Part of the so-called "Affinity trinity", Affinity Publisher is Serif's answer to Adobe InDesign. The three apps work together beautifully thanks to the StudioLink feature, so you can edit images in Affinity Photo, create illustrations in Affinity Designer, and pull everything together in a gorgeous creation in Affinity Publisher.

For anyone who has worked with InDesign, there's good and bad news, and it's worth getting to grips with this sooner rather than later. While Affinity Publisher supports IDML, there is -- unfortunately – no INDD support. This means that it is possible to work with files in Publisher that you have created in InDesign, but it's not as seamless or as simple a process as many people would like.

With the bad news out of the way, let's focus on the good. Affinity Publisher has a great deal to offer and, like the rest of its stablemates, it delivers powerful tools with style. There is a massive undo history which gives you great flexibility for rolling back unwanted changes. It would be easy to overlook Publisher because of its association with Serif, but this really is a professional-level tool.

The beauty of Affinity Publisher is its flexibility. It will fit perfectly into professional print workflows, and preflight alerts will draw potential problems to your attention before it is too late. There's support for smart master pages and although there are no templates bundled with the software to help you get started, it is possible to save your own files as templates for speed up the creation of subsequent documents. Publisher does, however, include a number of sample documents that help to give an idea of what it is capable of.

When it comes to dealing with text, there is OpenText support and handy options such as text on a curve. As for images, you can import directly from Affinity Photo, or add images in numerous popular formats. Editing is possible thanks to the availability of non-destructive adjustment layers.

Ordinarily, there is a trial available that last just 10 days, but at time of writing this has been extended to 90 days. You'll need to register online though, as even the trial needs a serial code, which you can do here.

What's new in 1.8.3 (see the changelog for more)?

- Additional PDF export fix (related to converting colour profiles in exported images).
- Fix for autosave/recover not working correctly when crashing while and editing existing documents.
- Fix for focus issues with the Colour Studio when tabbing between text fields with a selected object.
- Improved selection behaviour when nodes and layers are deleted.
- Improved boolean geometry results (not Divide).

Verdict

A hugely impressive piece of software with an almost unbelievably low price tag. Just about the only thing that used to count against Affinity Publisher was its lack of support for InDesign files, but the recently added IDML import option address thing making it hard to turn down.