Tricks and Keyboard Shortcuts

Boost your productivity in Sketch

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Boost your productivity in Sketch

Keyboard shortcuts play a major part in Sketch to boost your productivity while designing. You can save a few seconds per action, which really adds up as you perform them hundreds of times per day.

Here are all the 80+ Keyboard Shortcuts, excluding the contextual shortcuts such as those in the Inspector and Layers List. Download the Apple Keyboard.

Math in Field

When you’re working with several pixel densities (1x, 2x, 3x), you need to be able to quickly and easily convert the units. In Sketch, not only can you edit the position and size values by using the Up and Down arrow keys, but you can also add, subtract, multiply and divide the numbers. With this technique, you can easily convert from 1x to 2x by simply multiplying the numbers by 2.

Additionally, you can use percentages. So if you put 100% in the Width field, the shape would resize to the full width of the Artboard, or the total width of the Group that it’s in.

 

Alt Tab Focusing

If you select a layer and press Alt Tab, it'll focus on the first property. As you press again, it'll switch to the next one.

 

Scale Tool

One of my favorite tools in Sketch is the Scale tool (Cmd K). Note that this isn’t the same as resizing, since it actually scales every property: Size, Radius, Border, Shadow and Inner Shadow. For instance, a 1 px border scaled at 200% will be 2 px. By only resizing, it’ll remain 1 px. This will be indispensable for converting @1x UI Kits to @2x or @3x, as it even works with Artboards.

SCALE TIP

Tip: In general, scaling up yield better results than scaling down, since it won’t mess with your pixel perfection. For example, scaling down a 15 x 15 square will give 7.5 x 7.5. Decimals in your Position or Size will create blurry shapes. Use Show Pixels (Ctrl P) to determine.

Distances

Once created, press Alt to show distances between elements. When designing, distances are crucial to ensuring that your spacing are comfortable and consistent. For example, if you use 16 pt between sections of your design, try to keep using the same distance everywhere else.

 

Insert Shape

Inserting a shape is one of the tasks that you’ll perform hundreds of times a day. Using these shortcuts will make your experience less frustrating and more automatic. It will become a reflex. Over time, you will stop thinking about it and just focus on being creative. R: Rectangle O: Oval U: Rounded Rectangle L: Line T: Text V: Vector A: Artboard S: Slice P: Pencil Hold Shift: Keeps aspect ratio Hold Alt: Draw shape from center

SMART GUIDES BEFORE

Before you start drawing the shape, but after you’re ready to insert, you can use Smart Guides to increase precision. For example, you can press R to insert a Rectangle and align from top, center or bottom.

 

KEEP ASPECT RATIO

When inserting or resizing a shape, holding Shift will allow you to have a perfect circle or square. But once the shape is created and you want to resize it, you can keep the same aspect ratio by holding Shift.

Editing Shapes

With a layer selected, you can do the following shortcuts. 1 to 0: 1 represents 10% opacity, 0 represents 100% opacity. F: Toggle Fill. Ctrl C: Pick color. The Eyedropper tool can be used outside of the app. Double-click or Enter (not Grouped): Edit Mode. Double-Click (Grouped): Select one level deeper. ⌘ Click: Select any layer regardless of Groups. ⌘ Shift T: Transform ⌘ Shift R: Rotate ⌘ Shift L: Lock / unlock layer ⌘ Shift H: Hide / show layer ⌘ Shift E: Export Esc: Deselect / Select parent Artboard or Group. Space Drag: Move around canvas

Multiple Shapes

When you have multiple shapes selected, you can use these shortcuts. Alt ⌘ U: Union Alt ⌘ S: Subtract Alt ⌘ I: Intersect Alt ⌘ X: Difference Ctrl ⌘ M: Use as Mask ⌘ G: Group Shift ⌘ G: Ungroup

Editing Points

Once you’re in Edit mode, you can apply a number of shortcuts. 1: Straight 2: Mirrored 3: Disconnected 4: Asymmetric Tab: Next Point Alt: Show only Selected Point : Show Middle Point

