How does real-time collaboration work?

This is a quick guide to help you get started with real-time collaboration in Sketch. We’ve put together common questions but we also recommend taking a look at our documentation pages for further information.

What do I need to use real-time collaboration?

To use real-time collaboration in Sketch, you will need:

  • Sketch version 71 or later. Please note that if the document you are working on has been edited and saved with the latest Sketch version, you’ll need to update Sketch to keep collaborating on the document.
  • An active Sketch subscription. This means you’ll need to be an Editor to collaborate or invite others to your shared documents. If you are using a Mac-only license you’ll need to be invited to the document to collaborate.
  • A Mac computer running macOS Mojave (10.14.4) or later. More recent Sketch versions require macOS 11 or later.
  • An internet connection.

If connecting via VPN or a corporate network, you need to make sure certain domains are allowed on your system. Read more about this in the article Can my VPN connection affect Sketch?

Can I use just my browser to collaborate?

Real-time collaboration is not available using only a browser. Real-time collaboration is a feature of the Mac app itself, but you can use the Web app in the browser for other parts of the process such as viewing, commenting, inspecting, and sharing your documents.

How are changes saved when collaborating?

One of the great strengths of real-time collaboration is that the Mac app constantly saves any change you and your collaborators make in the document. All these changes are saved automatically on our servers, so you don’t need to manually save your document every time you make an edit for other collaborators to see these edits in the Mac app. However, do not worry, not every change in your document will be considered a new version.

If you’ve made an important modification to a document and want to share it as a document version for Viewers or other Editors, just hit ⌘S (or head to File > Save in the menu). This new update will appear as the latest version of the document in the timeline in the web app’s Version tab.

If you see an older version of your document in the web app, it might be because of a starred update. Learn more starred updates in our documentation.

Does real-time collaboration work with Abstract?

The strong integration we’ve built between the Mac app and your Workspace makes real-time collaboration possible. This means only documents saved to a Workspace will work with real-time collaboration.

We always strive to give you choices regarding how you work. That’s why you always have the option to save your files locally to your Mac and hook Abstract into your workflow if that suits you best.

If Abstract’s workflow offers you the tools you need, such as merging and branching, you can continue using it. But if you want a shared Workspace for your documents, and the ability to collaborate in real-time on any document, we’d encourage you to try the whole experience of Sketch.

Does real-time collaboration work with files saved in storage services like Dropbox?

While you can store copies of your documents in third-party cloud services to share them, real-time collaboration only works for documents in your Workspace.

If you’re looking to enhance your design process with real-time collaboration we encourage you to try the full Sketch experience a subscription offers. On top of access to a Workspace for real-time collaboration you also get the tools needed to support the whole process: versioning, commenting, prototyping, and handoff tools. Read about all the benefits our subscription plans offer here

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