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Editing Symbols

There are two main ways to edit a Symbol. You can edit the contents in the Symbol Source, or you can edit individual instances with overrides.

How to edit a Symbol Source

Find your Symbol Source or double-click on any instance of it to go straight to it. Any edits you make to the Source will sync to any instances of it in your design. When you’ve made your changes, choose Return to Instance to head back to the instance and see how your changes have synced across.

Editing a Symbols source via an instance in the Mac app (v90 July 2022)

Note: The above example shows a Symbol that was created with the Send Symbol to “Symbols” Page option selected. If you deselect this option when creating Symbols no Symbols page is created and you will be taken to the Symbol’s Artboard within the page it was created on.

How to edit Instances with overrides

Select a Symbol instance and you’ll see an overrides section appear in the Inspector. By editing these overrides in the Inspector, you can change the content inside an individual Symbol instance without changing the Source or affecting any other instance of it.

Note: You can also Override text for Symbol instances directly in the canvas.

How to focus overrides

Select your Symbol instance and hover over it to highlight any available overrides, click on any one of them to find it quickly and show it on its own in the Inspector. This is handy if you have a Symbol with lots of overrides (or nested overrides).

Alternatively, click the triangle next to the Symbol’s name in the Inspector and choose specific overrides there instead. You can also Control-click on an override in the Layer List to see options related to it.

Note: Even when you’ve focused in on a specific override, actions like moving or duplicating it will apply to the whole instance and not the specific override layer. You’ll need to use the Symbol Source to change the override layer itself.

How to use text overrides

You can change the contents of text overrides in a couple of ways. You can double-click on a text layer in a Symbol instance on the Canvas and type in new content, or type into the override field in the Inspector. Deleting anything in that field will change it back to the text in the Symbol Source. You can also use the Data icon above the field to populate the override.

Note: If your override text is longer than what was originally in the Symbol Source, we’ll move any layers next to your text layer as it expands. If you want to fix layers and have text flow over them, you’ll need to lock them in the Symbol Source.

How to use image overrides

You can override any image layer or shape with a fill in the Inspector. You can either drag in an image onto the preview, or choose Choose Image…. You can also use Data Circle data button to populate image Overrides by clicking on the Data icon. To remove an image, click the image preview and press backspace.

How to override Text and Layer Styles

If you’ve set up Text Styles Styled Text tool or Layer Styles in your design, you’ll find these in the Overrides panel in the Inspector.

How to override prototyping Hotspots

If you’ve added a Hotspot Add Link to Artboard tool to your Symbol Source as part of a prototype, you can override its target Artboard, or select None to disable it.

How to hide and show overrides

Select your Symbol Source and use the checkboxes next to each available override in the Manage Overrides panel of in the Inspector to choose which ones are will be available when you select that Symbol’s instance anywhere in your design.

How to reset overrides

Select any instance and click the reset icon Arrow counterclockwise next to the Overrides panel title in the Inspector to remove and reset any overrides you’ve applied to it.

How to detach a Symbol Instance from a Symbol Source

To make edits to an individual Symbol instance without using overrides, you’ll need to detach Detach it from its Source by choosing Layer > Detach from Symbol from the menu or pressing Y. You can also Control-click on a Symbol instance and choose Detach from Symbol there.

Right-click on any instance to detach all contents from the Symbol Source. This will convert any instance, and any nested Symbols it contains, to groups. You can also detach content from a Symbol pressing Y or heading to Layer>Detach All Contents from Symbol in the menu bar.

How to swap Symbols

You can swap Symbols using the pop-up in the SYMBOL panel in the Inspector. Choose a Symbol from the list or search for the Symbol you’re looking for and click to swap it with the currently selected Symbol.

By default, swapping a Symbol will resize the instance you‘ve selected to fit its new Symbol Source. To keep the instance size the same when you swap Symbols, uncheck the ‘Swap at Original Size’ option at the top of the Components Popover.

Note: For Sketch 61 and earlier, swapping a Symbol will always keep the size of the instance you‘ve selected the same, regardless of the size of the new Symbol Source.

How to scale and resize Symbols

You can scale and resize Symbols like any other layer or group, using the Scale command. Choose Layer > Transform > Scale… from the menu (or press K). Styles and properties like borders will increase or decrease in proportion with the Symbol itself, without affecting the Source.

Last updated on 08 Aug 2022

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