Move and Resize

As you drag or resize shapes, Smart Guides and Distances are automatically visible. Shift Drag: Snap horizontally or vertically. Alt Drag: Duplicate Layer. ⌘ D: Duplicate. If you use Alt Drag first, the duplicates will be distanced consistently. Shift Resize: Keep aspect ratio Alt Resize: Resize from center : Rotate. Must hover borders. Shift ←, →, ↑ or ↓: Move by 10px ⌘ → or ↓: Expand by 1px ⌘ ← or ↑: Contract by 1px ⌘ Shift → or ↓: Expand by 10px ⌘ Shift ← or ↑: Contract by 10px

 

Type

These shortcuts apply to Text layers. ⌘ B: Bold ⌘ I: Italic ⌘ U: Underline ⌘ Alt +: Bigger type ⌘ Alt -: Smaller type ⌘ T: Change Font ⌘ Shift O: Convert Text to Outlines Alt Ctrl T: Tighten character spacing Alt Ctrl L: Loosen character spacing ⌘ Shift }: Align Left ⌘ Shift {: Align Right ⌘ Shift |: Align Center ⌘ Ctrl Space: Emojis and Symbols

Copy and Paste

You can Paste any format (JPG, PNG, SVG) to Sketch, from apps like Finder, Keynote, Mail, etc. Sketch will try to capture the vector if possible. Likewise, Sketch will Copy the vector to other apps like Keynote. ⌘ C: Copy ⌘ V: Paste ⌘ Shift V: Paste in Place. Right-click / Paste Here: Paste at the mouse cursor from center. Alt ⌘ C: Copy Style. Alt ⌘ V: Paste Style.

Arrange

Layers and Groups can be arranged within a parent Group or Artboard. Alt ⌘ ↑: Forward. Alt ⌘ ↓: Backward. Ctrl Alt ⌘ ↑: to Front. Ctrl Alt ⌘ ↓: to Back.

Zoom and Focus

Artboards and Layers can be focused on. ⌘ 1: Focus on all the elements in the screen. ⌘ 2: Focus on the element selected. ⌘ 3: Center Selection ⌘ 0: Zoom to Actual Size (100%). ⌘ +: Zoom In. ⌘ -: Zoom Out.

Grids and Rulers

In Preferences, enable Pixel Fitting to make sure that shapes land accurately in the Pixels Grid. Use Show Pixels to determine if your shapes are sharp. Ctrl G: Toggle Grid. Ctrl R: Toggle Rulers. To create a guide, click in the Ruler zone. Use Shift to move by 10 px. Drag outside to remove. Ctrl L: Toggle Layout. Ctrl P: Toggle Pixels. Ctrl X: Toggle Pixels Grid. The Pixels Grid can only be seen at 1000% zoom.

 

Window

** ⌘ ~: Switch to next window. **⌘ .: Toggle Presentation Mode. Alt ⌘ 1: Toggle Layers List. Alt ⌘ 2: Toggle Inspector. Alt ⌘ 3: Toggle Layers List, Inspector. Alt ⌘ T: Toggle Toolbar. Ctrl ⌘ F: Toggle Fullscreen.

 

Layers List

These shortcuts only apply to the Layers List. Alt: Switch to Lock instead of Hide. ⌘ R or Double-click: Rename Layer ⌘ Click: select multiple layers. Shift Click: select multiple layers in a group. Option Click Expand Arrow: Expand and Collapse all layers and groups. Tab: Next Layer. Shift Tab: Previous Layer. ⌘ F: Find Layer by name. Fn ↑: Previous Page. Fn ↓: Next Page. Drag Outside: Export 1x PNG asset based on Layer, Group or Artboard. You may override that setting by using Make Exportable.

 

Inspector

You can use Math (+, -, *, /) and percentage (%) in fields. Alt Tab (Repeated): Focus on next field. Drag Left or Right: Increase or decrease number. Must hover the label. ↑ or ↓: Increase or decrease by 1. Shift ↑ or ↓: Increase or decrease by 10. Alt ↑ or ↓: Increase or decrease by 0.1. Drag Outside: you can drag out Fills, Borders and Shadows to remove.

