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How to use Global Colours to quickly change colours throughout an Affinity Publisher document

Affinity Publisher has a very unusual way for managing colours and palettes and it takes a little bit of planning to make this work to your advantage (aka the way you’d expect). I came across this difficulty after converting a number of files and had to revisit how I’d managed to get this wrong. Well it seems what happened is I was thinking it would work like it does in Indesign and it doesn’t!

So I started over to try and find an easy way to allow others to update the colours in each file with just a few clicks. Click to skip past the setting it up part directly section to the changing colours throughout the document in a few clicks!

Set up your colours

Once you’ve decided on your colour palette the first step I did was to draw a series of boxes on a blank page and add a colour fill to each.

Coloured boxes before creating affinity publisher color palette using global colours

Once this was done I selected all the coloured boxes and right/control clicked on them, then “Add to Swatches” followed by clicking “From Fill As Global”.

Select all the coloured boxes and right/control click then Add to Swatches the click From Fill As Global

This added them as Global Colours to a “Document Palette”.

Colours added to a document palette as Global Colours
The little white triangle in the corner indicates a global colour swatch.

Rename the Colour Palette

For convenience I renamed the palette, click the drop down in the top right corner of the Swatches Panel and select “Rename Palette”.

Renaming colour palette in Affinity Publisher - Step 1
Rename your colour palette

Export the Colour Palette

Click the drop down in the top right corner of the Swatches Panel and then click “Export Palette” and save to your hard drive for use in the next step.

Using your new colour palette in a new document

If you haven’t already got a document you can create a new document now (I’m assuming you know how to do this). Select the Swatches Panel and again click the drop down in the top right corner but this time click “Import Palette” then “As Document Palette”. Browse to where you previously saved your palette and click open to import it into you document. The Global Palette is now available for you to use in this document.

Importing Global Palette in Affinity Publisher.
New global palette after importing into Affinity Publisher
New Global Palette as it appears in your Swatch Panel (with name)

Changing the colours throughout you document in a few clicks

So you’ve created you design and for some reason you’ve either want to or have to change the colours throughout, e.g. client request! When using Global Colours it can be done with a few clicks. Here’s a quick example that has been set up using the Global Colour Palette we just imported:

Using Global Colours.

We’ve been asked to change the purple to red, the grey to blue and the green to orange.

(1) make sure they haven’t any item in the document selected or the change might be only applied to the item selected.

(2) In the Swatch Panel select the “Whatever You Renamed Your Palette” Palette from the colour palette drop down menu (it should be at the top of the list).

(3) Double click on the colour they want changed and adjust it using the sliders and the new colour will be applied automatically anywhere you’ve used it throughout your document.

Change Purple to red
Change Purple to Red

Change Grey to Blue
Change Grey to Blue

Change Green to Orange
Change Green to Orange

Colours changed throughout the document using Global Colour Palette