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7 tips for working with text in Affinity Publisher

Dig into Affinity’s advanced features and you’ll find ways to work more efficiently with text. Here are some suggestions…

1. Quickly adjust font size

It’s only natural to reach for the context toolbar to adjust font size, but there’s an alternative on iPad: simply drag up or down from the Text Panel’s icon.

This adjusts the font size of the selected text, or the word at the insertion point. If the selection includes multiple font sizes, they’ll all become the same size.

2. Find text in fewer key presses

Spotted a word or phrase you want to change throughout a document? Select the text but resist the impulse to copy it to the Clipboard.

  • On desktop, press Cmd+F (Mac) or Ctrl+F (Windows).
  • On iPad, select Replace on the Edit menu.

Notice that Affinity automatically populates the Find box with the selected text. Just take care that your selection doesn’t include unwanted spaces or punctuation either side of the words you want to find.

3. Highlight invisible characters and other text marks

It can be helpful to draw attention to special characters and content in your text. This includes invisible characters such as em spaces and tabs, fields that display a title or product name, and index marks that denote what follows will appear in your publication’s index.

Affinity Publisher can highlight where these features have been used.

The various kinds of text mark can be independently shown or hidden. For example, to show invisible characters:

  • On desktop, select Text > Show Special Characters.
  • On iPad, select Special Characters on Toggle Preview Mode’s options menu.

Discover the full range of available text marks and how to toggle their visibility at

4. Take direct control of tab stops

The Paragraph Panel provides everything you need to position and align text to tab stops, but there’s another method that works directly on the page:

  • On desktop, select View > Show Text Ruler.
  • On iPad, select Text Rulers on Toggle Preview Mode’s options menu.

When a text frame contains a selection or an insertion point, you’ll see a text ruler along its top edge.

Creating a tab stop is as simple as clicking/tapping on the text ruler. Drag a tab stop to fine-tune its position.

A vertical line is shown below the dragged tab stop, which can help you to align the affected text to nearby content.

A tab stop’s settings can be edited in full with a Ctrl-click (Mac), a right-click (Windows) or a tap (iPad). You might find you never need to use the related part of the Paragraph Panel.

5. Create text styles from locally formatted text

Affinity provides a comprehensive dialog for creating text styles from scratch, but there’s an alternative method available that you might prefer.

Use the context toolbar and relevant panels to apply local formatting to text on the page, and then create a text style from that text.

This is especially helpful on iPad, on which the dialog takes over the whole screen and stops you observing changes as part of your overall design.

Select the formatted text, and then select Create Paragraph Style, Create Character Style or Create Group Style.

On desktop, these options are at the bottom of the Text Styles Panel. On iPad, reach them by tapping the arrow next to the text style at the top of the Text Panel and then tap +.

At this point you’ll see the dialog mentioned earlier, and it’ll be populated with the formatting of the selection. Simply name the text style and click/tap OK.

6. Use a speedy way to type special characters

Affinity Publisher’s Auto Replace feature, located in the Auto-Correct section of the app’s settings, can be used to reduce the effort required to type special characters.

Rather than pressing multiple keys on a hardware keyboard, or wasting time finding the correct on-screen key on iPad, Auto Replace allows you to type a short sequence of regular characters and have Affinity substitute the character you really want.

Notice that among Auto Replace’s predefined entries are some existing examples for typing things like copyright, trademark and registered trademark symbols.

Whether you want to type multiplication and division signs, degree celsius/fahrenheit symbols or something more niche, Auto Replace makes it a breeze.

7. Type or convert straight and typographic quotes

You might want Affinity Publisher’s Change straight quotes to typographic quotes setting enabled most of the time. What if you need to type straight quotes, though?

The setting affects straight quotes typed directly into document text, but not elsewhere in Affinity’s interface. Here are two scenarios in which this proves useful.

First, you can create auto-replacements that produce straight quotes. Affinity will change your specified character sequence to the corresponding type of straight quote but it won’t then change the result to a typographic quote.

Second, let’s say you’ve placed text from a writer into Affinity Publisher, edited it, and only then noticed it contains straight quotes.

You can type straight quotes into the Replace feature to find all of them in your document.

Stepping through the search results one at a time, replacing each with the correct opening or closing typographic quote one at a time, would be laborious. Careful examination of patterns in the text might massively speed up the process.

As a crude example, let’s say you’re working with English text in which all ‘opening’ straight double quotes are preceded by either a space or an opening round bracket.

You could find instances of these two-character sequences and replace them with left typographic double quotes. Then, search for remaining straight double quotes and replace them with closing typographic quotes.