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

Search smarter with new Find and Replace Panel features in Affinity Publisher 2

Are you responsible for subediting a publication? The improved Find and Replace Panel is reason enough to update your app. Previously it searched all of a document. Now you can limit it to a precise part.

Gone is the hassle of trying to find a few results among many more. The new Scope setting provides six searchable scopes for focusing the Find and Replace Panel on a portion of a document.

The first option, Document, provides the same document-wide search results as in earlier versions of Affinity Publisher. The other five options are all new, so let’s take a closer look at them.


To use the Section option, you’ll need to have divided your document into smaller parts using the Section Manager, which is accessed on the Pages Panel.

When using the Section scope, all text across a specific and contiguous range of pages is searched, including any header or footer inherited from a master page, as indicated here by blue boxes.

Searching by section helps you to work through documents in smaller, more manageable chunks.

Sections might equate to individual chapters, but ultimately it’s your call on what they represent.

Sections might be groups of related, consecutive chapters that form a thematic ‘Part’ or groups of 10 pages that you can subedit more comfortably, for example.

Spreads and Pages

The Spread and Page options are exactly as they sound, allowing you to pinpoint matching text within a specific area.

The Page scope limits search results to the current page. Again, this includes any text that comes from an applied master page.

If there are multiple text objects on the current spread or page—body text, captions, artistic text, headers and footers—they’ll all be searched, including text objects inherited from master pages, but you won’t see results from anywhere else in your document.

Knowing which is the current page

When searching a section, spread or page, Affinity uses the current page to identify where to search. There are various ways you can do this.

The current page is highly likely to be the one you’re looking at in the document view, and so the most immediate method is to simply click/tap on the page, being careful not to affect content.

If the current tool will create an object when you do this, another new feature in Affinity Publisher 2.2 is helpful. Hold the V key to temporarily select the Move Tool, click/tap the page, and then release the key to switch back to your previous tool. This even works on iPad when using a hardware keyboard.


Use the Story option to find text in a sequence of linked text frames. Only one of the linked text frames needs to be selected.

The Story scope searches all text frames linked to the selected frame, even across multiple pages, as indicated here by blue lines leading to earlier and later pages. All other text in the document is ignored.

This scope is suited to searching main text that flows across multiple pages. Any secondary text presented alongside—e.g. sidebars, captions, and even text inherited from master pages, such as headers and footers—is ignored.


Setting the search scope to Selection allows you to find text in specific objects or text ranges. You might want to locate a term in a specific newspaper story, for example.

The Selection scope is highly flexible. You can search a single text frame, as indicated here, or objects across multiple pages. This scope can also search within a text range, ignoring other text in the same object.

As an example, let’s take a technology article in which the acronym ‘RAM’ is used to fit a caption within a very limited character count. However, the publication’s style guide instructs to avoid using jargon, and to use the word ‘memory’ in this case.

If all your captions’ layers are named ‘caption’, simply select one, choose Select > Select Same > Name to quickly select them, and then use the Selection scope to swap out the unwanted term. The Preflight Panel will alert you if any changes have resulted in overset text.

Use find and replace with fields

Update to Affinity Publisher 2.3 or later and you’ll be able to use the Find and Replace Panel to find instances of fields and replace text with fields.

Soon you'll be able to find instances of custom fields in text and include custom fields in replacement text.

This includes custom fields you’ve added to the Fields Panel. You might use one to ensure a product name is consistent throughout a document, for example.

In a scenario like this, later changes to the value won’t even require the Find and Replace Panel. Instead, change it on the Fields Panel and Affinity will automatically update all instances of the field in your document.

Technical author

Alan is part of our technical authoring team and joined us from the world of magazines (MacUser), where he wrote up software techniques and worked on pioneering interactive digital editions. When he’s not neck-deep in page layouts, layer masks and adjustment layers, you’ll often find him digging through second-hand records for interesting sleeve artwork or gazing in wonderment at the graphical variety of Japanese video games.