Skip to main content
We no longer support Internet Explorer. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience. Find out more.

Cool rotations and transforms in Affinity 2.2

Andy gives a refresher on transforming objects and introduces a new 2.2 feature called Move Data Entry—a cool way to reposition, rotate and duplicate one or more objects—all controllable via a dialog.

Up to the V2.1 release, Affinity desktop apps have used either on-page controls or a dedicated Transform panel to rotate, reposition and resize objects.

(A) Rotating using the object’s Rotation handle, (B) dragging the object to a new position ‘by eye’, (C) precise positioning via the Transform panel

Introducing Move Data Entry

In the Affinity V2.2 release, a new transform feature for desktop apps called Move Data Entry lets you not only move (offset) and rotate objects via a Move / Duplicate dialog, but additionally duplicate objects out to a configurable number of copies. Any selected object can be affected by pressing the Enter key.

The feature offers a live on-page preview of the expected rotation, transform and duplicates before committing your transform via the dialog. Adjust any setting and the preview updates accordingly.

The Move / Duplicate dialog showing a preview of transformed objects

Duplicating shapes

Typically, shapes can be duplicated to create repeating sequences of shapes vertically (shown), horizontally and/or at any angle.

Vertical run of semi-transparent triangles

For complete or semi-complete ring patterns, the object’s Transform Origin can be repositioned so the duplicated shapes will orbit around the new origin’s position. The Transform Origin option is located on the Move Tool’s context toolbar.

Ring of transformed rectangles representing current speed on a speedometer

Is this power duplicating?

Affinity apps still support the Power Duplicate feature, using cmd+J (Mac) or ctrl+J (Windows) after duplicating and repositioning the initial object, but there are big advantages when using Move Data Entry, i.e.

  • You avoid having to duplicate objects one-by-one, especially when many duplicates are required.
  • You set the number of duplicates in advance of creation, to potentially many hundreds of copies.
  • The preview lets you experiment with settings without having to commit to them until you’re ready.
  • You don’t need to perform potentially laborious undo operations.
  • Previous transform settings can optionally be remembered.

Duplicating curves

Curves and straight lines can be duplicated as well as shapes. When unfilled, curves can create very pleasing overlapping wave-like patterns. Here are a few examples that show this off well.

A selection of curve-based transforms created with Move Data Entry

Alternatively, if you choose to apply a fill to a curve you can create interesting overlapping effects on duplication, especially if you are using blend modes on curves.

Duplicated curves in a star design without blend mode applied (left) and Colour Burn blend mode applied (right)

Using symbols when rotating and transforming

Symbols are a core feature in Affinity Designer, especially when creating mockups across different artboards. Objects can be symbolised so that any subsequent changes to them can be synchronised across every instance of the object instantaneously.

When using symbols and Move Data Entry, you can edit transformed symbolised objects at any point as long as the object is made a symbol before using Move Data Entry. This offers unlimited design variation and powerful design control.

Reshaping a symbolised triangle with the Node Tool in a ring of symbolised triangle shapes; the middle and right examples show design variants.

Working with groups

So far the suggestion is that you can only duplicate individual objects. In reality, you can transform any group of objects using any transform operation including Move Data Entry.

Using symbols mentioned above you could also consider symbolising just specific objects in your group prior to duplicating so you can rework just those objects independently of others.

Speedometer mockup with the purple 10km/h interval markers edited from a symbolised line as part of a group of nine other 1km/h markers

How Move Data Entry works

The Move Data Entry feature is available in any Affinity desktop app when you press the Enter key when one or more objects are selected. The dialog displayed offers self-explanatory options but the key is to try combinations of settings.


In conclusion, I hope you’ve enjoyed the article. Have fun with this feature, especially using rotation and duplicate copies around a repositioned transform origin.

To give you some inspiration, the example below shows some of the transforms discussed as a part of a more complete project.

Documentation manager

Andy manages our software documentation here at Serif and is our chief technical writer. In-between falling off his bike cycling into work, he keeps himself busy ensuring all our apps have up to date and accurate help content, and is editor-in-chief of our stunning Affinity Workbooks.