Tiny gems: Sketch improvements you might have missed
These gems may be tiny, but they’re pretty dazzling
We’re never not working on improving Sketch — and these past few months have been no exception — whether it’s leveling up annotations, or introducing new experimental features 👀 And while we’re proud of the headliners, we also want to take the time to highlight and celebrate all the smaller improvements we’ve made. So today, we’ll be sharing a whole list of tiny – but no less dazzling – gems you might have missed in Sketch.
And if you’re not so big on reading, we’ve got you covered. Our very own Joseph Todaro is back with a brand-new video to catch you up on each of these gems. But if you prefer a little scrolly-telling, then let’s get cracking on that list below!
Open your Figma files in Sketch
What better way to start our list of gems than with one that’s extra shiny? We’re talking about importing Figma files. That’s right, you can now open any of your .fig files in Sketch. All you have to do is head to File > Open Local document — or hit ⇧⌘O — and import the .fig file of your choice.
If you prefer, you can also do it the old drag-and-drop way. Just drag your .fig file over the Sketch icon in the Dock, and you’re all set.
Better color profile notifications
Previously, whenever you’d choose a new color profile, you’d get a little pop-up notification at the bottom of your Canvas. We now permanently show the color profile in the title bar, under your document name.
Turn your documents into Workspace templates
You can now turn any document into a template that anyone in your Workspace can use, which is ideal if you’re always digging out the client presentation document, duplicating it and deleting the old content.
Just head to File > Document Settings — or press ⇧⌘,. Then, under Set As, switch Document to Template — and you’re good to go.
Tons of beautiful new templates
Kickstart your next project by choosing from a wide selection of beautiful, free templates — from mockups to moodboards, and everything in between. You can explore them all in the Workspace Window below your own templates, and learn to make the most of them with our ultimate guide!
Enable Libraries for specific documents
You can now enable Libraries for a specific document. Just head to File > Document Settings… > Libraries, and use the checkboxes to enable the Libraries you want. After that, anyone that opens that document will find that the checked Libraries are automatically enabled.
Manage your share settings in the Mac app
Speaking of collaboration, you can now manage your share settings directly within the Mac app — in multiple ways! You’ll find the Share… option under File, or when you head to the overflow menu next to your avatar on the toolbar. You can even find it by right-clicking a document or project in the Workspace Window.
Annotations in the Mac app
Now, when your collaborators add annotations to your work, you can view and reply to them directly on your Mac app’s Canvas, allowing you to keep up with discussions exactly where they matter.
And when you want to start your own, we’ve added a brand new Comment button in the toolbar that you can use to strike up a conversation anywhere on the Canvas.
Resolve your annotations
Done with a conversation? You can also resolve your annotations — whether you’re using the Mac app or web app. Just hit the checkmark on the top-right of an annotation’s popover, or right-click any annotation marker and choose Resolve.
Reveal your annotations — or hide them
But don’t worry — while resolving annotations does hide them from the Canvas, you can still keep track of them. You can easily toggle their visibility by heading to View > Comments > Include Resolved — or by pressing ⌃⇧N.
Need to hide your annotations, even if they aren’t resolved yet? Just press ⌃N to toggle between hiding and revealing them.
Preserve spaces when hiding Symbols
Let’s talk Symbols and Smart Layout. When you select a nested Symbol inside a Symbol instance that uses Smart Layout, you’ll now see a new Preserve space when hidden option in the Inspector. Toggling it will come in handy for when you need to hide a nested Symbol without losing the space it occupied in your design.
Work smarter with layers within Symbol instances
Working with layers within Symbol instances can get tricky. That’s why we’ve added a few more visual cues. Now, when you select layers inside a Symbol instance, you’ll see a dashed border around the parent instance as a reminder that the whole instance will move if you drag it.
An easier way to select a Symbol’s parent
To make working with Symbol instances even more hassle-free, we’ve also added a new button next to the parent so you can easily select it.
Distinguish hidden objects from visible layers
We’ve also made the selection boxes for hidden objects dashed, so you can easily distinguish them from a visible layer in the same spot.
Pan and zoom to any layer
You can now double-click on a layer’s icon in the Layer List to quickly pan and zoom to that layer on the Canvas — making it easier to jump between different layers.
Use hex codes with alpha values
Want a smarter way to add opacity to your colors? Head over to the Inspector, where you can now enter hex codes with alpha values by tagging two digits at the end of your color codes. For example, if you enter #FF000080, it’ll give you the color #FF0000 and an opacity of 50%.
We’ll automatically parse the last two digits you enter and apply them to the Opacity field. Just remember, the opacity values are hexadecimal and range from 00 to FF — just like the color digits.
A detailed gradient editing experience
Speaking of colors, editing gradients just got a lot more intuitive, with more on-Canvas cues to guide your decisions. We’ll show you the position of your stops, label Start and End points, and even the values for angle, length, and ratio — depending on the type of gradient you’re using.
Oh, and by the way — Radial Gradients now resize with their shape!
Foresight for blending modes
Picking a blending mode often comes with a bit of trial and error. That’s why we made the process a little easier with Foresight for blending modes. Now, when you hover over each blending mode, you’ll see instant previews on your Canvas. We’ve also added labels to each group of blending modes, making it easier to understand what they do.
Scale your borders way down
If you’ve ever used the Scale command, you might have noticed that borders previously had a minimum width of 0.5. pixels. Now, you can scale them all the way down to 0.1 pixels.
New settings to distribute your layers
We’ve added a new setting for you to decide what happens when you can’t distribute layers evenly using whole pixels. That means, instead of getting asked every time, you can now set and forget your preferences. Just head to the Layers pane of your Sketch Settings, look for When Distributing: and pick a setting.
Smart Distribute just got smarter
When you’ve selected a group that’s part of a tidied set of items, you can adjust its position and the spacing around it using the Smart Distribute handles. Previously, you’d only get handles for the children of the group.
Get snappy with rulers
Working with rulers just got smoother. Now, when you place or move rulers, they’ll snap to the middle point of any layer you’ve selected.
Jump into text layers like a pro
Got multiple text layers to edit? Now, when you’re editing one, clicking on another one will automatically take you straight to edit mode — making it easier to edit multiple text layers, one after the other.
Spot text layers more easily
To make your text layers even easier to spot, we’ve also added an underline when you hover over them.
Checking your text layer’s Width and Height
Speaking of text layers, you’ll now find that the Width and Height fields in the Inspector reflect whether they’re set to Auto Width, Auto Height, or Fixed Size — based on whether the values are shown in gray. But don’t worry, you can always enter your own fixed values if you want!
Try experimental Sketch features in Labs
If you head to your Sketch Settings window — just press ⌘, — you’ll find a brand new Labs pane, where you’ll learn more about experimental features you can try out. You’ll also find buttons to find out more about each feature and share your feedback to help make Sketch even better 🙌
Experiment with Smart Layout in groups
And last but not least, the first experimental feature for you to try out and share your feedback on: Smart Layout in groups. This experimental feature allows you to apply a vertical or horizontal layout to a group — which comes in handy for maintaining the padding and spacing between layers when you change a layer’s size or delete it.
We still have work to do, so we’d love for you to enable it, give it a try, and let us know what you think!
And there you have it — tiny but bright and dazzling gems we hope will make your Sketch experience even smoother. Be sure to get the latest Mac release to try them all out. And if you like what you see, come share your feedback in our community forum!
In the meantime, happy designing.