Create an Editable PDF Invitation with Affinity Designer and Scribus

Create Editable PDF

I was a little disappointed that Affiniy Publisher doesn’t include editable fields yet. And neither does that fancy new version 2, lol! I am still hoping that they will at some point. In the mean time, using Affinity Designer or Photo for the design work and Scribus for the editable fields works quite well.

If you aren’t familiar with Scribus, it is a open source desktop publishing platform that is available for free. And yep, you can create those elusive editable fields with it.

This is just my way of doing it, you probably have your own workflow that will do just as well. Probably better, I am truly no expert by any stretch of the imagination. Anyhoot, onward.

Get what you need for this project

Affinity Designer or Photo
So really, any graphics program should work here.


Maiden Orange commercial free font:
Install the font before you start. Otherwise, Scribus and Affinity will substitute another font and mess it all up.

Download this tutorial package with pdf instructions, an example Scribus file (sla extension), an example Affinity designer file and png files for other programs .

The Design Part

Instructions are for Affinity Designer.
Start with either the included Affinity file or create your own
These are the settings I use for a 5×7 inch card:
Create new document – New Document > Print >
Page Width: 5 inches, Page Height: 7 inches, DPI 300,
Document units: inches
Color Format: RGB/8
Color Profile: sRGB IEC61996-2.1

Since we are working on a 5 x 7 invitation, keep the size proportionate and at least 300dpi. You can use the clip art included in the zip to practice with if you like. Include the text that will be editable on the final product. I put it in a group and drop the transparency to 50%. When finished, export 2 files:
1 with the editable text visible to use as a reference in Scribus
1 with the editable text turned off to use in the final product. Export as jpg (best quality preset).

If you are intending this for resale, use a font for the editable text that is available for free commercial use.

The Editable PDF Part

Instructions are for Scribus 1.6. Be prepared for lots of right clicks. Start with either the included Scribus file or create your own. The Scribus file has the first line of editable text done as an example. The scribus file included was created with a previous version and will give you a warning about saving it in the latest version. Just ignore it or save it with a different file name.

To create your own new document:
In the right panel
Set size as Custom
Orientation: Portrait
Width: 5 in
Height: 7 in
Pdf tools should be visible on the right end of the icons in the toolbar. If not, right click toolbar and check PDF box.

Inserting Image:
Select Insert > Insert Image Frame
Left Click and drag from top right corner to bottom left corner and release. You should see a big X inside a red square. This is the image frame
Right Click inside the image frame and select Properties
Under Geometry:
Set X-Pos to 0 inches
Set Y-Pos to 0 inches
Set Width to 5 inches
Set Height to 7 inches

Close Properties
Right click again inside box and select Get Image and navigate to location of your files. Select the card design with the editable text visible to use as a guide for your text fields.

Adding Editable Fields:
For the first line of editable text, “Friday, December 10 at 7:00 PM”
Click the ‘Insert PDF Text Field’ button A big crosshairs will appear when you hover over your page.
Left click, drag then release directly over the editable text are in the image.
When you click on the resulting box, it will be highlighted in red.
Right click inside the red box and click ‘Edit Text with Story Editor’
Type “Friday, December 10 at 7:00 PM” in the pop up box,
click the checkmark when you are finished

Right click inside the text box and select Content Properties.
Under text:
Maiden Orange
24 pt
Align center You may have to adjust the field box boundary edges if the full text isn’t showing.

Right click on box
Select PDF Options > Field Properties
To change or remove border,specify multi-line, character limit, etc for field.
Ensure ‘Is PDF Annotation’ under PDF Options’ is checked
You can refine the placement of the box as well: Right click and select Properties > Geometry
Do the same for the next 3 lines of text. For the last section with two lines of text, specify multi-line under Field Properties. Click ok

Wrapping it Up

Now that you have the editable text fields in place, you can replace the image with the one that does not have the editable text visible by right clicking on the image box and selecting ‘Get Image’

Save file in scribus format (just in case).
To save as PDF, click the little button that represents Adobe Acrobat (red A) in the toolbar.
Under General, uncheck the compress Text and Vector graphics option
Under Fonts, embed or outlne fonts
Under color, Output Intended for should be Printer. Change other options if you like then click save.

Open new pdf and test. That light blue box does not print – it is just highlighting the editable text. And that’s it! I hope this helps you get started on creating editable pdfs or learning a different way of doing it.