 

Custom Shortcuts

Shortcuts can be customized in the System Preferences pane. To add, go to Keyboard → Shortcuts → App Shortcuts. ⌘ Shift C: Create Symbol ⌘ Shift M: Make Grid… ⌘ Shift P: Round to Nearest Pixel Edge ⌘ Alt [: Horizontally (Align Objects) ⌘ Alt ]: Vertically (Align Objects) ⌘ Alt \: Collapse Artboards and Groups ⌘ Shift ‘: Remove Unused Styles

Sketch Plugins

Essential Sketch Plugins for Designers and Developers - There are hundreds of Sketch plugins out there, and more released each week. These plugins are my absolute favorites for boosting my productivity in Sketch.

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Nested Symbols

Design with More Flexibility by Nesting Symbols - In Sketch 47, Symbols make it easy to share the same elements across multiple Artboards or Sketch Files and keep them up-to-date with Libraries. Symbols are very helpful when you reuse the same elements multiple times, like the Status Bar, Navigation Bar or Tab Bar. When changes need to happen, you won’t need to edit those elements one by one. As you update one, it will synchronize with all the other ones.

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Sketch Libraries

Design is all about collaboration. With Sketch Libraries, you can sync, share and update Symbols across all your documents with your teammates. Your design can stay consistent, up-to-date, and be open for collaboration thanks to Sketch Libraries.

What is a Library in Sketch?

A Library is a Sketch document that contains Symbols that can be used globally. You can share the Library by storing to a local server. Also, you can use cloud services like Dropbox, or a version control system like GitHub or Abstract. As a result, your teammates can have access to the same Libraries.

When you update any Symbol in that Library, everyone that are using that Library will receive a notification on the far top right of Sketch's UI. Like this, their Libraries will be always in sync!

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Version Control

Before Sketch Libraries, we needed to manually send Sketch files via email or messaging, then upload and share on cloud services in order to collaborate with other teammates on a design.

The Problem

This is where the problem lies. Anyone that has access to that Sketch file will duplicate it and change the file name. You probably will see multiple different names of that Sketch file with some minor differences between them.

More problems arise when multiple designers are using the same Sketch file in Dropbox, and save it at the same time. In the end, you get multiple “conflicted copy”. To patch the issue, you had to compare and fix the conflicts manually. All this leads to a disorganized, inefficient workflow.

Now, we can share and use Symbols from the same Sketch files with Libraries. Also, we still lack recorded history, we don’t know how the other designers progresses and there’s no annotations.

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Working with Data

When you’re designing in Sketch, you should know how the design is going to work after implementation. Sometimes, designs are bound to break if you’re not replicating real data in the process.

Using real data in your work will help you have a better idea of how the interface is going to work, make better decisions, account for edge cases or alignment issues that you might not have thought of. Clients often have a hard time visualizing how a prototype will lead to a final product. By using real data, they have a better idea and context, so the feedback that you get is more accurate.

Designing with Real Data

Still, using real data for your design is not necessarily a fast or straightforward workflow and you might end up wasting time searching quality images, names and descriptions. Some designers use Lorem Ipsum with the same image in one component and use it multiple times. However, with that, you will not have an elegant design or a realistic prototype.

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Adaptive Layouts

When designing for mobile, it's important to consider the wide variety of screen sizes available across iOS and Android. Not everyone will be using the latest smartphones, so we need to consider how our app’s content will work when it renders on smaller or bigger screen sizes, as not doing so could lead to breaking. When iOS developers are building apps they need to think about how the content will adapt to the various iPhone screen sizes. For iOS, Xcode comes with a set of built-in features to help them do this. It’s called Auto layout and it allows them to define constraints and relationships between views to control how the content adapts to different iPhone screen sizes.

Auto Layout

Looks familiar? If you've used Sketch before you may have noticed a similar feature in the properties panel on the right. It's not as complex as Xcode's Auto Layout but it does a good job at mimicking some of the constraints and acts as an excellent starting point when thinking about adaptive layouts.

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