Real-time Collaboration (beta)

With real-time collaboration (beta), you can work together on the same document, see everyone’s changes instantly, and never have to wonder about whether you’re editing the right version of a document again.

As with any feature in beta, things can be unstable, so please create a backup copy of your documents before opening them! Documents you use with the real-time collaboration beta will become incompatible with other versions of Sketch. During the beta period, you’ll also need a Teams subscription to try out real-time collaboration.

Real-time collaboration (beta) requirements

To edit documents together using the real-time collaboration beta, you’ll need:

  • A Teams subscription. To find out if you have a Teams subscription choose Sketch > Preferences in the Mac app and click on the account tab. The type of account you have is listed next to your avatar. We’ll be opening it up beyond teams in early 2021.
  • A shared document in your team’s workspace. You can save a new document to Cloud, move existing documents from a personal to a shared workspace in the browser, or use the Mac app’s Documents window. To do this, choose Window > Documents (or press + + O), then drag and drop your document into the relevant Project in the sidebar. Please remember to create a backup of your documents first!
  • A compatible version of the Mac app. Only v71 beta or later are compatible. Once you’ve saved your document, only people with a compatible version of the Mac app will be able to open and edit it. Remember that documents you save with the 71 beta are not backwards compatible.

Saving a new document for the first time

To collaborate on a new document, first you’ll need to save it to your team’s workspace. Choose File > Save or hit + S, select the Sketch Cloud tab in the save sheet and select your shared workspace.

Alternatively, you can click the Collaboration toolbar item Collaboration and choose Save to Cloud in the popover menu that appears.

Get your documents collaboration-ready

Once you’ve moved an existing document to your shared workspace, you’ll need to open it and save it again in a compatible version of the Mac app (v71 or later). The Mac app beta will prompt you to do this when you open the document for the first time.

Note: Once you’ve saved your document, only people with a compatible version of the Mac app (v71 beta or later) will be able to open and edit it.

If you want to make sure everyone can edit all the text in your document, you might want to embed any fonts you use when you share your files.

The real-time collaboration interface

A screenshot showing the Collaboration menu open in a Sketch window, with colored cursors on the Canvas presenting collaborators.
  1. Collaboration. In the toolbar, you’ll see up to three avatars of active collaborators. The colored circle around the avatar matches the color of their cursor on the Canvas. Note: If you don’t see Collaboration Collaboration in the toolbar, choose View > Customize Toolbar… then drag it into your toolbar from the sheet that appears.
  2. The Collaboration menu. Click the Dots Cloud in the toolbar above Collaboration to open the menu. It shows a list of all the Contributors who are working in the document, and as well as some useful sharing options.
  3. Collaborator cursors. Each person is represented by a colored cursor that shows their position on the Canvas in real-time. Your Canvas will update with any new changes your collaborators make once they’ve completed their action.

Inviting people to collaborate

When you save your file to a shared Team workspace, everyone in that workspace will be able to see the document, and anyone who is a Contributor can open it to start collaborating. We’ll soon add the option to invite people from outside your Team, so you’ll be able to collaborate with anyone who has a valid license, a compatible version of the Mac app and a Sketch account.

How to manage share settings

To change your document’s share settings, click on Collaboration toolbar item Collaboration and choose Share Document…. Find out more about managing these settings.

How to invite people from outside your team

You can invite people from outside of your Team to collaborate with you on a document as long as they have a valid license, a compatible version of the Mac app and a Sketch account.

From Cloud: If you’re viewing a document in your web browser, open it and click the cog icon in the top-right of the screen and choose Document Settings…, then select Sharing and Permissions. Here you can change the link settings so that anyone with the document link can edit the document. Alternatively, you can and invite people to view your document via email. If you want them to be able to open and edit the document with you in real-time, make sure you set their permissions to Edit.

From the Mac app: Click Collaboration in the toolbar and choose Share Document…. The document will open in Cloud, where you’ll see the window described above.

Opening a document to collaborate

Once everyone has access to your Cloud document, choose File > Open Cloud Document… in the Mac app and open the document from the Documents window.

You can also open your document from your browser. Access the document via the Cloud link, then click Open In Sketch in the bottom-right corner of the window. If someone has invited you to a document and you’re not a member of their Team, you’ll first need to sign into Cloud using the Sketch account details they used to invite you.

Following updates in real-time

There are a few different ways to track who is active in your document and what they’re doing.

The Collaboration menu

You can click on another person’s avatar in the Collaboration toolbar item Collaboration or the Collaboration menu to jump straight to that person’s cursor in the Canvas, wherever they are. The menu also shows whether the user is active or idle.

You can also see who is currently collaborating on a document when you’re viewing your Team’s shared workspace in the browser. Open the Activity Feed in any document to see its live status.

How to save documents during collaboration

When you collaborate, every change you make syncs to everyone else in real-time, and anyone else who opens the document while you’re working will get all the latest updates automatically. So you’ll always see the most up-to-date version of a document.

Saving when you close the Mac app

There is no need to manually save your document before you close a document or quit the Mac app. When you complete either of these actions, the app combines all your latest updates into a new version of the file, and saves it to Cloud automatically.

Saving a new version

Manually saving your file by hitting + S or choosing File > Save will also create a new version of the document in Cloud. Viewers in your Team will be able to view, comment on and inspect these versions for handoff. Find out more about versioning here.

Getting feedback on collaborative documents

Once you’ve saved your file to Cloud, viewers and collaborators can view the document in their browser, add comments, and inspect it for handoff. Find out more about what you can do in Cloud.

As with any feature in beta, things can be unstable, so please create a backup copy of your documents before opening them! Documents you use with the real-time collaboration beta will become incompatible with other versions of Sketch. During the beta period, you’ll also need a Teams subscription to try out real-time collaboration.

Last updated on 09 Dec 2020

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