Affinity Publisher desktop publishing app Beta launches

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 3, 2018
Updated • Sep 3, 2018

England-based Serif Ltd. released the first beta version of Affinity Publisher, a desktop publishing application for Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.

Affinity Publisher is a desktop publishing app that Serif tries to establish as a competitor to Adobe InDesign or Quark Desktop Publishing.

The beta version of the application is free to download and try. Please note that it is required that you create an account on the site before you can download the program to the computer. Accounts require an email address, name, and password, and it is necessary that the email address is verified as downloads are only unlocked after verification.

The final version of Affinity Publisher is months away according to Serif. Since it is beta, users should expect bugs and areas that are not fully polished yet. Users are encouraged to provide feedback and feature suggestions, and the company plans to integrate Publisher with the established Affinity applications Photo and Designer.

Affinity Publisher

The program has a size of about 270 Megabytes when you download it from the company website. It attempts to connect to a company IP address during setup; it is unclear what the connection does but it is not required for installation.

The program tries to connect to an IP address that is assigned to Serif on launch as well. Functionality does not seem to be impacted if you block all connection attempts.

While desktop publishing veterans may feel right at home when they launch the program for the first time, others may need an introduction or tutorial.

Serif published a series of tutorials on the company website that new users may find useful. Topics covered so far include styling text, placing images, an UI overview, document setup, or working with tables. The developer promises that new tutorials will be added in the coming weeks and months.

The program does not support Adobe InDesign projects at the time but import functionality is planned for future releases. In fact, users may notice that supported file types for imports are quite limited at this point in time. While PDF is supported, Microsoft Word or Excel are not among others.

Here is the teaser video of Affinity Publisher that Serif published.

A good place to get answers for questions that you may have is the official company forum.

The final version of Affinity Publisher will be a commercial program. The company's two other programs are both available for €54.99 for Windows (no subscription). It is likely that Affinity Publisher will be offered for the same price.

Closing Words

I have to admit that I cannot say much about the functionality that Affinity Publisher offers and how it compares to InDesign or Quark. Users who are interested in desktop publishing may check out the free beta version to find out about that. If you do, feel free to leave a comment below to share your experience.

Affinity Publisher desktop publishing Beta launches
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Affinity Publisher desktop publishing Beta launches
England-based Serif Ltd. released the first beta version of Affinity Publisher, a desktop publishing application for Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.
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  1. Karl said on January 29, 2019 at 5:15 am

    Great potential for Affinity Publisher. However the beta is causing me headaches so it is difficult to assess this software. Quite buggy so far and have given up on it for a while. Wish the company well and look forward to the final, and hopefully stable commercial version.

  2. ULBoom said on September 5, 2018 at 11:08 am

    May have no bearing on this app but Affinity Photo is excellent, pro grade features, steep learning curve for newbies, the mandatory persona environment is weird and unnecessary. Seems like Affinity Publisher may have a quirky personality, too.

    Otherwise, for something roughly similar, Libre Office runs well, simple to use, clean interface, no personality quirks.

  3. Tim Bonham said on September 5, 2018 at 2:10 am

    They have left all the users of their previous PagePlus for 25+ years hanging out to dry! Not even a way to import PagePlus files into this new version. What a poor way to treat your long-term customers.

    Why would anyone buy their new package, if this is the way they abandon their customers?

  4. charliebrownau said on September 4, 2018 at 4:58 am


    Why pay for this when we could instead use

    * Libre Office –
    * Scribus –

    Or something like Inkscape

    1. nubstik said on September 12, 2018 at 11:31 pm

      Might be because the apps you mention are meant to do completely different things.

  5. Herald5 said on September 3, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Wondering why almost everything these days is pushing for account creation. Any answers ?

    1. ams said on September 3, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      Some legit/beneficial reasons: the developers, especially during beta, are probably adding features / fixing bugs. They want (need) telemetry from any crash reports generated, want the ability to fast-track continual adoption of each newly-released version (achieved via autoupdates, or by calling mothership to check plus alerting user new version available)… and any telemetry harvested (only) at time of initial install would miss, would be blind to, factors like OS updates or other system changes which might be contributing to crashes.

      As for “email address, and must confirm/validate”, that opens a poetentially beneficial (potentially invaluable) communication vector between the devs and users. Reportage of “known issues” via email with each new release serves to heighten awareness and to reduce confusion plus extraneous bug tickets. Besides, and perhaps more importantly, statistically speaking… most free-on-board-during-beta users will never be heard from, not a peep, unless they are prompted/prodded.

    2. Crambie said on September 3, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      Same as why does nearly everything have telemetry, os, driver, browsers, extensions… and always on by default. It’s not really need 99% of the time except to be nosey. But as for downloading something like this that’s what throwaway email addresses are for.

  6. Clairvaux said on September 3, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    What an interesting software publisher ! Judging from the description alone, both the photo and design programs seem very, very attractive. The features and the way the products are explained make me think the developers are very talented people on several levels.

    Also, the price and selling method are perfect. A 55 €, one-time price is smack where it should be for such professional / prosumer products. The licence does not seem to have any petty restrictions. And there’s a free trial if you want. Thanks for the discovery.

    1. Crambie said on September 3, 2018 at 6:30 pm

      In my opinion they spread themselves too thin for a company of their size. Affinity Designer has hardly progressed since it was released 4 years ago with basic things still missing and “on the roadmap” never mind more advanced stuff. Of course the apps might still meet your requirements, depends what those requirements are and them not changing.

      They basically seem to release something, get the cash then move on to the next app/platform and neglect the rest.

      1. nubstik said on September 12, 2018 at 11:28 pm

        I’m a little late to the party, but here’s my take on it. I work as a UI designer, I do some regular graphics design on the side. I’ve got access to all the Adobe apps and also all the Affinity apps released thus far. I can freely choose which apps to use for what projects and I usually choose Affinity. They’re usually easier to work with, I can get what I have to do done much faster (even though I’ve got years of experience using Adobe,) and despite the fact that they may not have progressed as much as one would like and there’s some bugs I run into every now and again they’re still FAR less buggy than what Adobe has to offer. And when it comes to vector graphics or photo manipulation, there’s sadly no other competition right now, so I’d say let’s give these guys a break. I’m actually looking forward to what they will come up next and I hope they’ll prove worthy competition for Adobe.

      2. Clairvaux said on September 4, 2018 at 11:08 am

        Mmmm… so in fact, you’re saying their marketing is too good ? That’s a pity, because it’s alluring as shown.

  7. Anders said on September 3, 2018 at 11:06 am

    “Create account to download” just makes me skip it and not look back.

    1. Mark Hazard said on September 3, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      Me too.
      Why go to all that trouble for beta software?
      Then there is the “phone home” thing as well.

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