Working with Symbols in Adobe XD
Creating and managing Symbols in Adobe XD
With the June 2017 update you can now create and override Symbols in Adobe XD. Symbols allow you to easily edit multiple copies of the same element across your document. They are a huge time saver while working with repeated elements and building components in your design. I’ve put together an overview on Symbols in Adobe XD.
Creating a Symbol
You can convert any element or a group of element into a Symbol using the following options. Once you make a selection a Symbol, its represented with a green on-canvas decoration.
- Right click — Make Symbol (Context Menu)
- Keyboard shortcut — CMD K (Mac) CTRL K (Win)
- Plus (+) button in the Symbol Library
When you make a selection into a Symbol, it gets listed in the Symbol Library. The Symbol Library allows you to view, manage and reuse Symbols across your document. You can access the Symbol Library using the following options:
- Keyboard shortcut — CMD Shift Y(Mac) CTRL Shift Y(Win)
- Click on the Symbol Library icon (Bottom left corner)
Reusing a Symbol
Once you have created a Symbol, reusing it across artboards is easy. You can use any of the following approaches to create another copy or instance of the Symbol.
- Drag the Symbol from the Symbol Library
- Copy & Paste (Context Menu)
- Duplicate — CMD D (Mac) CTRL D (Win)
Editing a Symbol
You can easily edit a Symbol and propagate changes in realtime across all the instances. In order to edit a Symbol, you must double click the Symbol. (Similar to editing a group on canvas) Any position, size or appearance changes to the elements in a Symbol are propagated to all copies. There is no master copy of the Symbol. You can edit from any copy of the Symbol and preview those changes in realtime across your document.
While position and appearance changes are linked, you can have unique text and bitmap content in a Symbol. What this means is that, you can override the text and image in a Symbol while keeping it appearance linked to all the other copies. Edit the Symbol and change the text or drop in a new image to override the content.
Update All Symbols
Having the ability to override Symbols is very helpful. However, what happens if need to update all the copies of the Symbol to have the same text and bitmap content? The update all commands helps you specifically do that. Right click on the Symbol and select Update All from the context menu to push the text and bitmap content from that Symbol to all the copies. If you select a specific part of a nested Symbol and hit Update All, it only updates that part of the nested Symbol across all copies. Simplicity and power with the update all command.
You can nest Symbols inside each other to create well defined components and reusable structures. This allows you to make changes to parts of a Symbol. Using nested Symbols and overrides, you can create complex components.
Ungrouping a Symbol
If you decide that a specific copy of a Symbol should no longer be linked, you can use the Ungroup Symbol command to break it apart. Ungrouping a Symbol means that it is no longer a Symbol and will not receive any updates.
- Right click — Ungroup Symbol (Context Menu)
- Keyboard shortcut — CMD Shift G(Mac) Shift G(Win)
Deleting a Symbol
You can right click a Symbol in the Symbol Library and select Delete Symbol from the context menu to remove it. This only removes it from the Library and doesn’t impact the copies of this Symbol on canvas.
Copying Symbols between documents
You can copy symbols between documents as unlinked symbols. This means that the pasted copy is not linked back to the original document. This is helpful while transferring a symbol or multiple symbols from UI kits or Sticker sheets into a new document. If you paste successive copies of the same symbol, we map them as instances rather than duplicate new symbols. We are currently working on adding support for linked symbols between documents.
You can drag symbols from the Assets panel to replace them across artboards. When you swap a symbol, we update all instances of it across the document. To swap a nested symbol, double click into the symbol group and then drag to replace it. Swapping a nested symbol will only update the nested copies. When you swap a symbols with exactly one text and image override, we preserve your overrides.
The Future Of Symbols?
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