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5 game-changing new features in Affinity Designer 2

We have worked tirelessly to not only include many of the new features our customers have been asking for, but a whole host of usability and workflow improvements to make Affinity Designer more productive than ever before.

Let’s delve into some of the most notable new features in Version 2 and how to get the most from them.

1. Vector Warp

This hugely powerful and highly requested feature allows you to apply a non-destructive warp over any vector artwork or text using a range of fully customisable presets, including mesh, arcs, quad, perspective, fisheye, twists and bends.

When editing a warp, you get a super-fast live preview, even on complex illustrations, and the end result is a true vector you can go back and make changes to at any time. You can even apply multiple warp layers to the same object, which our Product Expert Matt demonstrates in this video.

Watch the demo:

Learn how to non-destructively warp your vector designs in real time, with no loss in layer structure.

2. Shape Builder Tool

As you might expect, the Shape Builder Tool allows you to add, subtract and create new shapes in a much easier and more interactive way than using Boolean operations alone. By simply dragging between segments to combine or holding a modifier to subtract, you can create some really interesting and useful shapes. This is one of our most frequently requested features for Affinity Designer and we’ve worked hard to make sure our version of it is both highly effective and intuitive to work with.

Watch the demo:

Add, subtract and intersect layers using the Shape Builder Tool to create unique shapes and designs.

3. Knife Tool

The Knife Tool is another highly requested addition we were keen to get in Version 2. It allows you to draw a freehand or straight cutting line through any shape, curve or text to break it into component parts with ease. A stabiliser enables you to cut with even greater precision, while scissor functionality allows you to click on any node or segment of a curve and split it.

Watch the demo:

Quickly slice through vector layers using the Knife Tool to enhance your designs, and use the Scissor Mode to quickly break curves.

4. Measure Tool and Area Tool

The new measure and area tools in Version 2 enable you to measure line lengths, segments, distances and areas of any objects to scale. The Measure Tool allows you to measure the distance between two points/objects, while the Area Tool allows you to determine the area, perimeter and any segment length of a closed shape. This is useful for a wide variety of projects, including architectural and interior planning, product design and mural making.

Measure Tool and Area Tool

5. DWG/DXF Import

If you use DWG or DXF CAD files in your design work, you’ll be pleased to know that you can import and edit these files inside Affinity Designer 2. On import, you have the option to change the DPI and background colour and override the line colour. You can also apply a drawing scale, remove hidden items, display entity handles, fit the model to your page and override the line weights, which is particularly useful when working with complex CAD files.

Watch the demo:

See how to easily import DWG and DXF CAD documents into Affinity Designer.

And that’s not all…

We’ve crammed many more new features into Affinity Designer 2, along with a raft of feature enhancements to make everyday tasks such as working with layers and applying effects even more intuitive. Here’s a quick run-down of our favourites that we really wanted to tell you about!

Revamp Layers Panel

We’ve made some big improvements to our Layers Panel. Groups and other nested layers are much easier to navigate. There are now handy layer icons, so you always know what layer types you’re working with at a glance. The drop areas have also been greatly improved, making it a lot clearer when you’re clipping, masking or reordering your layers. Available in desktop version only.

Quick Grid

Quick Grid allows you to quickly and efficiently replicate shapes, picture frames and text frames in the shape of a grid. This functionality has many different applications, but it is particularly useful for placing elements that need to be arranged in a standardised layout. Available in desktop version only.

Style Picker Tool

We’ve also added a new Style Picker Tool, which works in a similar way to the Colour Picker Tool, but allows you to copy and paste attributes such as Layer Opacity, Stroke, Fill, Layer Effects, Object Settings, Character Settings and Paragraph Settings. It provides a quick way to apply existing attributes to other areas within a design and can help you achieve a cohesive look throughout your work too. Available in desktop version only.

Quick bitmap fill

When working with shapes and fill layers, you can now drop bitmap images from files, assets or other layers directly onto the fill icon in the Context Toolbar or your selected object. Click-drag sets the scaling and rotation of the fill, with all changes happening instantly, in real time. Available in desktop version only.

Select Same/Select Object improvements

New functionality allows you to scope your selection based on your current artboard or from within your current selection. Select Same now has options for width, height and rotation, as well as to select hidden objects or not. Available in desktop version only.

X-Ray view

A new view mode shows the makeup of your work, which is particularly useful for selecting a specific curve or object within a complex artwork.

X-Ray view

Nominate key object

You can now nominate a key object to align to and subtract from as well as other functions.

Force scale everything

This new option in the Transform Panel allows you to override any individual scale settings so you can force all strokes, effects and fills to scale with whatever your currently selected object is set to.

Redeveloped Boolean operations

We’ve made some useful improvements to Boolean operations. Divide can now use an open curve to slice a shape or split another open curve. It can also punch out holes using a fully overlapping object.

Improved brush engine

You can now re-order nozzles by drag/drop and use any swatch for intensity brushes, including gradient and bitmap fills. There’s also a new distance controller and brush tip interpolation. Plus, the overall performance and accuracy of brushes has been improved.

Improved brush engine

Pencil Tool improvements

We’ve introduced a new straight-line mode and auto-close option to the Pencil Tool, the latter of which now allows you to automatically connect the final node with the first node by releasing the mouse button.

Multiple layer effects

You can now apply multiple instances of Outline, Inner Shadow, Colour Overlay, Gradient Overlay and Outer Shadow to the same object. Previously you could only apply them once.

Get 40% off Affinity V2 for a limited time!

To celebrate the release of Version 2, all Affinity apps—including Affinity Designer—are currently on sale with a substantial 40% launch discount!

You can buy them individually for macOS, Windows or iPad or purchase an Affinity V2 Universal Licence covering the entire suite on all platforms—which is very cost-effective for those wishing to purchase more than one app or the same app on multiple platforms. Whichever option you choose, it is a single one-off payment, no subscription.

The launch discount is available for a limited time, though. So don’t miss it—check out our purchasing options and buy Version 2 now at


Watch more tutorials

Head over to the Affinity YouTube channel and you’ll find a vast bank of video tutorials covering all the new features and core tools for each app. We’ll be posting new videos regularly, so make sure you’re subscribed to our channel to see the latest V2 demos, tutorials, tips and tricks and more.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Find out more about Affinity V2

More information about Affinity V2, including details of the new features and learning resources for each app, can be found here:

Spotlight editor

As editor of Affinity Spotlight Melanie oversees the stories, interviews and tutorials published on the site. Outside of work she enjoys travelling, reading crime thrillers, Pilates and dabbling in a spot of oil painting. Get in touch with Melanie if you would like to contribute or be featured on Affinity Spotlight.

Credits & Footnotes

Banner image artwork created by Mario De Meyer

X-Ray View screenshot artwork created by Marc Keeley

Brush engine screenshot artwork created by Eisuke Taki