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Adding shapes

Last updated on 30 Aug 2023
2 min read

Shapes are a commonly used type of layer in Sketch documents — and because they’re vector-based, they’re incredibly flexible too.

An easy way to get started is to add and edit pre-made shapes. If you want to create a custom shape, try out the vector editing tool or combine multiple shapes using Boolean operations.

Adding pre-made shapes

To add a new pre-made shape to the Canvas, click the Insert button Create in the Toolbar and select a shape. Alternatively, open the Insert menu in the Menu Bar, select Shape and choose which type of shape you want to add.

Pre-made shapes include the rectangle, oval, rounded rectangle, line, arrow, triangle, star and polygon.

You can use keyboard shortcuts to quickly add pre-made shapes:

R Rectangle Rectangle tool
O Oval Oval tool
U Rounded rectangle Rounded tool
L Line Line tool

After you’ve selected a shape, click and drag anywhere on the Canvas or Artboard to add it. As you drag, you’ll see the shape’s dimensions next to your cursor.

Click and drag to draw a pre-made shape

To create a shape with even proportions (such as a perfect square or circle), hold as you click and drag. If you’re creating lines or arrows, holding will constrain the line’s path by 45° increments.

Hold as you drag to draw a shape with even proportions

To draw a pre-made shape from its center instead of from the top left, hold as you click and drag.

Hold as you drag to draw a shape from its center

To move a shape as you’re adding it, hold the Space bar as you drag — this is handy if you started drawing the shape in the wrong area and quickly need to place it elsewhere.

Hold as you drag to quickly move a shape

Drawing freeform shapes with the Pencil tool

To draw a freeform shape, press P or choose the Pencil tool Pencil tool from the Insert Create menu. When you’ve finished drawing, Sketch will smooth curves and simplify the path you’ve created.

Use the Pencil tool to draw a freeform shape

Adding shapes from SVG Code

To add a shape using SVG code, simply select the code and paste it anywhere on the Canvas.

Select the SVG code and paste it anywhere on the Canvas