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Viewing and previewing—hidden features

Andy uncovers a few hidden gems while viewing and previewing Affinity documents.

Let’s look at several features that you may not realise Affinity desktop apps support. Some are available only via modifiers, some are modestly hidden in the UI, while others are best achieved by combining operations in a particular order.

Isolating (Soloing)

A really cool way of displaying just one specific object or layer is to isolate (solo) it. The remaining objects on your page will be temporarily hidden to leave a less distracting clutter-free background.

In all instances, isolating lets you more easily focus on an object, for both review and editing.

  • With the alt key pressed, click a target thumbnail on the Layers Panel. After editing/reviewing, click away from the layer to exit the isolation mode.

Some example uses:

  • Affinity Designer: To fully display a partly overlapped object.
  • Affinity Photo: To display a mask in isolation to be further modified.
  • Affinity Publisher: To select your main story’s text frame so you can edit it without other distracting page objects (below).

View points for storing pan/zoom settings

Hidden in the Navigator Panel of Affinity desktop apps are view points. These let you store a ‘view’, i.e. an area of your page that you’ve panned and zoomed to, so that you can reinstate that view at any time in the future. This is perfect if you’re working on a specific character in Affinity Designer (below), an area being digitally restored in Affinity Photo or to a specific area of a long document’s page in Affinity Publisher.

  1. Use the Move and Zoom tools to set the working area and zoom level.
  2. On the Navigator Panel, click Preferences, then Advanced.
  3. Click the cog icon, then click Add. You can give the view a meaningful name from the same menu.


Previewing your work is an important step prior to exporting. In Affinity apps, you can display your design perfectly centered to the entire screen width—all without UI clutter.

  • Go to full screen, press tab (to hide the user interface), then Zoom To Fit using cmd+0 (Mac) or ctrl+0 (Win).

I hope you’ve found these ‘discovered’ features to be useful. Why not try them out to see if they fit into your workflow?

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.

Credits & Footnotes

Artwork created by Johan Keslassy