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What’s new in Affinity 2.2?

Our second free major update to Affinity V2 introduces exciting new features and improvements across all apps and platforms. Here’s a rundown of the top five things you’ll want to know about in this latest release.

1. You can add cross-references in Publisher

The new cross-references feature in Affinity Publisher 2.2 allows you to refer readers from one part of a document to another, which is really useful if you need to support critical writing with additional information–‘See recipe on page 26,’ for example.

To help you get to grips with cross-references in Publisher, Ben explains how to use them with both paragraph text and anchors in this video:

Learn how to use cross-references with both paragraph text and anchors.

2. OCIO v2 support has been added to Photo

If you’re a VFX, film or 3D artist, this one is for you–we’ve added support for OCIO v2 to Affinity Photo, so config files including the more advanced features available in OCIO v2 can now be used.

You can learn more about OCIO v2 by reading: What is OCIO v2 and why does it matter?, and watching this tutorial, where James explains how to set up OpenColorIO in Affinity Photo.

Learn how to set up OpenColorIO in Affinity Photo with an OCIO configuration, and discover how the OCIO adjustment layer should be used.

3. You can add custom text variables in Publisher

Affinity Publisher now has the ability to define custom text variables as fields. This allows you to add new fields, such as price, name, date etc., and assign any value to them that you wish. For example, when the price and product name are confirmed, you can just update the field value and every instance of them will be updated throughout your document–saving you heaps of time!

Check out the What’s New page on our website to learn more.

Add custom text variables in Affinity Publisher

4. New data entry options are available in Designer

Object creation data entry

When working on desktop, you now have the ability to specify the dimensions of shapes, artboards and picture frames as you create them. Your new object will be created exactly where you clicked, and you have the option to change whether that position relates to a specific corner, side or the centre of the shape being created.

Move data entry

Also on desktop, when in the Move Tool, pressing Return or Enter will now show a new move/duplicate dialog, which will allow you to specify the precise distance that you want to move your current selection. You can also choose to duplicate an object to the new position and specify how many copies of it you want to make.

We’ve also added the option of Rotation to this feature. This makes it easy to rotate an object by a specific amount and also opens up some useful options when used in combination with ‘duplicate’.

Want to know more? In this video, Katy covers some practical and creative use cases for the two new data entry features.

Learn how to use the new data entry features for practical and creative design workflows.

5. We’ve made tons of workflow improvements

We continually strive to optimise the process of creating for our users, making additions and improvements to Affinity’s most popular tools with each update. Here are some of the workflow-enhancing upgrades you’ll find in Affinity 2.2.

Long press tool shortcuts

Holding onto any tool shortcut will now put you in that tool temporarily until you release the shortcut key, at which point you will return to your previous tool. This is really useful if you’re drawing with the Pen Tool and need to momentarily switch to the Move Tool to move a curve, or if you’re using the Brush Tool and want to quickly erase a section before continuing with your brushwork.

Change guide colour

There is now an option in the guide manager to change the colour of your guides, which can be handy for a number of reasons, including creating more contrast so your guide is easy to see over your document/design.

‘Hide effects’ and greyscale view modes

In Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher, you can now choose to toggle your view to hide all layer effects or switch to greyscale. Being able to hide layer effects in this way is particularly important for those creating very complex designs with thousands of layers and effects–having a view mode where effects can be turned off greatly improves performance as you work.

Toggling to greyscale mode can also be useful to evaluate contrast and dynamic range more easily.

'Hide effects' and greyscale view modes are available in Affinity Designer and Publisher 2.2.

Additional keyboard shortcuts for pixel brush tools

For even more fluid working, additional keyboard shortcuts have been added to all pixel-based brush tools (e.g. Paint Brush, Smudge, Sponge, Dodge, Burn, etc.):

  • Shift + number key now changes flow percentage (in the same way that number key on its own adjusts opacity)
  • Shift + square brackets now changes hardness in 10% increments
  • Number key in Paint Mixer and Smudge Brush now adjusts strength percentage
  • Fill with Primary colour has now been set with a default shortcut of Alt/⌥ + Backspace
  • Fill with Secondary colour has now been set with a default shortcut of Ctrl/⌘ + Backspace

‘Select All on Current Layer’ option now available

This was requested as a quick way to achieve the same result of unchecking ‘Edit all layers’ in Layers Panel and doing Select All.

‘Delete Node’ added to right-click menu

The right-click menu available when in Node Tool (or while holding ⌘ / Ctrl in Pen Tool) now has the additional option of deleting the node. Both delete methods (standard delete or ‘Fit to Curve’ delete) are available from this menu.

Alt-click new layer automatically adds selection to that new layer

In the Designer and Publisher Layers Panel, if you Alt-click ‘Add new layer’ (⌥-click on macOS/iPad) when you have a selection, all items in that selection are moved to the new layer created. This makes it far easier to organise your work into layers, without having to create an empty layer first and drag the items you want into it.

‘Create symbol’ option added to Layer menu in Designer

In Affinity Designer, you can now assign a shortcut with the new ‘Create Symbol’ option, available from the Layer menu. In the case of the iPad version, it is available to set as a shortcut under Settings -> Shortcuts -> Commands.

Find out more about Affinity 2.2

For a full list of new features and improvements, visit the Affinity website:

Haven’t got Affinity V2 yet?

If you’re a new customer or wish to upgrade from V1 to V2, check out our purchase options or sign up for a 30-day free trial.