I'm hearing alot of things about Affinity Publisher lately. First client today explicitly mentioning they would rather have their stuff done in AP instead of ID.

Asking from a long-term, well experienced InDesign user perspective, what does InDesign have that is (still) missing from Affinity Publisher?

Can it be considered a working replacement for print & digital work, can it handle large-volume jobs, eg. 100 page catalogues in 15 languages?


2 Answers 2


A big thing is missing. InDesign has supported a long time making Accessible (see NOTE1) PDFs. Affinity Publisher has no support for it, one must convert the PDF to accessible. I guess some bad words will appear if the whole conversion must be repeated after an edit in A.Publisher.

The problem is significant because in EU at least all public PDFs created with state or city funds must be accessible. That covers for.ex. schools, universities, authorities, public services and anything which is paid by them.

Fortunately it doesn't cover all archived stuff.

NOTE1 Accessibility means certain visibility things (=colors, sizes) and machine readable structure of PDF. Term PDF/UA covers the machine readability things. It's not a new PDF format, only a restrictive set of rules how PDFs should be constructed internally. I guess software developers work hard to make PDF/UA construction possible in layout design programs. I have seen some serious attempt in Adobe InDesign, OpenOffice Write and MS Word. Adobe has been in the game at least 8 years. Adobe Acrobat Pro and Foxit PhantomPDF Business have some serious attempt to support Accessibility building, checking and fixing for PDFs.

  • 2
    And for people who make print content, no footnotes is pretty bad too. Aug 12, 2020 at 18:47

A Client asking for AP! To add to the things other pots mention:

  • no support for spreads of more than 2 pages,

  • text cannot span columns,

  • when copying & pasting coloured elements swatches are not included,

  • converting between process, global and spot colours is awkward

  • defaults - setting both application and document defaults are clunky and/or missing

    (stroke, for example, is set to 0.2pt). I have seen a few threads relating to problems with print output, colour fidelity & overprint in particular.

More minor but irritating:

  • Panels do not collapse,
  • clunky find & change font,
  • no warning when deleting/removing in use styles and colours or selecting unused
  • Object styles (in the InDesign sense) missing,
  • inability to switch between area and point type..

For smaller jobs, I'd consider it, but if you have access to InDesign and the polish that goes with years of application development I would definitely use InDesign. Long jobs like the one you are considering in Publisher would be a frustrating and lengthy exercise for me.

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