge field, which will activate a drop-down to select which field you want the URL to come from.

You can also do the same with a link type of email and set that to = the <email address> field. Then when you generate the merged result, the hyperlinks will dynamically generate to be correct for the record in question.


Choose a data merge field link to anchor in your document or create anchors from your data. This gives powerful options enabling you to have links from one record to another.

Decimal place accuracy preferences added to iPad Available on ipad only


iPad versions of all apps now have the preferences available on desktop versions to set the decimal place precision of different unit types. We expect these preferences to be reflected in all areas of the UI; for example, if you set mm to be three decimal places, then in the Transform Panel, sliders and all other controls, you should now see any values in mm to three decimal places. This should also be shown when you go to edit any values using the single tap - calculator on any field.

‘Prefer to keep selection’ preference added to iPad Available on ipad only


All iPad versions now have the preference available to keep selection after delete. This option (which was already available in the desktop versions) determines whether the next object in your layer stack is automatically selected or not after deleting an object.


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 behavior 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 analyze your selection and work out all the areas available to fill
  3. Choose your fill color – select what color you wish to fill your areas with from the Color or Swatch Panel
  4. Click in any of the available areas to fill with your chosen colors

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 color 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 color 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 recognized, 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 customized 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
Color 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
Color 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
Color 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 center
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 rasterize 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 customized 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 -> Customize 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 customization option in Affinity Photo (View -> Customize 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 colored 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 Color 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 color 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 customized 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 behavior ‘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 color 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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