Affinity Designer: interface explained for iPad

So when you’re comparing the interface on a Mac or PC vs. mobile like an iPad you’re going to see a few differences. The layout will look different, however, because affinity has a fully powered program that offers all the same features* on iPad as it does on Mac or PC, it becomes about understanding where to click, tap or look to achieve the same result. That said let’s break down the interface.

*as far as I can tell


So here we go with a basic breakdown of the interface on the iPad.

screenshot of a new blank document in affinity designer v2
8.5x11in document 1in border .25in bleed

As you can see here this is what a newly opened document would look like for Affinity Designer V2. This is a far cry from what people would be used to if opening a program on a PC or Mac 🖥. Let’s now look at where you would look if you wanted to use different tools.

screenshot of the toolbar location on affinity designer ipad v2
Toolbar ~ where you can control objects

Ok so if you are looking for the Toolbar (specifically object control options and design aids) you’re going to tap this little button here with the (…) three dots.

screenshot of the document menu and it’s options

So the things that would typically be in the menu are somewhat scattered but in terms of some of the file options, this is where you would look for them.

Screenshot of the toolbar section of Affinity Designer V2 on iPad

This is what the toolbar looks like and it is located along the top of the screen. This is where you will switch personas, different view modes as well as object control options, and the document settings.

Screenshot of the location of the Context Toolbar in Affinity Designer V2 for iPad
Context Toolbar

The context toolbar has been updated on version two and moved up to the top by the toolbar where it belongs. In the previous version, the context toolbar was in the bottom center of the screen, and I cannot speak for everyone, but I would always accidentally tap things I didn’t intend to causing all kinds of silly mistakes. The Context Toolbar is designed to change and adjust with added features depending on what tool or object you’re using. This keeps things relevant when working which is great.

Screenshot of the tools panel from Affinity Designer V2 on iPad
Tools Panel
Screenshot of the tools panel from Affinity Designer V2 on iPad
Tools Panel

This is the Tools Panel which is where you will find relevant tools to the current persona that you are working in.

Screenshot of the magnifying glass icon which is where you find Zoom options in Affinity Designer v2 for iPad
Zoom Options
Screenshot of an icon that looks like a windshield wiper called Toggle Preview Mode in Affinity Designer v2 on iPad
Toggle Preview Mode
Screenshot of the magnet icon and its options when open on Affinity Designer v2 for iPad

These three screenshots come from what consider to be the menu bar of Affinity Designer v2 on iPad. They are located on the top right side of the screen and allow you to adjust document settings, snapping, and quick zoom options.

Screenshot of the top half of the Studio Panel in Affinity Designer v2 for ipad
Studio Panel
Screenshot of the top half of the Studio Panel in Affinity Designer v2 for ipad
Stuidio Panel

These icons make up the studio panel along the right-hand side of your screen. This bar is where you’ll find your layers, swatches, and other tools that will let you edit and tweak the properties of selected objects.

A few more icons you should recognize before I leave you for today.

Pencil sketch of the what the icon looks like if you want to hide the UI in affinity Designer V2 for iPad
Hide UI

This hides all buttons and UI so if you all of a sudden can’t find your layers tap this.

An pencil drawing of the icon you use to close the open document in Affinity Designer V2 for iPad
Close the Document

This button takes you back to your main menu and closes the document you’re working on. you shouldn’t lose anything when that happens but always err on the side of caution.

Pencil drawing of the history button icon in affinity designer V2 for iPad

History button (if you want to jump back farther than a few steps use this it will pull up a longer history of your document)

Pencil sketch of the question mark icon in affinity designer v2 for iPad

The question mark will pull up what all the buttons are. So if you are unsure which tool to use click it and it pulls up the meanings of the icons.

For right now I hope this helps you all. I know that Affinity can be confusing for people who are new to the platform so I thought I would share my learning process and hopefully, we can all learn this together. If you have any other questions please feel free to shoot me an email and I will do my best to answer the question.

Thank you all and Happy Designing; till next time 💚

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