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Styles in Libraries and fixed elements in Prototyping in Sketch 51

Sketch 51 brings Styles to Libraries, fixed elements to Prototyping and more performance improvements.

Sketch 51 has landed and in the latest release we’re bringing Styles to Libraries, adding fixed elements to Prototyping and making more performance improvements. Here’s an overview of the headline features in the latest update:

  • Text and Layer Styles defined in Libraries are now available across all your Sketch documents.
  • You can now add fixed elements, like headers and footers to prototypes.
  • Significant performance improvements especially when working with large or complex documents.
  • We’ve made some big changes to the appearance of arrows and other markers on paths.
  • More than 80 other enhancements and bug fixes, including improvements to how Sketch handles text layers and the behaviour of the Rotate tool.

Styles in Libraries

This has been one of our most requested features since we released Libraries back in Sketch 47 so we know you’ll be as excited as we are that Sketch 51 now allows you to sync and use Text and Layer Styles across all your documents.

With the ability to access all of your styles in any document, keeping your projects consistent and your style guides up to date has never been easier — Sketch Libraries can now be a single source of truth for all of your design components and not just your Symbols.

The best part is, if you’ve already defined styles in your Libraries, Sketch will recognise them without you having to do anything. Just select a layer and click on the Layer Style or Text Style drop down in the Inspector and you’ll be able to choose from any of your existing Libraries’ predefined Text or Layer Styles — magic! You can also access all of the Text Styles in your Libraries at the bottom of the Insert menu.

Because Libraries can already live on Sketch Cloud (or anywhere else online), you can upload and share your Text and Layer Styles with your whole team, no matter where they are, just like with Symbols. Colleagues and collaborators can even subscribe to your Library so when you update your styles, they will be prompted to download the latest version of the Library, keeping everyone up to date.

Fixed Elements in Prototyping

When we launched Prototyping in February we were overwhelmed by the response from designers all over the world, and it’s been amazing to see all the cool projects you’ve been creating and uploading to Cloud since then. One of the biggest requests we’ve received since the release of Sketch 49 is fixed elements in Prototyping and with Sketch 51, they’re finally here.

In the latest update, we’re adding the ability to fix the position of layers on the Artboard so they maintain their position, when scrolling your prototypes in Preview, Mirror or Sketch Cloud. This allows you to add static header and footer elements to your designs, and preview them as they will appear in the final product.

To start using fixed elements, just select the layer or Hotspot you want to keep in one place and select the Fix Position when Scrolling checkbox in the Prototyping section of the Inspector or go to Prototyping > Fix Layer Position when Scrolling in the menu. When you launch your prototype these fixed layers will stay in one place while the rest of your content moves behind to mimic a scroll view.

If you want try out fixed elements for yourself, remember that Artboard size matters when you’re previewing prototypes — make sure you use an Artboard preset and change the height of your Artboard if you want your prototypes to be scrollable. Find out more in our documentation.

If you want to see your fixed elements in Mirror for iOS, you’ll need to update to the latest version. You can download Mirror 3.1 from the App Store now.

Still making Sketch better

As promised in our Sketch 50 blog post, we’ve made even more changes in the latest update that should improve performance, especially when working with large or complex documents, containing lots of Symbols.

We’re continuing this good work in Sketch 52 as well, and our next release should mark the biggest performance improvement yet. In the mean time if you’re having trouble with performance, please get in touch via our Contact Support form with as much information as possible and we’ll see what we can do to help.

Looking sharp

Alongside these bigger updates, we’ve also been working hard on a smaller improvement and something we’ve been pretty embarrassed about for a while. If you’ve ever used arrows in Sketch before, you’ll know they’re pretty awful but with the latest update, that’s about to change. In Sketch 51 we’ve massively improved the appearance of arrows (and other markers) and even included some new arrowheads that we think you’re going to love.

There are now seven different arrowheads in Sketch and scaling them, increasing their border thickness, and changing the border ends and joins now work as you’d expect, so arrows look less like this:

And more like this:

Much better right? Arrows should still look good no matter what size or shape you make them and markers will change to match your end and join selection. This has been on our to do list for a while so we’re excited to finally be making arrows a bit more beautiful and we hope it encourages you to use them more.

80 other improvements and bug fixes

As usual we’ve been listening to your fantastic feedback and suggestions and we’ve made a whole heap of other improvements and bug fixes since the last update. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Text layers will highlight on their baseline, rather than their contents when hovered in the Canvas.
  • Holding the Shift key when dragging vector points will now snap to adjacent points.
  • You can now apply math operations to multiple selected items in the Inspector.
  • Holding the Shift or Option keys when clicking and dragging a label to change a value in the Inspector will adjust its value in increments of 10, or 0.1 respectively.

You can find a full list of bug fixes and improvements on our Updates page.

Sketch 51 is a free update for everyone with an active license. If you need to renew your license, you’ll get Sketch 51 and a whole year’s worth of updates included.

We always want to hear your opinions on the latest update so please let us know what you think of Sketch 51. If you’ve got any questions or feedback, you can get in touch with us via our support page, join in the conversation on Twitter, or on our Facebook group.

We’re already working hard on our next update and we’re incredibly excited that Sketch 52 will include a new and highly anticipated Dark Mode. If you haven’t heard about it yet, check out our WWDC blog post to see how Mojave is bringing Sketch over to the dark side.

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