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Sketch for Teams, Smart Layout and more announcements from Layers

Last week at Layers we we announced some exciting new features coming to Sketch very soon. Here’s a roundup of all the announcements!

Last week we touched down in California for one of the biggest weeks in design and technology. Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference kicked off on Monday June 3rd and, right across the street, we set up camp at Layers.

Sketch co-founder Pieter Omvlee spoke on the Layers stage, alongside a host of talented designers and leaders, and we took the opportunity to announce some exciting new features coming to Sketch very soon. The reaction was fantastic so we thought it was only fair to share all of these new features with a wider audience. With that in mind, here’s what the next few months hold for Sketch.

Sketch for Teams Public Beta

In case you missed it here’s the video we shared on social media last week.

Excited? So are we. When we announced our Series A Funding Round back in March this year, we made some big promises and we’re thrilled to be making good on some of those already. The Sketch for Teams Public Beta will launch next month and like any beta it represents an early preview of the full experience, coming later this year.

At Sketch, we started out with one goal — to help people design better products. We built a lightweight and intuitive design tool and then we thought — how do we make it easier for designers to work together? So we added Symbols, Libraries and Shared Styles. Now, as design becomes the foundation of almost every business, we understand the need to include developers, content producers, product managers and other stakeholders in the design process too.

Sketch for Teams takes collaboration to the next level. In the public beta, your whole team can share designs and prototypes, provide feedback and collaborate, all in a single workspace. You can view, manage and open Cloud documents from right inside the Mac app. And all of your files will automatically save to a single, shared space, where everyone on your team can access them. You can also track every design iteration with built-in, automatic versioning, and even download or roll back to older versions of a document.

With Sketch for Teams you can bring everyone into the design process. You can add an unlimited number of Viewers to preview designs and prototypes, and comment for free. You only pay for Contributors who edit and upload designs and they’ll get access to the Mac app as part of your Sketch for Teams subscription — which means no more license keys! Better still, you can manage your team members and billing from a simple, central dashboard.

Coming soon

We’re just getting started with Sketch for Teams. Here’s what you can look forward to in the next 12 months. Very soon you’ll be able to organize your documents into projects and manage the status of your work. We’ll also be adding a Full Canvas view so you get a quick overview of your documents on Cloud.

Right now, you can comment on individual Artboards, but we’ll be adding the ability to comment on specific elements too. We’re planning to pull those comments back into the Mac app as well.

You’ll be able to store and distribute Plugins and Libraries automatically via Cloud, making onboarding a breeze. And with a new Cloud API, it will be easier than ever to integrate with your favorite third-party tools and services.

For developers, we’re bringing an Inspector to Cloud so you can grab code, view specs and download production ready assets, without having to open the Mac app.

Finally, we know that real-time, collaborative editing is something you’ve been asking about and while it’s a goal for us, our aim is to achieve it without sacrificing the stability and reliability of Sketch. We’re incredibly excited to say that with Sketch for Teams we’ll be making real-time collaboration between designers possible on the Sketch Mac app. We’re working hard to get this right and we’ll have more info for you later in the year.

The Sketch for Teams Public Beta will launch next month, July 2019, and we’ll share all the details with you then. We’re really excited about this and we can’t wait to help you and your team work better, together.

Innovating everywhere

We’ve been hard at work on Sketch for Teams but we haven’t taken our focus off the Mac app either. There are a lot of exciting new features coming very soon — here’s a quick rundown.

Smart Distribute and Smart Layout

With Sketch 55 we introduced one directional Smart Distribute, so you can select a row or column of layers, grab the handles that appear between them and drag to adjust their spacing evenly. This was the first step towards a new set of tools that should make it quicker and easier to create and adjust complex layouts.

We’ve been expanding on these features and there’s lots to look forward to in future versions of Sketch. We’re adding a “Tidy” button to the Inspector and Smart Distribute will work in two directions at once, so you can quickly arrange layers into grids and then adjust the grid’s spacing. You’ll also be able to drag layers to rearrange them and create negative spacing between them too.

Alongside Smart Distribute, we’re excited to introduce Smart Layout, so you can create buttons and components that flow and resize when you edit their overrides. We’re adding a new panel to the Inspector where you can set Symbol’s resizing behaviour so any instances of that Symbol will expand or contract when you add content. Creating reusable buttons, cards, list views, segmented controls and many other components will be easier than ever before!

Components Panel

With the new Components panel we’ll be streamlining the process of organising and managing your Symbols, Text Styles and Layer Styles. You can quickly rename, group and rearrange components and you’ll see a nice big preview at the bottom of the Layer List on selection, so you know exactly what you’re looking at.

To insert a component, simply drag and drop it on to the Canvas or swap a Symbol or Style by dragging a new component on to the old one. Clicking on Overrides in the Inspector will also open up a popover version of the Components Panel, where you can filter the results to see only components of the same size and type.

Keep an eye out for Smart Distribute in Sketch 56 and the rest of these features in future versions of Sketch. We’ll be back with more details about the Sketch for Teams Public Beta, next month. We’re really excited to share all of these new features with you and we’d love to get your feedback, questions and suggestions. Get in touch and let us know what you think via our support page or reach out on Twitter and Facebook.

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