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Exporting files using the Export Persona

This article will show you how to create, set up and export custom-made slices as well as slices created from layers, exploring some of the more commonly used file formats and looking into the benefits of using particular export formats and sizes.

An overview of the Export Persona

When you’ve got a file that’s ready to be exported in Affinity Designer or Photo, it’s easy to export the entire document’s page or spread area using the File menu’s Export dialog.

On the other hand, sometimes you’re looking to export just a specific section or layer of a document, or you want to export multiple sections simultaneously—this is where the Export Persona comes in handy.

The Export Persona is incredibly versatile, allowing you to create custom-made slices by dragging over an area, or create a slice directly from a selected object or layer. Default export settings can be set up for all slices, or each slice can use its own unique setup. Slices can be exported to multiple file formats and at multiple sizes simultaneously, with the Slices Panel giving you full control over what gets exported at any given time.

This flexible approach is particularly useful for documents containing a number of artboards or assets, such as icon sets, as well as UI and app design mock-ups.

Creating slices

Using the Slice Tool, you can create a custom slice by click-dragging over the area you want to export.

The area you’ve selected will be automatically added to the Slices Panel as a newly created slice.

The area the slice covers and its exact dimensions will be displayed on the document.

You can adjust a custom-made slice at any time by clicking to select it, then dragging to reduce or expand the area it covers.

You can also create a slice directly from one or more objects or layers in your document.

To do this, from the Export Persona’s Layers Panel, select one or more layer(s) to create slices from.

With your selection made, click Create Slice to create slices from your selected layer(s). Your newly created slices will be visible from the Slices Panel.

Adjusting export options

The Export Options Panel’s Default Mode allows you to determine a default format to use when exporting files, while Selection Mode lets you set up a different set of export settings for individual selected slices created in the Slices Panel, giving you complete control over your exports.

Available settings in the Export Options Panel will vary depending on the Preset—or file format—you have selected.

When default export settings have been entered via the Export Options Panel’s Default Mode, any future created slices will use those settings.

Choosing file formats

From the Export Persona, you can export multiple file formats for each slice simultaneously. You may be wondering which file format(s) it would be best to export your file to.

Depending on what your exported file(s) will be used for, you’ll have a range of file formats to choose from, each with its own pros and cons.

When choosing file formats for export, it’s important to consider:

  • How much space you will have to store the exported file(s)
  • How the file(s) will be stored, i.e., online or as an email attachment
  • If the file(s) will need to be versatile, able to be rescaled to a number of different sizes upon export.

Let’s look at a few commonly-used file formats and some of their advantages.

JPEG graphics are able compress images using a wide range of colours extremely effectively. They can be saved at a smaller file size, making them great for standard online graphics.

PNGs, on the other hand, support full transparency, making them perfect for images that need to retain transparent areas on export. PNGs are great at retaining fine details, making them the perfect file format for images with areas of high contrast, such as logos.

SVGs scale extremely well without losing any quality, and save a lot of space. This file format is particularly useful if you’re going to be storing a large number of vector graphics in a single place.

Setting up file formats for export

From the Slices Panel, you can see which file format each slice is set to be exported as by expanding the slice’s export setup options. This can be done by clicking the arrow button to the left of the slice.

To update an individual slice’s export format, update the preset listed in the menu.

When a new preset is selected, the Export Options Panel’s settings will automatically switch to correspond with the selected preset, allowing you to fine-tune the export settings for your selected slice.

Alternatively, you may wish to export your slice to multiple different file formats at the same time.

To add an additional export format for a slice, select the + button at the bottom of the slice’s listed export settings. From here, you can set up multiple file formats for the slice. The settings listed in the Export Options Panel will update each time you add a new file format.

Image density and DPI

Different devices have different screen sizes and resolutions, with some able to fit far more pixels into the same amount of screen space compared with others. You may wish to export your graphics at multiple resolutions to fit different display types.

When exporting slices via the Export Persona, a number of export sizes will be listed on the Slices Panel with the slices’ export setup options expanded.

The slice export size (1x, 2x, 3x, etc.) corresponds with your document’s DPI, with the exported document’s dimensions and DPI increasing based on the export size selected, creating a higher resolution graphic.

The example above shows the same graphic exported using three different pixel densities, showing the amount of detail retained by each exported graphic. The 1x graphic will display better on low resolution screens, with the 2x and 3x graphics retaining the higher level of detail required by a higher definition display.

Slices can be exported at multiple file sizes simultaneously. To add an additional export size, from the Slices panel, select the + button beneath the export size listed on the expanded entry, then adjust the settings for the newly added export size.

Exporting slices

Slices can be exported individually from the Slices Panel by selecting the Export icon to the right of the slice. You can choose to export just a specific export format or size using this method as well.

Alternatively, you can export all checked slices in the Slices Panel by selecting the Export Slices button.

The number of slices to be exported will be listed in brackets on the button.

To deselect any individual slices, export formats, or export sizes from the export, simply uncheck them from within the Slices Panel.

The number of slices listed on the Export Slices button will update accordingly as slices are selected or deselected.

When you’ve selected the slices you wish to export and selected Export Slices, a browser window will be displayed, allowing you to select a location to save your exported slices to.

When you are happy with your chosen export location, choose Export.

The Slices Panel’s Continuous option will become available once exports have been made to a specified location. Continuous export is a huge time saver for files that may need a number of adjustments, such as game design assets.

With this option checked, slices from the Slices Panel will automatically be re-exported if any content within those slices is modified, keeping them up to date in the specified export location at all times.