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Last updated on 12 Sep 2023
5 min read

An Assistant is a tool that checks your Sketch documents against a custom set of rules and lets you know if it spots issues or inconsistencies.

An introduction to using Assistants in Sketch

Installing and managing Assistants

You can add multiple Assistants to any document. For example, you might have one that covers your company’s design system, another for accessibility, and another that checks how a document is organized.

You’ll need to add Assistants on a per-document basis, but they stay attached to that document when you share it with others. If someone doesn’t have an Assistant your document uses, they’ll be prompted to install it.

When you add an Assistant to a document, you can use it on any other document you create in the future. You’ll just need to enable it first.

You’ll find detailed instructions on how to install and manage Assistants in our document settings documentation.

Working with Assistants

When you’ve installed and enabled Assistants in your document, they’ll check it for any issues or inconsistencies against the set of rules they’ve been built to follow. By default, Assistants run automatically and update their results after you make changes to a document.

To stop Assistants from automatically checking a document, choose File > Assistants > Check Document Automatically from the Menu Bar to toggle this option off. With automatic checking switched off, choose File > Assistants > Check Document Now or press B any time to have Assistants update their results again.

Viewing results

When the Assistants you’ve added to your document spot any issues, they’ll display a notification badge next to the Assistants Assistants icon in the Toolbar. Clicking on Assistants will bring up the Assistants results window and show you a list of every issue in your document. When you fix an issue, Assistants will check your document again and remove the issue from the results list.

You can also show or hide the Assistants results window at any time by choosing View > Show/Hide Assistants or pressing 3.

Here’s what you’ll see in the Assistants results window:

An annotated image showing various elements of the Assistants results window in Sketch

The various elements of the Assistants results window

  1. Each Assistant has its own thumbnail and a notification badge with the current number of issues it has found. Clicking on these thumbnails filters the results list to show only issues from the Assistant you’ve selected. Clicking the leftmost thumbnail will reset the view and show you issues from all Assistants.
  2. Clicking on the circle More options icon opens the document settings window, where you can find a link to the Assistants directory or choose whether to show or hide ignored rules.
  3. Each issue in the results list is collapsible (handy if you have a lot to look through!). Hovering over it will reveal a ? icon. Click on this to open a browser window with documentation for that specific rule from the Assistant’s developer.
  4. Each issue lists the layers that relate to it. When you hover over a layer, you’ll see a icon. Clicking on this will take you directly to that layer on your Canvas. You can also Control-click on any layer in the list and choose Reveal to find it on the Canvas.

Ignoring issues

Sometimes, the rule an Assistant is checking against might not be helpful. Or, you might be working on rough ideas and want to silence some unnecessary Assistants notifications. In these cases, you can ignore issues on specific layers — or even your whole document.

To ignore an issue for a specific layer, open the Assistants results window by clicking on Assistants, then Control-click on the layer listed under the issue you want to ignore. In the contextual menu that appears, choose Ignore.

An image showing how to ignore rules from Assistants in Sketch

You can ignore rules for specific layers or your entire document

To ignore an issue for an entire document, Control-click on the issue’s description in the results window and choose Ignore Rule for Document.

When you ignore an issue, either for a specific layer or the entire document, that result will be hidden from the list. To view that result again, click on More options in the top-right of the window and choose Show Ignored Issues.

When you’ve set the results window to show ignored issues, they’ll appear greyed out in the list to indicate that you’ve ignored them and they won’t be added to the count in any of the badges — either in the results window or in the Toolbar.

To stop ignoring an issue, first make sure you’ve set the results window to show ignored issues, then Control-click on the issue you’ve ignored and choose Stop Ignoring from the contextual menu.

Creating Assistants

We’ve created an open platform that lets anyone build an Assistant using JavaScript. Teams can easily create their own Assistants to help with design systems usage or style guide consistency, as well as for individuals to share best practices with the wider community.

Building an Assistant is easy if you’ve built a plugin for Sketch before. If you’re new to building plugins, don’t worry. Unlike plugins, you don’t need to create a UI — we’ll handle all that for you! All you have to do is write the rules that your Assistant will follow. You could even adopt some of our ready-made rules and configure them to suit your needs.

If you’re interested in building an Assistant — either for your team or for the wider design community — you can dive into our developer docs right now. If you need a little help, contact and we’ll help you get started.