Find out how Smart Distribute in Sketch works and get some tips and tricks on how to use it to speed up your workflow. Over the past few Mac app releases, we’ve been introducing a new set of features that make easier than ever to create and edit complex layouts. With Smart Distribute, you can quickly align, arrange and set even spacing between layers in rows, columns or grids.
To get started, all you need is a selection of layers with even spacing between them. Hover over that selection and grab one of the handles that appear between each layer. Dragging on those handles adjust the spacing between each layer evenly.
If your layers aren’t evenly spaced, Smart Distribute handles won’t appear between them. But there’s a quick and easy way to get that even spacing you need. Simply select all of your layers and click the Tidy button in the inspector.
The Tidy button will evenly distribute the layers in your selection into one or more columns or grids. The number of columns and grids here is based on the number of layers in total, their original positions and the overall size of your selection.
While your layers need to be evenly spaced, they don’t need to be evenly sized. In fact, Smart Distribute also works with more complex layouts like Masonry grids.
But perhaps the most useful Smart Distribute feature is the ability to swap individual layers’ positions within your selections. Instead of having to manually move each individual layer and then measure to check their spacing remains even, you can just select, click and drag.
When you swap layers in a Smart Distribute selection, everything happens automatically, and the surrounding layers move intelligently to stay true to your current layout.
Finally, it’s good to know that Smart Distribute works with *all types of layers — *everything from simple shapes, to complex, nested Symbols and even entire artboards. So, if you need to quickly rearrange a UX flow for an app you’re creating, or simply keep those big documents tidy, Smart Distribute can help there, too.
Smart Distribute is available right now. To swap layers in a Smart Distribute selection, you’ll need to be running Sketch 57 or later. We hope it makes a difference to your workflow and we can’t wait to share what we’re working on next with you very soon.