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Utilising view modes in Affinity apps

Affinity’s view modes are a great way of previewing your output and exploring the structure of your designs. Find out which Affinity apps they’re best used in.

View modes are useful design aids that allow you to visualise your project in different ways. Andy explores which Affinity apps make use of them, how they can be used and uncovers some cool view mode features along the way.

View modes in Affinity Designer

For graphic design apps such as Affinity Designer, view modes are important in the design process. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do.

Preview your project output

Instead of exporting your vector design to a file to check the output, you can preview it as pixel (1x) or pixel Retina (2x)/High DPI output. This saves unnecessarily exporting temporary graphics just to check them.

A vector design shown in pixel and pixel Retina view modes, accessed from the app's Toolbar

Irrespective of output, you can check your designs at any time, i.e. vector vs pixel, or pixel vs pixel Retina).

Use wireframe modes

Viewing your vector artwork using wireframe modes displays the design in ‘skeletal’ form, either as unfilled (called Outline) or semi-transparent (X-Ray). With Outline, no strokes or fills are shown, only the objects’ outlines; X-ray shows the original objects’ fills as semi-transparent so you can visually reference the wireframe design against the design in its usual view.

Why use wireframes? They’re a perfect aid for selecting objects in very complex designs more easily, e.g. when objects overlap significantly or have large stroke widths. Without it, it may be very tricky to see and therefore target an object’s outline for selection easily.

A photo-realistic complex vector design shown in X-ray and Outline view modes; access from the app's Toolbar

When vector warping, either wireframe mode will also reveal the unwarped outline of the objects you warped. Again, this helps selectability and subsequent editing.

Heavily warped text showing its unwarped selectable outline

Edit CAD drawings

Using Hairline view mode, you can view an opened or placed DWG/DXF file as if viewing natively using a CAD app. Line weights are suppressed so drawings look as they should—and can be edited if needed.

A CAD DWG drawing shown opened (left) and with Hairline view mode applied (right)

View modes in Affinity Publisher

In comparison to Affinity Designer, view mode usage in Affinity Publisher is less focused on ‘vector - wireframe’ views but more on output checking and CAD work as described above.

In particular, you can preview your page layouts as pixel (1x) or pixel Retina (2x) versions as if your document was exported to PDF. This lets you see how the exported PDF will be presented on various mobile devices, such as Kindle readers.

Checking text using pixel and pixel Retina view modes in readiness for PDF output to Kindle devices.

View modes in Affinity Photo

As Affinity Photo is a raster-based photo-editing app that works in pixels rather than vectors, there’s no requirement for view modes in Affinity Photo.

How to access view modes in Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher

If you’re looking to give view modes a try, you’ll find the feature in the following locations:

  • Designer desktop: Toolbar or View>View Mode
  • Publisher desktop: View>View Mode
  • All iPad apps: Navigator panel

In Affinity, all view modes can also be viewed in Greyscale or with No Effects.