Apr 14, 2016 · 4 min read

UPDATE: Sketch has vastly improved Symbols and this article is no longer relevant. This article was very relevant about a year ago and is still worth a quick glance to help you appreciate the concept and power of (nested) symbols.

Nesting Symbols Like a Boss

10x-ing your productivity with Sketch 3.7’s new features

Sketch gave us symbols in version 3. But Sketch 3.7’s nested symbols is the crowning of that original feature. Let’s just jump in to how to use this feature to achieve amazing efficiency in design.

Tab Bar with 5 Potential States

Step 1: Make the base symbol for your top bar with 5 icons.

Notice how all states are active, but we want only one active state at a time.

Step 2: Make that base Tab Bar a Symbol

Step 3: Go to the Symbols Page

Notice the title “TabBar” became purple, and in the layer list there is a purple icon besides the symbol.

Step 4: In the Symbols page, insert the TabBar symbol

Insert an instance of the symbol from the Insert Button and make five copies. WARNING: Use insert; do not copy the Symbol. Once you’ve inserted your first symbol you can copy it four more times.

Step 5: Make a 50% opacity blue rectangle which will cover over the inactive tabs

This is my little trick for this use case; you’ll have to find your method for yours.

Step 6: Select the inserted symbol and the blue rectangle, and make them into a new Symbol.

See how a new Symbol is created to the right after your make them into a Symbol. (You can go ahead and delete the group of two layers to the left. It’s not part of the symbol).

That’s it. You’ve created your first Nested Symbol.

I will quickly finish off the other four positions and show you why this is so awesome.

The Base Symbol + 5 Tab State Symbols.
The base Symbol will not get used in my design.

Step 7: Recommend this article ;)

If you like this article, show your love. All comments and feedback are welcome.

Design + Sketch

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