14 Most Time-saving Sketch Tips and Plugins

14 Most Time-saving Sketch Tips and Plugins

14 Most Time-saving Sketch Tips and Plugins 1000 660 Use Design

The first rule of sketch plugins: There is a plugin for everything. Well, that might not always be true, but you should assume it is. Whenever you get frustrated with a task, type in (preferably google) “plugin sketch app + keyword”. Another tip for our fellow foreigners: type it in English. It might seem obvious but typing in French, Spanish or any other language will yield significantly less results.

Below, we’ll share a few basic tips on native sketch functionalities followed by a list of plugins that save us time on daily tasks.

I.  Tips on native sketch functionalities

Merging windows

Working with multiple sketch files open can get messy. You can manually merge them as tabs in one sketch window by going to Window > Merge All Windows or set files to open as tabs by default by going in System Preferences > Dock and setting Prefer tabs when opening documents to Always. That should help reduce your open windows clutter.

Presentation Mode

Quickly hide the inspector, sidebar and toolbar by pressing “Shift + command + .” (AZERTY) or “command + .” (QWERTY).  Now it’s just you, your canvas and your audience.

Shortcuts

Sketch has native shortcuts and plugins often have their own too. However, there are numerous reasons you might want to change those and you can do it by going to your mac’s System preferences > keyboard > shortcuts > App Shortcuts. From there, just type in the exact menu item and your preferred shortcut (works for plugins too).

II. Plugins

Runner

Probably the most mentioned plugin in articles,  it’s an essential. It’s basically spotlight for sketch. You can quickly run any function whether native or from a plugin. Avoid navigating through a flurry of sub menus and easily repeat the last task you’ve done. You can also search and install most plugins from it. (You can pay to get extra functionalities but the free version is already good enough)

Reducing your file size with Reduce App

A sketch file size skyrockets when it contains a lot of images. It can make your file really slow to work with, take up way too much disk space, and take forever to share. Sketch has a native way to help you with that that “File > Reduce File Size”, but “Reduce app” is much more effective at reducing that file size. (we’ve compared), with options to delete hidden layers and disabled styles.

Sketch Replace Images: update all images from a directory

This one was hard to find, but it’s definitely a game changer when you’re doing UX or UI guidelines on sketch (indesign has it as a native functionality). Usually you’ll export your screens and then import them back to sketch to place them in a print friendly artboard like A4 or Letter. If you’re dealing with over 50 images and you still need to update the design regularly,  it’s a lot of work to update all those images. With “Sketch replace images” simply point to the directory where you store your exported images and with a click of a button, all your images will be updated. Tadaa!

Artboard Tricks

This plugin helps with 2 things. It aligns your artboards from left to right with a defined spacing for a clean look. But it also makes sure that the order of artboards in your layer list corresponds to the visual order of the artboards on your canvas. That’s very important for using plugins with batch action on artboards like renaming.

Rename it

Naming your artboards or layers is important to maintain order and clarity in your exports, when you share files, etc. Rename it helps you batch rename and/or number the artboards you selected (and many more…).  With numbering just remember that it will number them based on their order in the layer list, so make sure that it corresponds to your visual order by running the Artboard Tricks plugin above: Rearrange Artboards into Grid.

Page Numbers

So we’ve seen how to batch number your artboards with “Rename it”, but what about including a page number inside your artboard ? With Page numbers, include a text layer named “{page}” where you want the page number to appear. Make sure your artboards are in the same order on the canvas and in the layer list by  running the Artboard Tricks plugin above > Rearrange Artboards into Grid. Et voilà! All your artboards have page numbers. If you insert a new artboard in the middle, simply re-run Rearrange Artboards into Grid (to make your layer list match the canvas) and then the Page numbers plugin.

PDF Export: export Artboards into one PDF

You can obvisouly export all artboards to individual PDFs, but stitching those back together into a single PDF can feel like an extra step. Sketch has a native functionality to export all artboards into one PDF (File > Export Artboards as PDF) but it necessarily takes all the artboards in your current page. “PDF export” plugin, on the other hand, allows you to export only the selected artboards, and offers a few options on the order: from the canvas or from the layer list and left to right or top to bottom.

Import Colors

Symbols aside, there are several ways to view color swatches in Sketch. In your inspector on the right you have your document colors (saved only on this file) and your Global colors. Now  you can also add libraries, which just like global colors are accessible from any file you open or create. It can be handy to have you brand colors or a versatile color swatch like material colors  in there.  So how do you do it ? Download the “Import Colors” plugin.  Now open a new document,  in the inspector go to “Document Colors”  and add your brand colors with a custom name for each color if you want. Then go to Import colors > Export Document Colors to .clr file. Then go back to “Import Colors > Import colors as Library” and select the file you previously exported. There you go, you brand colors accessible everytime you use sketch. You can do the same to share document or global colors with your team, all they need is to add the corresponding .clr. (Another way to view colors is to use Mac native menu “View > Show Colors” you can import colors there too, check out this post .

Download the material colors .clr file

Fontily

Working in a team and people got fonts all mixed up? Decided you want to change fonts halfway through a project ? Fontily helps you change all the fonts and weights in your document and lists the fonts/weights used to make sure a sneaky one isn’t hiding in there.

Icon Font

A convenient way to access font libraries like material icons, add and search for icons without leaving sketch.

Automate

Automate is a library of dozens of plugins all in one!  It’s very rich and definitely worth checking out.  Here are a few that we use often: tile objects/layers by position X or Y, split or combine text layers, Remove empty/redundant groups.


 
Jérôme Rousseau— Designer  @ Use Design, une agence de design à Paris qui donne vie à des stratégies, des produits digitaux et des services innovants.
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