The most common type of layers in your document will be shapes. There is a wide variety of default shapes provided with Sketch such as ovals, rectangles, stars and more. Some of these shapes have extra options, such as the ability to add more sizes to a polygon or round corners.

To add a new shape to your document, choose a shape tool from the Insert › Shape pop-up menu in the toolbar. Click-and-drag anywhere in the Canvas to insert your shape. While you’re dragging to insert the shape, Sketch will indicate how large the inserted shape will become. You may see the Inspector update and display some extra options for your new shape (if appropriate).

Extra Options

Some of the default shapes in Sketch come with additional options, the Star and Rounded Rectangle shapes being the most notable. For Stars, the radius and the number of points can be adjusted, whilst for Rounded Rectangles, just the corner radius.

Round and Smooth Corners

Along with the ability to adjust the corner radius on rectangles, there is also the ability to choose between Round and Smooth corners. What this does, is allow you to adjust how the rounded corner of your shape is actually drawn — which means it is simple to achieve the same kind of corners that Apple use in their products and interfaces by choosing Smooth corners.


Next to the Rotate option in the Inspector, are two buttons that allow you to flip layers vertically and horizontally. When flipped, the button will be active, but you can choose to Flatten a flipped, or rotated shape to reset its origin.

Shape Terminology

The basic building block of a shape is a point. These are connected by straight or curved lines into a path. A shape can have one or multiple paths and if there is more than one, they are combined together into one path. This concept of combining simple paths into complex shapes is discussed in detail in our section on boolean operations.

Last modified on Sep 26, 2018

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