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Supercharge your Workflow in Sketch

8 Easy to Learn Shortcuts to Increase your Productivity in Sketch

Baz Deas
Baz Deas
Nov 18, 2013 · 5 min read

Anytime we can avoid using the mouse by utilizing shortcut keys is a good time. It’s one of the many habits that makes a good designer a great designer, and a darn efficient one at that.

Consider how much time you save in Photoshop by using Alt + Backspace to fill a layer instead of going through the menus. Sketch has a lot of similarly awesome shortcuts that you can take advantage of, some of which aren’t even mentioned in their documentation.

If you’re coming from Photoshop, you’ll be happy to know that a decent amount of the shortcuts you used there will also work in Sketch, such as: Shift + arrow keys to nudge in 10 pixel increments, ⌘ + T to Scale, T for Text tool, and so on.

Sketch is simple enough that you don’t need to learn many shortcuts to become more effective in it. But learning the most effective ones can increase your productivity in leaps and bounds. Typically, it’s more useful to know to use Alt to measure objects, than ⌘ + Shift + H to toggle visibility of a layer—though I do use the latter a decent amount!

I’ve put together a selection of eight of my most timesaving shortcuts.

Efficiently Rename Layers

Select a layer. Hit⌘ + R. Start typing. Hit Enter to save.

If you’re like me, you don’t name your layers while you’re prototyping. It’s only when you’re about to send it off to a client or developer that you start to turn your inscrutable web of layers into something readable for other people. With this shortcut you can quickly name dozens of layers sequentially without even using the mouse.
Bonus Tip: After renaming your first layer, press Tab to go to the next layer (or Shift + Tab for the previous), then hit ⌘ + R to rename it.

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Export All Artboards

Hit⌘ + Shift + E. Fine tune with options in the sidebar.

You can export your entire canvas containing multiple artboards (multiple files), with the Export All button. Bonus Tip: You can export an artboard to a subfolder such as “Home” by prefixing the artboard name with “home/” Sketch will remember this so when using the Export All function you can update every artboard at once while still maintaining nicely ordered subfolders. Neat.

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Conveniently Measure Distance between Objects

Select an object you want to measure. Hold ⌥, then mouse over a target object.

With this neat little shortcut you can measure the distance between two or more objects easily. I cannot stress enough how useful this is. It’s especially useful for coders translating your mockups into reality.

Bonus Tip: Holding ⌥ without mousing over another object will show you its position relative to the entire artboard, so you can easily tell, for example, how many pixels the object is from the bottom of an iPhone.
Bonus Bonus Tip: If you can’t seem to measure an object despite hovering over it, try holding ⌘ with ⌥.

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Quickly Clone a Color

Ctrl + C.

This is most useful when you want to copy a color from elsewhere on your canvas. You don’t even need to be in the Fill section of the sidebar. Just hit Ctrl + C, and Sketch’ll zoom in a portion of your screen to make it easy to select a color without having to zoom in yourself. To quote Andrew Richardson, “it’ll save you a stupid amount of time!”

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Zoom all The Way into a Layer

⌘ + 2.

This will zoom the canvas so the layer takes up the entire screen, making it easy to tweak small objects like icons. This one alone saves me so much time. An alternative way to do this is to hold Z, then click and drag an area you want to zoom into all the way.

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Zoom to Actual Size/100%

⌘ + 0

This is best used in conjunction with the the previous tip. Zoom right up to an icon, tweak it, then quickly zoom back out to 100%.
Bonus Tip
: ⌘ + 1 will zoom out to show all your artboards at once, to giving you an overview.

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Select Multiple Layers

Left Click and Drag over the layers you want to select.

This works best when the layer underneath the selected layers is locked, otherwise you might select it accidentally. Okay, so this one uses the mouse, but it’s intuitive and quick!
Bonus Tip:
If you can’t seem to select the layers, they might be inside a group. Try holding ⌘ while dragging to remedy this.

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Create Layer Group

⌘ + G

This a no brainer. You’ll want to create Layer Groups so you can quickly move or turn off a bunch of layers at once. This shortcut does just that in one motion, but what’s worth mentioning is that pressing ⌘ + R after you create the Layer Group will allow you to name it, without having to use the mouse.

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Bonus Tips

  • If you’re having difficulty selecting the perfect color, try switching from RGB to HSB color selection. This allows you to more intuitively tweak saturation and brightness. Especially useful when you’re building a monochromatic color scheme and want to create another color that’s the same hue as the original but darker or lighter.
  • ⌘ + Shift + H to hide or unhide a layer/layergroup
  • ⌘ and + to zoom in steps (100%, 200%, 400% etc). Conversely, zoom out with ⌘ and -
  • Enter to start editing an object. Alternatively, pressing Esc will back out of editing.
  • ⌘ + Shift + L to lock a layer/layergroup
  • ⌘ + B to make text bold
  • F to toggle fill on/off

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